At the time of writing, City sit joint-top after thirteen games of a gruelling, compacted season. In any other season, this would be met with widespread approval by the fans.
So why does a large proportion of the fanbase feel a bit ‘meh’?
I’ve thought long and hard about this and come up with a number of conclusions.
The last two Championship seasons ended with trophies in the cabinet with last-minute victories, and the memorable crushing of Leeds, Ipswich, Huddersfield, and many others.
It was entertaining – which is what most fans want – but with that type of entertaining football, the likelihood is the defence may not be the tightest. It was the same defence that was trusted to keep us in the Premier League.
No need to go into how that ended (x2).
Daniel Farke gave us great memories but also some nightmares. He will always be welcomed back to the Fine City but those who are clinging to the ghost, please let it go. It’s been nearly a year since we parted company.
Dean Smith felt a safe appointment and unfortunately became an easy target for the Farke loyalists as results did not improve. Smith was never going to keep City up. Guardiola also would have failed.
Smith deserves to be judged on this season only and after serious doubts following the defeat to Hull City on a sun-drenched Humberside, eight wins in ten games is pretty good going.
So, why does the overall mood not feel like that?
It’s certainly not been as entertaining but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Three points are three points. Scoring a goal following a twenty-five-pass move is good. A scrappy header resulting in a goal is also good.
They all count.
Smith has led a team to joint top of the league without a fit left-back and a central defensive midfielder. Once Dimi Giannoulis is back along with an introduction for Issac Hayden, the team will look less disjointed and the flow should improve.
Smith shouldn’t be judged on whether he does or doesn’t orchestrate the crowd after matches. He should be judged on results and, other than the Preston debacle, he is delivering.
It’s a fanbase that has been spoiled in the Championship but one that also may just fear a return to the “Promised Land”, which moves us on to the atmosphere.
I’ve attended three home games this season and, in no exaggerated terms, I’ve attended funerals with better vibes.
It desperately needs freshening up and so let’s hope that with the appointment of Mark Attanasio to the board, plans to add a tier on top of the City stand are being escalated.
A new generation of fans needs to be encouraged to come along to help improve the atmosphere of a stadium that appears bored of winning football.
Make sense of that if you can.
On the subject of the drum, it’s clear to see the club doesn’t want one. The video that did the rounds on social media of the drum ‘trial’ taken by a Coventry fan was one of embarrassment. Even the drummer looked embarrassed.
It was done intentionally, in my view, to put City fans off the idea. The game was finished as a contest at halftime but all we heard in the second half was Coventry fans singing Twist and Shout.
I sat in the director’s box for the Reading away game last week and was fascinated to see from a home perspective what a brilliant atmosphere the travelling Canaries generated.
It was impressive, the drum did a grand job and showed that whilst a drum isn’t the only factor behind a good atmosphere, it would be nice to experience something similar at Carrow Road again.
It also made me appreciate not having to support a club like Reading who now play in a stadium called Select Car Leasing Stadium. Plastic beyond belief and a nothing club. I doubt I’ll be welcomed back anytime soon.
But it’s not just on the fans – the club also have to give us something to look forward to.
I’ve made no secret of my views on the current owners but with our new American friends on board, it is almost impossible to believe they are going to be content being second in command for the long haul. Promotion, if it happens, may well equate to more shares being bought with a view to a long-term takeover.
It would be a shot in the arm that would present hope. Hope that would hopefully extinguish the dread that currently seeps through Carrow Road.
Winning Championship football in arguably the worst Championship season quality-wise is one thing, but a Premier League season that we could look forward to with a realistic chance of staying up could awaken the beast.