Wagner’s honeymoon period is officially over.
While last Saturday’s whooping was assigned to the ‘Premier League bound/better than us’ drawer, away days in Brizzle are supposed, for us, to be standard Championship fare. The games in which we can successfully compete.
Our record against teams in the top six is woeful, so logically it’s against the other 18 that City have to prosper if they are to claim a playoff place.
Not yesterday though, which doesn’t bode well for the run of supposedly winnable games that’s upcoming.
Against a Bristol City side that was unbeaten in eight and bursting full of confidence, all of the old failings – those that Dean Smith was unable to address – were laid bare.
- Individual errors
- Laboured and imprecise passing
- A lack of creativity
- No cutting edge
It was an unedifying watch but an all too familiar one. A squad that’s been tweaked around the edges but which is clearly in need of more than tweaks.
Andrew Omobamidele spoke afterwards of the need for a reset. The most used word in post-match discussions online was refresh. Everyone can see it.
The verve and zip we witnessed at Deepdale and the CBS Arena have disintegrated amid a 180+ minute flurry of mistakes, misplaced passes, and struggle. And all underpinned by this team’s worrying inability to react to going behind.
Courtesy of @ncfcnumbers, this team has fallen behind in 13 of its 30 games so far this season, and from those 13 games has yielded just six points – a damning indictment on its character and lack of cojones.
There is some talent in this squad (although I’ve argued all season it isn’t the one oozing with quality that we initially believed), but the Championship is about far more than skill and flair. In order to allow those two things to flourish, there needs to be an underbelly of steel and grit.
We don’t have that.
There are teams above us in the table who, from a technical perspective, are not as good but who are far better equipped to battle and to mix it. Those teams are unfazed by going a goal down. They don’t get easily rattled and shrink, and instead use it as a trigger to move up another gear.
While David Wagner and his coaching team will continue to drum in their messages around how they want this team to play and its shape structure, and philosophy – the technical stuff – I’m not sure there is too much they can do to instill the never-say-die mindset that this group so badly lacks. That comes from within.
As things stand we’re equidistant between 6th and 18th – pretty much where we were when Stuart Webber first arrived in the spring of 2017. We’ve been on quite the journey in between, admittedly, but there’s no escaping the fact that we are back where we started – mired in the Championship’s mid-table and in need of something quite special if we are to make a late charge for a playoff place.
We look anything but playoff bound but if that miracle did somehow occur, we return to that same old argument. Were this group to emerge victorious from the playoffs, then we know what comes next. And it’s not nice.
The reset/refresh that Omobamidele and the fans spoke of post-match needs to extend way beyond the remit of Wagner, and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow night will be the start of it.
For anyone who’s unaware, an EGM has been called where approval will be sought to allot an additional 194,512 ordinary shares on top of the existing 616,913, taking the total to 811,425 – an increase of nearly 24 per cent.
I attempted to explain it here.
The exact reason for this new share allocation is only known, for now, by those in the inner sanctum, but logic suggests it’s a mechanism by which Mark Attanasio can provide the club with additional funds while increasing his shareholding.
We’ll see – there could be an unexpected twist – but what it does mean is that Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones’ shareholding will be reduced to around 40 percent. In other words, while they will retain the biggest joint-shareholding, they will no longer own the majority of shares.
Quite how much any of this will impact Wagner in the summer window remains to be seen, but yesterday was a stark reminder that for this squad to be moulded around the requirements of its new head coach, some drastic surgery is needed. While the need to be ‘creative’ will likely remain, it would be nice if, for once, we could be in a position to compete with our peers in the transfer window.
For too long, we have lost out when other teams are involved (Kristoffer Ajer for example) and have had to invariably settle for cheap, often-injured options. The squad that Wagner is managing right now is the product of that.
Stuart Webber has had arguably two good transfer windows in 11 – a pretty awful return – but has always been hamstrung by all of the reasons above. Silk purse, sow’s ear etc.
So, despite yesterday being one of those days to which we’ve become all too accustomed, maybe it’s something that’s happening off the pitch tomorrow night that will dictate the future direction of our club.
We can but hope.
Spot on again Gary.
I read on the message board that the team Bristol fielded yesterday cost less than £15 million which puts into perspective just how bad our recent transfer dealings have been.
Webbers recent performance has been dire to say the least and any competent owner would probably have taken action long before now. A £50 million black hole and the Buendia money wasted should have been an alarm call but at dozy Norwich nobody seems to notice.
We can only hope that the upcoming share issue results in a new majority shareholder with a bit of go in them and plenty of money as we desperately need it.
Paul frewer says
Hopefully the possible boardroom reshuffle will result in a Chair/ CEO being appointed so that Webber will be properly audited, all feels a bit rudderless ATM.
Gary Gowers says
If and a big if is that Mark A and his Baseball team are the lowest payers and don’t to big spend trading but rely on older players coming to the end of their career or on Data to recruit cheaper up and coming players.
Maybe signing injured players might stop and more reliance on data generated player recruitment ie more like the Brentford success.
My worry with this AGM is about an absentee owner and will his deputy have the cajonies or over rule the Smith’s.
I can honestly see the board being in a bigger mess than they already are with no real clear owner or direction until major changes are made in those areas that are running the club on a day to day basis at the top.
Will our American Cousins be the long term answer maybe but not going to hold my breath on that.
Onwards and upwards
I kind of believe that your football brexit rules have been too difficult for Norwich to cope. I simply dont understand why lower leagues must have the same brexit rules as the premier league? The gap between the premier league and the championship is getting too massive. Promoted clubs should do Nottingham and change almost their whole squad, its also a massive financial risk. It affects to european player markets, transfer fees are an important part of the whole football pyramid.
Based on highlights it looked like a very dull game. Slow tempo and nothing much happened. Complete opposite to the premier league games.
Brexit o ly seem to effect Norwich other clubs in the Championship like Burnley seem to get European players with no problem.
Maybe the real reason is that our Mr Webber wants more time like Julie Andrews and climb every mountain
Belgrade Canary says
I think accusing a team of lacking cojones for not winning points when falling behind is a simplistic explanation.
I think a more nuanced explanation might be that a lack of confidence results in playing more deliberately, fewer first time passes and this allowing teams to get back into shape. If you combine that with what I think is the bigger contributing factor, which is teams recognising we lack creativity and therefore pulling back into a more defensive approach then you have a better description of what happens.
Yesterday and with Burnley I think what little creativity we have was cut off, particularly Dowell who is either runs the game or is a liability, leaving us looking slow, one dimensional, imprecise and porous.
Gary Gowers says
Fair comment, BC. Tend to agree. Teams have definitely identified that we lack the ability to open them up if they sit tight and in a solid shape. I do still believe though that teams have also recognised our brittleness and susceptibility to going behind (hence the cojones reference) and so are confident of defending against us if they can get their noses in front.
To many small errors McLean has really had 2 good games PNE and Coventry.
Dowell lost possession our midfield looked for a foul and just stopped expecting the Ref to stop the game and Gunn Jr seeing his team mates stop was late to react so poor judgement on his part.
The night before John R showed for Birmingham what we were missing a Commanding keeper going in where it hurts to win the ball and stop the other team winning.
Gunn Jr can become that keeper if he isn’t sold to Rangers.
We need a no nonsense ball winner in midfield someone Hanley can rely on to shield the defence maybe he could fill that role with Andrew O and Tomlinson as our future CB’s.
Hanley is an organiser goes in where it hurts and covers lots of ground whereas McLean is slow covers little ground and points out danger to everyone else but then maybe it should be Sorensen playing in his preferred central midfield position but that area is our weekspot
Dowell coughs up possession, count to 5. Balls in our net.
Would the 2023 version of Norwich City have scored that goal.?
Quite simply the squad is mostly not good enough, The Mayor was outstanding, for a couple of games, shown what he can do, assured of his place then back to normal Not saying it is deliberate.
I think we good count very few who are really good enough for this league, I wonder how many championship sides would come in for players if the squad was put up for sale. Not many above the half waypoint of the table. I bet.
Mr & Mrs Webber have too much say too much authority. The Stowmarket duo are seemingly happy to allow this. Sure our American cousins will not be so accommodating but. we will see.
TBH I am pleased that promotion is more or less out the question now, (well hope so) going up with this squad would be even worse than previsiou;ly.
IRe the special meeting I heard Chris Goreham saying yesterday the ownership will most likely not change, but the controlling 51% could drop into the 40’s. But would still have majority. not much expected to change, but least it is moving in right direction. They still will not let go,
Another few seasons of this mediocrity
Our brief but enjoyable renaissance is over. How I revelled in the 2 4 goal thumping handed out on foreign soil.
Yesterday at Bristol we reverted to type. Half arsed, sloppy, lackadaisical, bereft of ideas and without due care and attention. The managerial change was desperately needed but it shouldn’t begin and end there.
After The performance of the last 2 seasons everyone at the club should hang their heads in shame.
Next week marks a very important day for the club and I’m not talking about the dead rubber against Hull on Tuesday night. Without a complete sea change at the club the terminal decline will continue and its very existence will be put in peril.
4 individuals are directly responsible for this debacle and I will celebrate with far more vigour than any hollow victory over Hull if the events on Tuesday lead to 4 heads rolling once and for all
There are 3 couples on the board s I have been told
1 Smith and Jones Majority shareholders
2 Tom Smith and Wife shareholders
3 Mr&Mrs Webber due to their jobs
Surely in any business this is a conflict of interest especially if a vote was needed to sack Webber as Tom Smith was the one that appointed him to the job and may not like others want to admit being wrong??
Can anyone tell me who is linking our play
Sargent so Wagner says should be central yet yesterday he spent more time going deep to receive the ball.
McLean is supposed to drop into defence to help out and instigate forward play didn’t see any of that yesterday
I saw frustration Aarons getting a stupid booking, similar with McLean yet Bristol players got more leeway are we easy pickings for Ref’s, 50/50’s seem to go against us and it looks like the players have started to accept this.
Where the FA sanctioned the club for crowding the Ref but said yes it was a penalty but that’s no excuse its about time that if not VAR then some one in the Stadium should be wired to the Ref and say you missed that penalty and have the means via his watch to show him within seconds.
As an old TV prog use to say we have the technology
Tim Ball says
Oh dear Gary, the new manager bounce is well and truly over.
I do not blame David Wagner for that one bit.
But yesterday’s no show was really surprising, perhaps the Burnley thumping put confidence back to square one.
On Canary Call there were some very interesting ideas from the contributors going forward.
Some of them like when Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital decided as the management had been found to be wanting the ideal guy to put in temporary charge would be one Mr Jimmy Saville😱
We all have our opinions and rightly so but the plethora of problems Norwich City have at present one of them is not Teemu Pukki.
And some of the other Ideas, well lets put it this way I feel sure none of them will be acted upon by the club. Personally I would love to see one of the lovely old Canary Call contributors tell the Board and the Executive off sitting on the Carrow Road pitch.🤣
Back to Teemu. Okay he isn’t as prolific by any means as he has been in other seasons in the Championship, but I feel it is all due to a lack of service. Our midfield is shockingly weak. I am wondering if post-Brexit as signing players is very difficult now from Europe going down the South American route has been a mistake.
Both Sara and Nunez have shown that they can really play but with consistency ? Not happening.
Teemu is trying really hard, and getting really frustrated.
I am afraid all of us who questioned the recruitment in recent windows have been proved right.
Gary Field says
Depending upon which other minority shareholdings Attanasio also acquired at the time he purchased those owned by Michael Foulger, he could feasibly become the largest shareholder, assuming that he bags all those now on offer. And, even if he’s not, he’ll have over 30% of the shares and will be obliged to offer all remaining shareholders the opportunity to sell their shares to him.
Don’t underestimate how huge tomorrow’s meeting will be.
Think you will find he does not have to offer to buy other shares because he has 30% ,the shares are not on the stock market, they are just shares in the club
Tim Ball says
A late bit of news Gary.
It seems Marquinious will have an muscle injury assed this week 😱
You really can’t make this up 🤬
Maybe till the end of the season city is like Emergency Ward 10
Tim Ball says
I have just heard we are in for Darren Anderton as a free agent Alex😂
Any of our sick notes seem to take a long time in recovery even with minor injuries then compound it with a training injury there has to be something wrong with the first medical on arrival or the medical advice being given is ignore by Webber and his recruitment team
Who carries out our medicals? Doctor crippen?
martin penney says
It was Harold Shipman the last time I looked.
Tim Ball says
Crippen and Shipman 😂😂😂
Mystic kev says
Good summary Gary we went to Bristol for 3 points and got them lethargic rudderless and mistakeridden could have easily made it a six pointer but I’m getting.bored with it now we need a complete makeover on and off the pitch same ol crap from the same players who for 3 years out of 4 have failed to perform as a team writing is on the wall unless there are major changes no manager will get much success from this shower.
Seems to me, judging by the two results when Wagner came onboard (4-0, 4-2), the players went out to show what they’ve got.
Probably Wagner asked them to actually show him what they’d got.
The last time the boys (ALL the boys!) had played with that much affirmative conviction, and ripped games away from the opposition, was during the first promotion run under Danny Farke.
Personal opinion here? There’s nothing wrong with any of our players, they just want to express themselves on the pitch in the way they enjoy playing, fast gung-ho assertive football which leaves the opposition behind, takes games away from them.
I hope NCFC play that way at Hull.
Feed the striker!
Grab games and fans by the balls!
I don’t care if we let two goals in while scoring four, its a great investment strategy.