Before I pick up the theme of dissatisfaction and malcontent with most things Norwich City that I, unfortunately, feel duty-bound to employ these days, I thought it might be fair and reasonable to allow Dean Smith to get his theoretical mitigation for Tuesday night in first.
The absentee list against Burnley at Turf Moor was a lengthy one and so diverse that I have contrived to forget the precise reasons that one or two players are actually nowhere near the first-team squad right now.
Gary suggested that time be called on Smith and Craig Shakespeare yesterday and, believe me, I agree with him, but I nevertheless found the issue of yesterday’s teamsheet an interesting one. Was it released or did it escape?
I don’t know.
Before training yesterday it was discovered that Ben Gibson had a knee problem while Dimi Giannoulis suffered a cracked rib, so both were late omissions from the squad and this was understandably not disclosed to the punters prior to kick-off.
They were replaced by US youngster Jonathan Tomkinson and the returning Sam McCallum, two of our few players to acquit themselves well on the night.
I can just about remember that Adam Idah, Jonathan Rowe, and Lungi Sorensen have long-term issues of knee, shin, and metatarsal respectively and that Sam Byram is out with something maybe in the hip area. I might have read what the issue is but forgotten it, otherwise I never knew in the first place this time around as far as Byram is concerned.
Andrew Omobamidele is out until after the World Cup while he rests up a groin injury and Kenny McLean is suspended from point duty for one more time, against Alex Neil’s Stoke City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Looking forward to the match, wee fella? I bet you are.
Kieran Dowell was last heard of a week ago suffering from laryngitis and the absence of Aaron Ramsey from the squad baffles me completely. At the time of writing, I still don’t know what caused him to join the missing list.
And for good measure, Max Aarons had to depart through concussion during the second period.
So there’s Deano’s mitigation. Are any of these missing players essential, as in absolutely essential to fielding a winning XVIII?
Not on your nelly – my sympathy for Smith was short-lived and is well and truly over.
Especially as he said this between Sheffield United and Burnley:
“The culture of the place is brilliant. We’ve got players heavily invested in driving a great game plan, along with the coaches.
“We give them all the information they need and a good look at the opposition for each match. But we know what our style of play is, how we want to play, and the players come up with a game plan that’s agreed by the coaches.”
After comments like that any lingering sympathy for Smith, Shakespeare & Co dissipates very quickly, in my house anyway.
As Jim Royle would say: My ar$e.
Arrant nonsense, gobbledygook, spurious rubbish, and not phraseology I want to hear from the head coach of Norwich City Football Club.
Couple that with players seemingly going backwards rather than even treading water, no buy-in to what we are supposedly all about, and an absolute disconnect with the supporters and I’m 100% with Gary.
It’s time for Smith to go, and that’s right quick.
You like it in the Midlands, Dean. Perhaps you should lie low for a while until a job you actually want comes along because this one isn’t right for you. Unai Emery might not last long at Villa, so who knows what tomorrow might bring.
Speaking of no buy-in to what we are supposedly all about [or the inverse of that in this case] I’ll leave you good readers with a question, as in who said this:
“We want **** to be here for a long time and I think we are early in the adventure of what we are building with him.
“We are committed, whether with this manager or his eventual successor, to this style of football. We also think it’s part of the foundation that makes [our Club] special and unique. As I say, we want **** to be here a long time and I think we can all see the growth in the players working with him and his staff.
“We are in the process of making sure the development teams are learning to play ‘the ******* way’ so that as they make their way through the youth ranks and eventually into the first team, they’re not having to rewire their instincts in the way that footballers who grow up in other organisations have to when they come here and try to learn to play our way. We are deeply committed to this.”
Was that Stuart Webber pontificating about NCFC some four or five years ago?
No, it was Swansea chief Jake Silverstein speaking about Russell Martin yesterday in Wales Today.
Webber doesn’t speak like that anymore. “That kind of talk” has all been swept under the Carrow Road carpet and is most unlikely to re-emerge in the foreseeable future.
We don’t seem to have a discernible way of playing – and haven’t had for 12 months now – so what on earth do we need a philosophy for, seems to be the attitude on high.
That cannot be right and is one of several reasons that as far as Norwich City are concerned I have become: