In the week leading up to our visit to Ashton Gate, I enjoyed a lengthy discussion with the Posse about exactly what is essential to successfully deploying a 4-2-3-1 system.
I argued that the striker and #10 forming a fluid partnership was key but Bernie Owen quickly put me in my place when he said I had my priorities wrong.
“I respectfully disagree Martin, 4-2-3-1 can only work with two damn good defensive but also ball-playing midfielders.
“Tetts and Olly Skipp would [did on occasion] work and Lungi Sorensen and Liam Gibbs could grow into it, but I wouldn’t have McLean in there. He’ll look good when we dominate but as soon as we come under pressure you can hear the air coming out of the punctured balloon.”
And on Saturday, yet again, our lack of defensive midfield presence only confirmed Bernie’s reasoning. Kieran Dowell can really seem like a luxury player at this level sometimes and Bristol hassled him into oblivion.
For the only goal of the game, he was [perfectly legally] muscled off the ball in the centre circle by the innovatively named Cam Pring who threaded a fine pass through to Mark Sykes, who beat Angus Gunn with a little too much ease for my liking. And for the umpteenth time this season, there was not a covering central midfielder in sight.
Gunn was benched for David Wagner’s opening three games and is already tipped for a £3million summer move to Rangers. For all he needs the money, I don’t think even Stuart Webber is daft enough to sell Angus, who could quite easily become our undisputed Number One for the next six or seven years.
We emerged from the West Country with nil points and the crazy stat of 65% possession with one shot on target. Make of that what you will.
Speaking of making of matters what you will, two weeks ago to the day I wrote in reply to a comment on MFW:
“As for the [initial Board meeting held to facilitate the reallocation of shares] meeting, I find quite a few folks can see signs of Delia loosening her gnarly old grip on the Club. I don’t see it that way myself as there are too many uncertainties for my liking.“
As Gary wrote yesterday this get-together tonight holds out hope of Delia reducing her and Michael Wynn-Jones’ shareholding to around 40%, down from the current 53%. Many people who know more about these things than I do are taking it as a given that the path is being strewn with roses so that Mark Attanasio can snap up what’s on offer. After all, nobody else is likely to want shares in Norwich City Football Club but the man from Milwaukee, are they?
I will just make a few observations here concerning not what I think might happen tonight but more about why I am taking nothing as a given.
What’s in this for Attanasio? I’m struggling with this one a bit, to be honest. Maybe it’s just a case of wanting to strengthen his hand at an early stage but even if it is, he will not be the answer to our prayers in terms of injecting cash into the club. You don’t throw good money after bad when you’re as successful as he is.
What’s in it for Delia? Relinquishing segments of her ownership bit by bit must be like selling a litter of pups off one by one. Decent breeders often keep a youngster back for themselves. What will be her equivalent? Retaining Delia’s Canary Catering?
Will radar silence be retained? If Paddy and/or the boys had been invited to what I guess is an EGM, they would quite rightly have trumpeted it by now.
Where does Tom Smith stand in all this?
It’s not so long ago that he was cast as the heir apparent. It seems his position is diminishing fast. Would Mark Attanasio want him to continue as a director, especially when he has two fine, strapping lads of his own? Doubtful.
And finally, what might happen if the Webbers’ cosy little arrangement comes under threat and they are held to account for their actions?
I doubt that would be a good day to have the internal fans on in the Carrow Road offices.
*** The saga of my personalised brick on the South Stand wall is finally over and downright handsome it looks too. Thanks to Phil Gray of NCFC marketing for keeping me informed. Phil told me I could go and look at the beast in situ last week, which I duly did.
It’s so fresh that the pointing hasn’t been done yet, although I was told that a locally-based firm called McLean & Co will be on the case very soon. They are sending Norfolk’s primary expert in the art of pointing, young Kenny, along to do the job.
I guess this might be kind of appropriate to play at around 8.30 this evening.