If this wretched season could be encapsulated in a single day our game at Carrow Road against Tottenham on Sunday was certainly it.
Very much having a liking for the Lilywhites, I’d been looking forward to this fixture ever since Christmas even though at that time a Champions League spot for Spurs seemed most unlikely and nobody could have predicted then what was to be at stake for them on the final day of the season.
I’m pleased to say that I rarely suffer from coughs, sneezes, colds and all that but I started to feel really bad on Saturday dinner time and on matchday I struggled to get out of bed with the worst dose of man-flu I can remember. I’m still struggling as I write this tbh.
Quite a few friends and family reckoned it might well be Covid as they’ve had it themselves and told me they felt the same way at the time as I do now, so I’m going to hide up for a few more days just in case.
The only silver lining is that I knew early doors I wouldn’t be able to make the game so managed to pass my ticket on to MFW regular Don Harold in enough time for him to come on as a late sub. He provides his thoughts on the “matchday experience” further on in this article.
So what did I miss out on?
With my Tottenham hat on, a superb display of counter-attacking football which ran us poor old Canaries ragged at times, Champions League qualification and Son Heung-min getting to share the Castrol Golden Boot with Mo Salah.
More poignantly we might not be playing them again for quite some time so I’ve probably missed out on seeing Messrs Kane, Son and Lloris ever again, which will concern me more than the vast majority of City fans of course.
So what about us?
The usual litany of inept defending, giving the ball away in midfield and being caught out on the counter far too easily.
If that proved to be Tim Krul’s City swansong he left us with two contrasting memories that summed up his season as well, namely a massive boo-boo while trying to pass out from the back to Mathias Normann who appeared not to read it to make it 2-0 and the game effectively over before half time and, later, a brilliant, instinctive save from a Son header.
Dean Smith said afterwards:
“I look at Tottenham and the best team won today by a long way. We played a similar system to them. When we had the ball they dropped deep into a mid-block, but what they do when they press you is they press you at pace and we didn’t do that well enough at all.
“If we want to be successful in the way I want to play then we’ve got to be winning the ball back a lot quicker than we do and we’ve got to get up to people and make contact a lot quicker than we do.”
Hard to argue with him, isn’t it?
Don Harold’s observations are whimsically apposite:
“There I was having a lazy Sunday morning when I received a ping from a malady-stricken Martin offering me his ticket for the season’s finale at Carrow Road.
“After a couple of minutes of working out the logistics of delaying my return to the Midlands, I accepted the offer and collected the ticket.
“I then spent a couple of really enjoyable hours watching performers showing huge levels of skill, determination, joy and ability in one of Norwich’s most iconic arenas. But I had to leave behind the joys of modern dance, mime theatre and The Big Gay Disco Bike which had provided the entertainment as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival at Chapelfield Gardens, and get myself down to Carrow Road.
“What can I say?
“The initial rendition of OTBC was surprisingly rousing, the Spurs fans were in good voice and the game went in exactly the same way as so many others have this season. The first goal came from the usual switch off after about a quarter of an hour and we all knew what lay ahead and the Norwich players demonstrated perfectly that they’re nowhere near good enough for this level.
“There were a few chants of ‘Delia Out’ which never really took off and a few verbal conflicts between a few fans. I didn’t wait around very long after the final whistle and it didn’t feel as though there was likely to be too much in the way of demonstrations.
“This has just a horrible season, there hasn’t been anything that I would describe as a highlight at any of the games I’ve been to. To demonstrate this, here are my stats for the season for games I have attended (including one cup game); Games 13, won 0, drawn 3, lost 10, goals for 8, goals against 30, points 3. Average of 0.25 points per game, 0.61 goals for and 2.3 against.”
As this piece started with a loosely medical theme I thought I should conclude it with one.
Okay, any excuse to feature a fine song from The Jam:
Andrew Delf says
NCFC vs THFC. A bit like watching 11 Lop eared bunnies getting savaged by a pack of starving Hyenas. Time to get down to Acle market and buy some Hyenas of our own. Do you hear that Stuart, no more bunnies required.
Bunnies and hyenas – I like it.
The way Webber is going we’re more likely to get a couple of three-legged dingos and a litter of young Pomeranians.
I didn’t realise Acle market had hyenas but I’ve not been since I lived in Blofield many moons ago 🙂
What about a German sheperd,a Dobermann and a pit bull for our new midfield!
I’ll chuck in Geezer our Patterdale terrier on a season-long loan deal – he knows what a football is, is very quick, jumps well and sure knows how to dig in.
The trouble is the groundsman wouldn’t approve of the way he digs in as the plastic/grass pitch combo would need patching up at half time every game.
They wouldn’t want our Jack Russell Minnie – she’d head straight for the first hospitality unit she could find!
Hope you’re feeling better Martin .
As you say, the season encapsulated in 91 minutes.
Awful; apathetic; dross…….there really are no adjectives to describe just how embarrassing our club have become both on and off the pitch.
Given Sunday’s selection I’m pretty sure that Krul will be gone, along with Aarons. Both of those leave with my good wishes and their heads held high. Holding on to Pukki will be key for next season, but if Webber receives an offer for him, can we honestly say that Teemu will be here in September??
To finish 15 points (and a much worse goal difference) from safety is truly sobering. And 24 (yes, twenty four) point behind Brentford, who spent less money on many fewer players but of a much higher calibre than ours really sums it up (and we were 10 ahead of them under Farke).
O T B C
Yes, the comparison with Brentford is unfortunately very apt. When you look at what they’ve achieved this season under the likeable Thomas Frank it’s really quite something.
Webber wouldn’t have considered Christian Eriksen as he doesn’t really have a sell-on value and Delia wouldn’t like that, now would she. We don’t do free agents anyway.
The powers that be have given us supporters a real kick in the ging-gangs this term.
I’m by no means right but cerainly getting there, ta.
Dean Smith is now blaming the players.- the same players he repeatedly said we’re good enough to keep us up. His reason for selecting Krul had nothing to do with winning the game, which is a disgrace
Yes I quite agree with you there.
Trouble is that it could have been worse if Angus had played as he might have been asked to feign injury with 10 to go.
Not the same for outfielders I know but that’s happened many times over the years!
That’s the clearest sign as could be that Timmy K will be leaving.
Morning Mr P hope you feel a lot better, just had a coldy thing from hell. Had the chance of free ticket, but turned it down, not through ill health. But As much as Spurs are my second team City was/is mu No1 and could not have sat through that, had the idea of what it would be like. I would have left at half time knowing full well what was coming.
Spurs had much more to play for and the excellent striker Son also. City’s passion and pride in the shirt are almost invisible. There wasn’t a need to say Norwich will roll over as favour to Spurs, as they would roll over because they are crap.
As much as I love Krul, if an offer came up to be Number 1 in Holland, hell man go for it, yes you make the odd cock up, but you have saved us more. You don’t owe us anything. Besides Normann stood still instead of running to collect. , I was taught to go for the ball .. sadly asleep wondering whether he should return to Russia as the offers may not be there. A tad of a let down after a promising patch.
A clear-out is needed. Sargent, Rashica, Placheta and Giannoulis should get somewhere under half of what we paid. Onel and Idah will be back and I reckon a cut-price Jamal Lewis could be done or a season-long loan.
I left Tzolis out as we have not seen enough of him to form anything. Wonder if a mistake (a rare thing these days ) was made is letting McAlear go, seen some games from North of the Wall, he looks to me a box to box, not scared of getting stuck in and has a half-decent shot and free kick in him. I know that I do not see all that goes on.
As for Deano, I have grave doubts he is the right man for the job, I know it is not his squad, but you should be able to manage any players. His highest championship finish was 5th winning the play off. Defending is not one of his strong points , an excellent article I came across states this re Smith’s defending record. “Villa had the highest GAgainst in Premier League — exceeding even Farke’s Norwich” This was noted at Brentford again the same article. will add URL at the end.
As to getting the frustrations and anger out, now the season is finished, The cook will hope it will be forgotten about after a couple of wins and a couple of unheard of underwhelming players added, that is after the PR Dept has sexed up the details of the player. It needs to carry on with articles, Posters even bumper stickers. It should not be allowed to fade. It is our club, you don’t have to be young to get involved in it lolol I am 70 this year and prepared to chip in here and there.
Thank the footballing Gods, that’s over, just what is to flow under the bridge ahead, is not that promising if this regime stays in the power control .
URL to a good review of the season, Well worth the read.
As for the players you mention I think that, as a collective, half of what we paid for them is a little bit hopeful which means Webber will keep them, which to my mind is worse.
We are in serious danger of freefall and as somebody [can’t remember who, maybe on Gary’s article yesterday] said, we’re not in debt. Fine. But we have no contingency fund as we have no cash apart from parachute payments.
Which explains why this summer we will have very little to spend on players apart from what we might scrape together from selling Max and Cantwell, and even then a fair chunk of that will disappear into the black hole that is self funding.
As Smith was a lower league centre half I agree that his lack of defensive nous seems baffling. No hindsight here because I said at the time I would have preferred Warney.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing the bookies’ odds on our promotion prospects next season as soon as the squads are submitted to the EFL/FA. Not before, then.
Mystic kev says
Get well mate you missed nowt usual bullshit only three who started Sunday Hanley and pukki and Sorenson what to see next season the rest can sod off they didn’t give a damm sums up season for me and Smith can go too can’t make out what he’s doing.😃
No-one knows what Dean Smith is doing – least of all him by the looks of it.
We’ll have to give him a chance with his own cheaply assembled squad next season – and mugs that we are we’ll both be there unless we see sense!
Have a great summer.
The final figures were released on how much each club gets for their league position cities is £2.2m Brentford gets £17.5m that’s 2 players in SW transfer window of last season.
Hanley, McLean and Gilmour all in the Scottish squad for their WC playoff games so will with gritted teeth wish them luck.
They say silence is golden but to me it shows continued contempt for everyone that supports our fine club and all those happy clappers can only see sunshine where none exists.
Will we see breaking news when some obscure mountain peak has been scaled or a record number of happy clappers have attend a Delia class on Hollandaise or boiling an egg, or will she write another even more obscure book on psychology anything but address the investment that city badly needs.
We will possibly see big tins of whitewash arriving to cover up an appalling season, changes are needed but I honestly don’t think anyone at the club knows were to start or how to start.
Get well soon
I think a Delia book on psychology might be an interesting read – she certainly knew how to make the best out of herself anyway and I guess that’s deserving of some credit in itself in a funny kind of way..
The silence continues to be deafening.
She’s admitted to stuffing up before but not this time and I wonder why.
Possible clue: Go Outdoors mountaineering section?
Hi Martin. What a way to spoil a sunny Sunday afternoon.
I’ll resist the temptation to channel ray Davies and get to the game.
As others have said, the physicality and athleticism on display were awesome. Unfortunately none of the above came from the boys in green and yellow.
The disparity was emphasised starkly in one first half passage of play when rashica, who is quick and likes a tussle for the ball was confronted by the tall leggy full back whose name escapes me. As the players struggled manfully a spurs team mate, even bigger and leggier joined the fray and rashica was crowded out.
The speed and determination with which they crowded rashica out told the whole story.
We have a side built for ball retention. One which alas, is all too often starved of possession.
The errors and lackadaisical approach were once again prevalent and mercifully the whole shooting match can now be flushed down the bog with all the other turds.
Yes it must have been dreadful to behold.
If we take away the key point of athleticism, height alone puts us at an extreme disadvantage and ever since Sargent got injured there has been literally nobody for our GK to kick long to and weare often pegged back by that factor alone.
You can’t retain the ball at PL level with this lot, which to me is why Billy Gilmour failed to do a job, let alone flourish.
Actually Ray Davies, like Rod Stewart, was a bit of a baller back in the day.
I love the Kinks – as unique as could be back in the day.
Love The Jam, I saw them at Whitley Bay Ice Rink on their farewell tour-excellent gig but cold feet.
Hope you’re feeling better soon.
Brixton Astoria [now I think Academy] for me on the penultimate tour.
No cold feet – it was hotter than hell in there!
Norwich should change their club nickname to Yo-Yo! It’s hard to believe that after fighting so hard to gain promotion to mix it up with the big boys that their only achievement in doing so, is to get regulated back down! After an extremely poor season the least that they should of done for the fans would have been to beat Spurs & bow out in style! But they chose to do the opposite! I seriously believe that their gonna be spending a lot of time in the Championship as there’s now a number of teams in that division who are fully capable of making the possibility of an instant return extremely difficult for them! Not that they deserve an instant return anyway!
We’ve simply rolled over too many times this season.
I too feel a lengthy, possibly permanent. spell in the EFL is coming and I am not sure that will always mean the Championsihip
Breaking News, I have found out why Webber is off to Mnt Everest yes climbing is one part. follow this link for the second part . scouting
I appreciate the 🙂 but that was a great little clip t watch – thanks for posting.
Tim Ball says
I hope you soon feel better Martin.
As you say Sunday was our season in a nutshell.
Thankfully that is over.
However I did feel encouraged by Dean Smith’s comments after the game.
The fact he wants to play a high tempo pressing game sounds extremely promising.
The only thing Dean my new friend is that you are going to need more new players than you or the club realise. As he said himself the players he has are incapable of playing that way.
I just hope we keep Teemu Pukki and Grant Hanley.
If not my enthusiasm will diminish quicker than the Manchester United players on hearing that Paul Pogba had been offered a new contract!!!
I agree with you when you say we will need different players to employ the high tempo pressing game that Dean Smith wants but I don’t see where the £££ is coming from.
It’s only inspired guesswork but something tells me Hanley will stay but Pukki will – quite deservedly – leave for somewhere in Europe for the last cople of seasons of his career. I really hope I’m wrong as I’d love him to stay but I don’t think he will.
Mr Pogba has never been the most popular figure at Carrington 🙂
As you know Martin, I’m a big Weller fan – well until about 10 years ago anyway. Bitterest PIll is not much liked by many Jam fans, I love it though. Saw them twice in Leicester, and FTJ many times since.
Only good thing NCFC related is that they’ll be in the NorthWest a lot next season. Whether I can be bothered to waste my time and money watching them is quite another matter. Be good if S&S/Webber can persuade some decent and experienced British players to sign, we’ve had more than enough of promising, lightweight, foreigners.
I doubt Webber will suddenly try to attract the type of players you, me and most of us know we need as experience doesn’t bring the prospect of future sell-on profit with it.
He might have a chamge of tack and I hope he does but I doubt it.
You’re quite right about Jam fans and *Bitterest Pill* – I’ll tell you the tale later on.
Get well soon Martin.
I went to two games this season. Win against Southampton and draw against Wolves. Southampton should have been out of sight by half time. We didn’t do to bad against Wolves.
Several people have mentioned how well Brentford did. Remember Webber would not pay the price Celtic wanted for Ajer. He has done reasonably well at Brentford. Last time we did well in PL we had a physical forward in Grant Holt. Brentford have hot Toney. There were lots of rumours about us buying him! It was a masterstroke to sign Erikson. In January.
We could have a decent starting 11 next season but I do wonder if Dean Smith can pick them up like Farke did in 2020 to get second championship title.
I can’t see another automatic promotion. However, I hope and expect a play off place.
Thanks to MFW for more entertainment than the team provided on the pitch.
Yes I’ve heard that about Ajer and the same about Toney as well, for what it’s worth.
It’s not that we didn’t have the money for Ajer in the summer – we did.
But rather than going the extra yards we turned our back on a quality player and bought what seems to be a varied collection of overpriced failures.
No predictions from me until I know the make-up of the squad but as dean Smith has said there won’t be wholesale changes I’m not too hopeful.
Is a recruitment so bad?
Look at the following players we recruited and I would suggest that they would walk into our first team on their form with their current clubs
Sinani ( Huddersfield )Toffolo (Huddersfield)
Pritchard. (Sunderland) and Roberts (Sunderland)
Hugill ( Cardiff)
In addition we acquire. youngsters who come with high reputations which many seem unable to fulfill
It begs the question whether we have the right coaching material at the club to bring the best out of these players when other clubs seem able to do so. Also it strikes me that you need high quality players with the control skills needed to play possession football ( viz Man City) If you do not have those skills it’s all to easy to give the ball away as we frequently do. In my opinion we would score more goals from long punts upfield chased at speed from which mistakes and hurried defensive decisions are made (often wrongly) and from which we would stand greater chance of scoring,
In recent weeks even teams like West Ham and Liverpool have been employing such tactics.
Recruiting for us should in my opinion should be well.built,,lithe and speedy players who are also prepared to mix it with the opposition.Omabamidele and Idah need to get back to fitmness asap!
Some of those you mention were not Webber/Farke signings but I get your drift.
*Recruiting for us should in my opinion should be well-built, lithe and speedy players who are also prepared to mix it with the opposition. Omabamidele and Idah need to get back to fitness asap!*
I think any NCFC fan who has played football themselves at any level would agree with you there – I know I do!
Cheers – interesting comment.