That feeling of your heart almost beating out of your chest and such immense pride it’s hard to get your words in the right order.
And don’t tell me I was alone (although I do struggle more than most with the words bit).
Okay, so a bit OTT maybe, Newcastle were ordinary to say the least, but it felt like one of those afternoons that won’t just be lost in the mists of time, but will instead linger.
Premier League wins are precious and hard to come by when you’re Norwich City, and not since the Mike Walker era have City won an opening home game on the top division, but this was in masterclass territory.
From minute one, when Mo Leitner had his first few silky, languid touches to minute 94, with Grant Hanley struggling with the cramp affliction that had earlier struck Jamal Lewis, it was a display of total dominance – Farkeball at its absolute finest.
I hear and understand the ‘but let’s not get carried away, it was only Newcastle’ … but sod that. It was Newcastle – who get 50,000 through the gate every week, who have just spunked £40 million on a shiny new Brazilian striker (who’ll still be in Ben Godfrey’s pocket, when he turns them out this morning) and who are part of the PL establishment.
Yet this was the best performance of the Farke era – one that felt like a culmination of two seasons of honing and refining and tweaking, which just happened to take in a Championship title along the way.
From one to eleven, not forgetting the nice cameos from Super Mario, Alex Tettey and Sam Byram, no-one looked remotely out of place or out of their depth, and there was not a hint of the deference that most outside the Canary Nation seem to expect from us.
There was even a swagger about the way that ball was knocked around, with impunity at times, and instead of it being a stage to be feared – as we’ve seen from Norwich sides of the past – this was one where the stage was grabbed by the b0ll0cks and made to sing to City’s tune.
Mo was imperious, quarterback extraordinaire, with Tom Trybull doing Tom Trybull things next to him, snapping into tackles, dominant, confident and ‘never giving the ball away’.
And the three in front of them – Marco Stiepermann, Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell – did to Newcastle what they have done, with help from Onel and others, to Championship defences over the course of last season. They rotated, passed and moved, and in spells mesmerised.
Behind Mo and Tom, the back-four reduced the Toon to two first-half chances and that late consolation for Jonjo Shelvey, with Joelinton and Almirón both unable to make any impression against the power of Ben Godfrey and Grant Hanley; the latter, after an early error, exorcising the ghost of Anfield with some style.
There are few superlatives left to describe the performances of our two young full-backs, suffice to say we really need to soak up every single second of brilliance this season before the top six start forming an orderly queue next May. We’re blessed to have them as we are to have a coach who spotted, unleashed and then nurtured the potential.
The superlatives have also been exhausted for the best free transfer in the history of football. So, Mark bloody Lawrenson may not give us an earthly and has already dismissed Teemu Pukki’s chances of even making double figures this season, but he forgot to tell the Finn.
Talk about hitting the ground running.
Like Mo, Pukki looks like one who’s even more at home in the rarefied air of the Premier League than he was in the second tier – his clever movement and timing of runs affording him the same joy he enjoyed last season, this time around against better players.
‘I don’t think he will get 10 league goals this season‘. Oh, do pi$$ off.
And on the subject of terrible punditry, while I’m not unhappy about Danny Murphy honing in on Pukki’s excellence, it was quite something to ignore our all-round excellence and wash it away with the old “they’ll surprise a few”. Who’d have thought we could win 3-1, be second on MotD and still stay under the radar.
Not that I’m complaining.
It’s odd though that we should attract kinder words from Gary Neville in the wake of a 4-1 defeat than we did from Messrs Shearer and Murphy after a 3-1 win. But hey…
So, a good one, a really good one, and to see the old place as vibrant, buoyant and celebratory as that was something to behold when most thought last season’s atmosphere couldn’t be bettered.
But it was.
Premier League goals and wins are special and as the noise reverberated around Carrow Road, it felt it, with many claiming they had witnessed one of City’s best-ever Premier League performances.
We really do have to ignore the noise because this is a bloody good team. And who gives a stuff if we’re the only ones who recognise it.
Bring on Chelsea.
Michael D says
Yeah, too right Gary, this was an amazing performance from an amazing team… And to all those dumb critics who say we haven’t spent enough, perhaps they’d like to estimate instead the current value of the existing squad. They will be surprised.
I really look forward to this team simply continuing to play like this. I don’t even really mind our next few results against Chelsea, West Ham and Man City, but as long as we can retain our confidence, we’ll be fine this season.
All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. Indeed, apart from my hangover. What a beautiful morning, the day after the night before. Bring on Chelsea is the battle cry. Win, draw or lose Norwich are going to be on it. Newcastle fans were amazed by the atmosphere and noise inside Carrow Road. A little ‘un with a fierce bite…..So, come on, bring the noise! Confidence is growing. As Daniel Farke says, in his enigmatic way….lets make Lightning!!!
Duncan Spindler says
A piece full of the passion that echoes my sentiments Gary. At the start of a season you look at the fixtures and wonder where the points will come from. If I was honest a point would have sufficed against the toon but that performance individually and as a team blew me away and went beyond my expectations That was undoubtedly the best performance under Farke and performed on the biggest stage, of all. Hopefully we can emulate this performance over the weeks ahead but for now wow and as you say bring on Chelsea
Andy Delf says
A Rolls Royce of a performance Big Dunc. Every player rose to the occasion. Little old Norwich eh, well people are now waking up to what is being achieved here. That was probably as pure football as I have ever witnessed from a Norwich side. If Pukki was the spearhead then Leitner was the catalyst and controlled the game,he wouldn’t have looked out of place playing for Barcelona. How much would Aston Villa have paid to have a team wth this amount of talent. The mind boggles. As you say now for Chelsea.
Duncan Spindler says
Sunday night mate, cat sitting beside me on the couch, not sure who’s purring with the most contentment. Possibly me, the cat knows nothing about football. Still. what a performance yesterday mate – MAGNIFICENT
Roger Starling says
You shouldn ‘t be surprised at Gary Nevilles’ appreciation, he is a total football fan and can appreciate any team and any player, no matters they be. By far the best pundit.
Teams won’t be waiting until May. Could Pukki, or others, be teased away come January? Money talks.
Michael D says
But why would they go? Honestly? He can’t have a better team and more support and more goal scoring opportunities than he’s got now. Even in the top teams, where he would play less often. Not just for Pukki, same for the others too, especially if they carry on THIS way. Much more exciting to see where collectively they can finish up,
Would you not be tempted if your wage was increased 5 fold? But i do agree with your premise. Stay and finish the current adventure. I expect, and hope, that you are right.
I was saying to my son via SMS at 2am here in Australia that that performance was a step up from the Farkeball of last season. The moves were just as slick but played at a far greater pace.
We’re going to make a lot of sides look ordinary this season, lots of opponents having off days as we play them off the park.
Like you said, it been taken to another level. I said before the first game that we’d finish top 10 and after yesterday that’s looking better
David Bowen says
A great read as usual Gary, we shined in every department.
A thought has struck me, Alex Neil’s positive method of playing was destroyed by a 6-1 thrashing by Newcastle, could this virtual perfection against them have the opposite effect and see us putting on a performance like this every week?
Of course we’ll lose a few games at the hands of the mega-rich giants but they will know they have been in a game!
John Holland says
It was a fantastic performance, I was concerned about the number of injuries and I still think that will be a limiting factor on our team but we should be ok. I know we played some good football in Lambert’s PL season and at times under Hughton but this is probably our best performance in the PL since 1994. Newcastle can be very flattered with a 3-1 and that is arguably down to the leniency of the ref when he only gave Longstaff a yellow for his two footed lunge a minute before setting up the consolation goal. Our players got kicked and will continue to be kicked but they made Newcastle look like leaden footed amateurs. Our midfield fizzed yesterday with swift accurate movement of the ball, Pukki took his 3 goals and was a menace throughout. The defence looked secure and Krul was safe. We will pick up points from teams stronger than Newcastle who look to be threatening to take Ipswich’s PL claim to fame away when they play at Anfield
KATHY BLAKE says
As we left the ground there was a strange atmosphere- I think everyone was stunned by what they’d just seen, looking at each other in disbelief. I notice it took you longer than usual to post your thoughts too Gary! I’ve been around a lot of years and this is as good as it gets. I genuinely believed Mike Walker’ achievements and Grant Holt’s goals would never be bettered at this football club but they have. Easily. We’re gonna need a bigger Hall of Fame.
Dorset Canary says
I’ve always thought that our style of football would be more suited to the premiership rather than the championship. After seeing our first two games, albeit on TV, my pre season bet on a top ten finish looks possible. The best NCFC football I have seen since the days of Mike Walker.
Great piece, managed to get a break from packing for Hols to read, Spot on I was a little bit taken back by the we will upset teams. But as thought it was about how poor Toons were. Not because we made look like that.
Stuff the lot of them, all lazy easy money grabbers, can’t handle management. so we become far too opinionated , so much that over the years their noise seems to become important to supporters. Like hell to me do they…
There is certainly trouble on the Tyne, Don’t know about Fog…It isn’t limited to only off field, a lot is brewing on the field, perhaps there are players who will not adapt to Bruce’s ways, compared to Rafa he must be like getting Big Sam back in the chair. Old School.
That’s their problem . and as a rival I don’t care a lot.
We were simply far too much for them it would not have looked out of place to read 6-1 as a result, we were really that much better. That was the marker I was hoping and looking for, a truer reflection of how we will cope , than what was at Anfield. I am sure I read in the comments on here, someone forecast a hat trick , I know I read it but location escapes. well done to whoever forecast that.
A performance like that next week and who is to say we cannot get all the spoils against a struggling Chelsea. bring it on.. no matter the noise I have years of experience in being deaf as a post.
Off for a couple of days break over near Wales… be back to tune in Saturday.. for sure
Great analysis as always Gary.
Whilst I have to agree that it was overall an excellent team Farkeball performance, may I just make a mention please of one Todd Cantwell??
Last season after Christmas he was in and out of the team, and during the close season, some amongst the Canary Nation mooted him for a loan spell away from The Carra.
Pukki rightly got the plaudits, man of the match, and the matchball, but please don’t underestimate the influence the lad from Dereham showed yesterday.
Bring on Chelski!!
O T B C
David Bowers says
A great display and good to see the GOAT will not go down as an RVW one goal wonder (get well soon Ricky). I’m calling player of the season now.
From my terrible stream it looked liked Trybull was working wonders just in front of the defense, mopping up most of what Newcastle had to offer.
My one minor complaint is that we were consistently exposed and run ragged at left back. Newcastle could have been two up if not for blowing some huge chances.
Fairly sure we can say now we’ve identified one team considerably worse than us.
Still, NUFC will go away happy knowing that they “won” injury time.
Colin B says
Enjoyed the analysis Gary.
Norwich have had some players in the last couple of decades that got the fans excited and on their feet. Huckerby was probably the best example. Now we have a team that gets us on our feet with the brilliant football they play. There were many examples last season but Saturday really showed that Farkeball is the way to play. It looks so like the tactics Barcelona play and also Liverpool. It needs a very fit team, all 11, who can press high up the field. It needs quick and energetic full backs. It needs players with a great first touch under pressure and also great passing accuracy. It needs calmness in central midfield. It also needs players who have confidence in all their team mates. It needs all the teams at the club to play the same way so that Academy products fit in seamlessly.
I think the players appreciate that they are in a special team and that will help keep them at the club in January. However, I do think we may lose some of them next summer. Hopefully the next crop of Academy products will take their places or Webber and his team will identify some great underpriced players.
Stephen Plenty says
Not a Norwich supporter but as a fan of German football I know how good their coaches are. Farke has been well-trained and doesn’t need lots of money. He knows how to improve players. I’d like to see more lower league clubs hire German coaches – I think it’s the way forward.