The ups and downs of being a City supporter are supposed to pertain to events that occur on the pitch – not when we’re ‘between managers’.
Yet rarely has there been a week when a ball has not been kicked when the emotions have so fluctuated.
First, it was Knutsen, definitely Kjetil Knutsen, the number one target, the hipster choice, a Norwegian man of mystery whose biggest claim to fame was embarrassing Jose Mourinho.
Then it wasn’t.
The pendulum swung in favour of Frank Lampard and the buttocks clenched. Surely a superstar son of the establishment and friend of the rich and famous wouldn’t be a natural bedfellow for little old Norwich City?
But yes, it was Frank.
A long since discredited radio station that talks a lot of nonsense about sport insisted it was all but done. Henry Winter and Gary Lineker were the first to go big on the Gerrard vs Lampard narrative. Those of us not naturally aligned to Project Lampard scratched around for reasons as to why it might work. We found a few.
And then it wasn’t Frank.
The thought of even being muttered in the same breath as Norwich City became too much for our Lamps. The risk of the p1ss being taken out of by his peers and celebrity friends and the prospect of a relegation battle (once he’d Googled it) were not for him.
So much so, Frank decided to turn down a job he hadn’t even been offered. The PR machine clicked into gear. How dare Norwich City even associate themselves with the Lampard name.
The radio station that talks sh1te breathed a huge sigh of relief. The ‘how do we back-track and suddenly start being nice about Norwich?’ meeting was cancelled. Uncle Harry was briefed and told to keep his gob shut.
And then the nice bloke, the outsider who only a few had perceived as a serious contender, entered the fray.
Not the cool choice, nor the media luvvy, but maybe the solid choice?
More research was needed from those of us who needed convincing, but this time it appeared more than a rumour. Michael Bailey was on board with it; so too the lads at Archant.
Even then I was sceptical, especially given the tumultuous week it had been for us Canary foot soldiers. I mean, the reports said he’d been offered the job… there was nothing there about him having accepted it. And we are Norwich City after all. No one can screw things up quite like us.
And then Michael Bailey’s mate from The Athletic tweeted:
For the first time in seven days, the buttocks unclenched. Luckily the process of getting behind a new name has been well-honed over the last week and by the time we reached number three, it was a breeze.
Especially when you closely examine Dean Smith’s credentials.
For our journey to have taken us from the fjords to Belgravia was entertaining, magical even, in its own way, but for it to have (hopefully) concluded in the land of Peaky Blinders is probably a good thing.
But let’s not run with the Smith being the safe choice narrative, even if that’s how it appears. I think by now we all understand how Stuart Webber works, and nothing in his career so far has been achieved by making safe choices.
He arrived at Dean Smith because after talking to him he felt he was the best person available right now to take over the reins of Norwich City.
Knutsen may or may not have been his first choice, we’ll probably never know, but it is clear that Webber’s ears pricked up when the news broke from Villa Park of Smith’s dismissal.
Of course he wasn’t on the shortlist that had been drafted at the back-end of the week leading up to the Brentford game – he had a job – but it’s pretty clear he was added to it the second he became unemployed. It also became pretty clear pretty quickly that Knutsen wasn’t going to be available in the timeframe to which Webber was working.
The Norwegian, according to those famous reports, never made it to the interview stage but Frankie and Deano did.
One was well-prepared, knowledgeable, understood the club’s ethos and aims, and came across as someone who wanted the job. The other was Frank.
I suspect the Lampster felt as if it was him doing Norwich City the favour.
From thereon in it sounds as if it was a case of Smith taking a few days off to see family in New York and perhaps clear his head from the events of the week before (hopefully) arriving back and making his way to the Fine City to put pen to paper.
Crucially, those same reports are suggesting he is bringing Craig Shakespeare with him as his assistant; the same Craig Shakespeare who recently assisted him at Villa and who so successfully assisted Claudio Ranieri in Leicester City’s title triumph of 2015-16.
So, barring the mother of all Norwich City c*ck ups, the big reveal should only be a day away and a new era begins.
What is clear is that, should he choose to accept it, Dean Smith now has before him the biggest challenge of his managerial career. At Brentford the expectations were modest and he delivered within a similar model to that which he inherits at City.
At Villa, the club he supports, the expectations were greater, as was the budget, but he delivered them a promotion, a successful relegation battle and an 11th place finish, all while playing a brand of football with which we will be familiar.
Despite his recent sacking, he garnered the respect of the Holte End faithful and many have spoken of their fondness and admiration since his departure, some even going as far as agreeing that he and Norwich City are a good fit.
As ever, only time will tell but now is not the time for looking too far forward nor too far back. It all starts again with a clean slate on Saturday and if it is Dean Smith in the City dugout, he deserves our wholehearted support.
And I know he’ll get it.