We’re a resilient bunch really.
Okay, so we moan a lot (I don’t think I’m alone) and we completely ignore the not-too-high, not-too-low ethos espoused by most managers, coaches and sporting directors.
Wins are met with ecstasy, defeats with desolation, and rarely do we trundle along in that hinterland described by Kipling. Balance, even from folk like me who are supposed to provide some, is a rare commodity.
But we bounce back quickly and any troubled waters are soon calmed by the slightest hint of positive news – a trait, I guess, common to all football supporters.
A win, an unexpectedly good performance, an inkling of some future investment, a new signing whose arrival is met with almost universal approval – all sufficient to raise the collective spirit a notch or two.
And, to be honest, after such a horrific season, even weekends without a game and a (terrible) performance to mull over are, in themselves, a minor fillip. Over the last 10 months, the bad news came at us so thick and fast it was hard to keep up with what to be angry about.
But, whether intentional or not – I tend to think not – the news from the Archant lads that there was a new potential investor in town was an almost immediate diversion away from the horrors that had unfolded on the turf.
Instead of talking about getting tonked 5-0 by Spurs, we were talking about the seven blokes who sat in the directors’ box and who watched us get tonked 5-0 by Spurs.
We were already looking forward.
Amidst all of it was also an act of self-preservation. Why the hell would any of us wish to look back over 2021-22 with a Norwich City hue – a season with no redeeming features.
So to have reason to look ahead with some hope before the nets had hardly been taken down was a good thing – inadvertent or otherwise.
We all needed it – even those for whom the club and the team can say and do no wrong.
And the out-of-the-blue news that the club has signed a robust, athletic, defensive midfielder whose name we recognised merely added to the uplift in the collective mood.
Isaac Hayden ticks almost all of the boxes that remained unticked last season and is the rarity of a new signing who arrives with almost unequivocal support from those he’s leaving behind and those he’s joining.
The only concern would be his ability to remain injury-free – 169 career appearances for a 27-year-old doesn’t sound like a lot – although a stringent medical at Colney will no doubt have allayed any fears of ongoing, long-term injuries and conditions.
And the fact he has two Championship promotions already on his CV makes him, on paper at least, an ideal fit.
There have been one or two suggestions that Hayden’s arrival signals the end of the passing football we’ve become accustomed to since the summer of 2017, but I’m pretty sure there’s room for robust sort in the heart of that midfield among some technicians.
I didn’t feel the Farkeball was any less Farkeball for the presence of Alex Tettey at the base of that midfield and, besides, while Dean Smith’s vision of the game may not be quite as wholesome as Daniel Farke’s, his Brentford and Villa teams were both known for playing attractive, passing football.
Those fearing a route-one approach to the new Championship campaign should rest easy, although there are a few in the River End who I suspect would embrace such a change in ethos wholeheartedly 🙂
With the summer transfer window now officially two days old, there will likely be more new faces arriving and departing as the summer churn begins, each in and out playing its own small part in distancing this squad from the ill-fated 2021-22 version.
Each one also takes us another step in the right direction on the negativity/positivity axis.
So, the healing process feels like it’s underway – kickstarted by some news that may never come to fruition (although we hope it does), and then, alongside that great healer that is time, there have been one or two positive noises emanating from Colney.
I’ve deliberately avoided the PR screw-ups that continue to blight the club as I wanted this piece to be light, but let’s not pretend everything is rosy. Rebuilding is required across the board and on many fronts.
For now though, let’s cling to the fact there’s nothing on the football side to be angry about.
That can wait until Saturday, 30 July.