That was the emotion I felt when the transfer window finally slammed shut last Friday night. With only two of our five ‘crown jewels’ exiting stage left, I believe most Norwich City fans would have been relatively happy with that figure if asked in June.
The reality is we knew we were going to lose some of them. It was simply a question of who and how many. It could have been any from Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons to the eventual departees Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey and if we’re honest with ourselves all five could have got into most bottom half Premier League teams.
I think that if you asked each fan who they’d most liked to have kept, you’d probably have a different answer such is the individual quality each player brings to the side. For me, I felt it was imperative to keep Emi and Max because I feel they most improve us as a team and I’m delighted they’re here to stay. Until January at least.
For Jamal and Ben, you couldn’t begrudge either player a well deserved move. Both excellent players in their own right who have promising futures ahead of them and it was clear that Norwich were prepared to let them flourish elsewhere, however, only if the price was right. Something to keep in mind, Liverpool fans.
Which leads me onto the last crown jewel – our very own Todd Cantwell.
Todd has had a very interesting City career so far. Once christened the ‘Dereham Deco’, he broke into the team in our promotion-winning season during 18/19, I think it was fair to say that despite some solid displays, he hardly set the division alight. That campaign, Todd played 24 times, scoring just once against Rotherham and producing two assists.
Following Emi’s sending off against QPR, Todd was widely criticised by the Canary faithful in the draws against Reading and Wigan towards the business end of the campaign. Subsequently, City sealed promotion and questions were raised in the close season as to what Todd’s role would be in the Premier League season ahead.
Could he make the step up? A loan move to a lower division seemed most likely. But, we all know what happened next.
He looked dangerous from the beginning and silenced his doubters with eye-catching displays and goals against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal during the first half of the season. Overall, Todd finished the season with six goals and two assists and his profile significantly raised.
However, he has failed to register a goal or an assist since the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day and looked devoid of confidence like so many other City players as their relegation was confirmed after Project Restart.
Following a break of just a few weeks, Todd started both of City’s opening two matches this season, before being left out of the trip to Bournemouth amidst rumblings of a poor attitude in training and heavy transfer speculation linking him to Leeds.
With that move to Yorkshire failing to materialise, Todd continued to divide opinion amongst the City faithful. There have been loud voices venting their frustration about him on social media but for now, he’s here to stay. And we must back him.
I know why fans criticise him.
There are those that aren’t keen on Todd’s activity on social media and the way he shares his emotions after matches, something many footballers do I must add. But, isn’t that showing that he’s human?
There are those that dislike his fashion sense because he chooses to look a certain way. If he wasn’t a footballer, would it be a major issue?
And then there are fans that just don’t think he has the right attitude anymore. And this is where Todd must silence his doubters once more, and is why his performance last night was significant.
Whether you like Todd or not, one thing is certain – he has quality. Whether he can produce on a rainy Tuesday night at Stoke or not remains a mystery but he’s shown it before at the highest level.
The ball is firmly in his court now.
He knows he has a target on his back and pressure on his shoulders. He knows he must improve. If he wants to get the fans back onside then the only way is goals and assists on the pitch. The Championship has previously proved to be a challenging league for Todd, but he’s older and more experienced now.
If he can rediscover his form and help Norwich climb the league, he could have a renaissance similar to the predecessor of his No.14 shirt. If he doesn’t, then it could be the beginning of the end for him at Norwich City.
Todd has a second chance at his boyhood club this season – he must take it with both hands.
Last night was an excellent start.