Just when you thought this lot had exhausted every possible way to lose a game of football…
Last night they achieved what the entire Universe assumed to be impossible: conceding a goal after having limited your opponents to zero shots on target.
It’s a statistical quirk of course – Martyn Waghorn’s shot that hit the post and deflected in off Grant Hanley was officially deemed off-target – but it’s pure Norwich City.
Its ridiculousness summed up this season and this group of players perfectly. So too the result.
Not only have we struggled to overcome teams who inhabit the top six, but we’ve also now developed an irritating habit of failing to beat teams who are rooted to the foot of the table.
Wigan were bottom of the pile when we went to the DW and proceeded to stink the place out. Now Huddersfield.
Bottom of the table. No goals in four games. Off-field problems affecting performances and mood. Colin in charge. Seemingly without a prayer.
The final line of our Andy’s pre-match piece: “We really should be smashing this one“. In Freddie’s preview, he cited the Warnock factor but plumped for a 3-1 City win.
But along we come…
I suspect that in the same way Tony Mowbray clearly saw City as the perfect opponent to help his side end a run of three straight defeats, Warnock also sensed an ‘along come Norwich’ moment and fancied the Terriers’ chances of ending their’ own run of horrors.
We remain the gift that keeps on giving.
All of which appears even more incredible when you consider the almost total dominance City enjoyed for the entirety of last night’s first half. I say entirety – there was that first-minute aberration that they got away with and which we hoped would be the only one of the night.
But oh no.
The first half resembled much of Sunday’s game in that, for the most part, it was a defence versus attack training session, albeit on this occasion we did manage to create a clear-cut chance that we also managed to convert.
That should have been it. That should have settled any lingering anxiety and enabled us to play with confidence, patience, and poise, secure in the knowledge that at some point Huddersfield would have to come out and have a go and we’d have more space in which to attack.
To have ended up drawing a game from a position of such comfort was quite something.
But with the Terriers only a goal down at halftime, Warnock knew there was a chance. He’d have reminded his players at halftime what a lily-livered bunch this Norwich team can be when the tempo is upped and the crowd gets involved.
He’d also have reminded them – in his own inimitable way – that nothing can be achieved against Norwich by standing off them and admiring their pretty passing patterns.
And sure enough…
In a season that’s been mainly notable for the paucity of the football, with a few exceptions, last night’s second half has to be right up there with the worst of them.
The tactical tweaks made by Colin, together with the significant increase in intensity that he demanded, serve to nullify the threat City carried in the first half. The second was scrappy, lacking in quality, and was reduced to nothing more than a battle of attrition. An ugly one at that.
Huddersfield’s goal needs no explanation other than to say it was borne of the type of defensive mess that has become our specialty. The only thing, right now, at which we’re exceptional.
And we rarely looked capable of responding.
That we ended the night with ten men and with two more players in the treatment room merely added to what gradually revealed itself to be an unmitigated disaster.
That this team, which is inconsistency personified, has to win a minimum of six of its remaining nine games to even give itself a chance of making top six renders their cause almost hopeless.
There’s a chance of course – there’s always a chance when it’s mathematically doable – but this group’s tendency to buckle when asked serious questions and when put under even moderate levels of pressure doesn’t bode well.
There are tactical and technical limitations to this group too that will have become obvious to David Wagner as the days of disappointment have clocked up. The methodology that Wagner brings has necessitated some square pegs in round holes and will continue to be a thing until he eventually gets a squad to call his own.
And it’s not just around the edges that this squad needs refreshing. For me, the spine of this team looks jaded and bored. Just as we are with it.
Even the big, established names shouldn’t be spared this summer’s overhaul. Right now, it looks like a team that’s enjoying its football about as much as we are watching it play.
The verve, energy and high tempo that Wagner promised when he arrived has fizzled out. It was nice while it lasted but this group appears not to have it in them to produce it regularly and as second nature.
Even during last night’s first half, which (to be fair) many seemed happy with, much of the passing and movement was laboured and ordinary.
And the system doesn’t routinely enable goalscoring chances to be created. Instead, we rely on moments and flashes of quality. The end-to-end, free-flowing football of an era gone by, when five, six, or seven players would be involved in a move that led to a goalscoring chance, appears to have gone.
All of which adds up to a bit of a muddle.
With Stoke (a) to come on Saturday, they quickly need to rediscover from somewhere the mettle shown at The Den or it could be a really tough old afternoon.
Talking of muddles – and as a bit of an aside – does anyone know when we’re likely to hear who, if anyone, has taken on the ownership of the club’s new share issue?
All in all, it just feels in need of a boost from somewhere. On and off the pitch.
To think we used to be a top division side playing in Europe.
Twenty five years of Delia and we are now clinging on to mid table championship with a huge multi million pound debt.
As long as she remains in charge we are likely to sink lower rather than achieve premiership status as she simply cannot afford to fund a club at this level.
Self funding is a none too funny joke and once again at ticket renewal time we were fed the new share issue to delude us into believing new owners and hopefully fresh finance was coming.
Having renewed my season ticket news about the share issue has gone very quiet. I’m starting to once again feel that I’ve been mugged.
It is obvious Delia has a very thick skin to continue trying to persuade us she is a safe pair of hands when everything in the club appears to be heading south.
Surely the club cannot continue in this never, never state because it’s not worth turning up to watch.
“The methodology that Wagner brings has necessitated some square pegs in round holes and will continue to be a thing until he eventually gets a squad to call his own.”
This has always confused me. Having a Sporting Director is supposed to allow us to nearly seamlessly change our coach due to Norwich having a consistent style. Yet here we are with square pegs in round holes. A lot of square pegs, I’d add.
This team’s inability to consistently deliver reminds me of the last days of Alex Neil. The club’s finances remind me of the last days of Alex Neil’s reign. Having a squad unfit for our supposed style of play and requiring a complete rebuild reminds me of Alex Neil’s reign too.
Which makes me wonder how far we’ve really come since Alex Neil left this club?
We don’t have a Sporting Director……we are blessed(??) with a Stuart Webber!!
As much as I like Wagner, he was a breath of fresh air after the odious servings Smudger served up, but last night wasn'[t much better. He reminds me of Farke in that there is no plan B, except chuck everyone on at the end in the faint hope of something will change. But they are now conditioned to play the same way. expect different, but get the same
There needs to be something done, to make us cope with a team that presses us, getting in our faces and denying space and time. It took premiership managers all of 2-3 minutes to work us out, while those in charge of a championship side, were perhaps a little slower on the pickup. Mowbray had it worked out, Colin did in the second half, had we been at the races, we could/should have been out of sight by the time he changed things to his advantage.
Silk purses are not made from sow’s ears, no matter of the type of crafter you are.. A Middlesbrough fan I know said that Gibson could play from the back, even marauding forward, until someone invented the press, then he became lost and prone to mistakes. That covers a lot of the squad.
People keep saying a summer rebuild is needed, which I am sure we can all agree with, but the amount of debt that has been spent, on dross. Where is the money coming from? Aarons is still here, how many windows have we sat back waiting to say bye-bye to Max ? He is not as clearly fancied as much as we like to think. The latest is Sara, good god, he has not been here a season and £25-30 million fees are being touted. But what is the point of trying to build a side when the best are sold on ? Nothing will ever be achieved to establish the club in the premiership while this constantly happens. Fans being robbed again of seeing a half-decent attempt
It again falls back on the mismanagement of funds on below-average players, yea there has been the odd jewel found, but what good has it done? Other clubs benefit while the money has been pizzed up the wall on another bunch. And so the circle goes on and on with the same mistakes and the same results. Freud called this the repetition compulsion
David (above) asks how far we have come since Alex Neil’s reign, we will see on Saturday, They are going very well, hammered Sunderland, who next beat us. I am fearful of the result come 4-50 Saturday evening.
To play this style of football you must have players who can and are comfortable playing that way, they cost money, but we aren’t Manchester City in any way shape or form.
Play to the way most of these players know how to play for the rest of this dismal season, then pray for a miracle of money coming from somewhere. I don’t expect our American connection to bring the almost instant change we need. That will only come via a very rich takeover of the whole, not dribs and drabs
I remember Roy Keane saying playing out from the back is fine but you need better players than Norwich have.
Well sad to see Robert Chase died as much as we wanted him out all that vent up anger amongst us ,looking back he produced some of the best football and players this club has seen for a long time happy memories in hindsight R.i.p Robert .
About as much as I can be bothered to write atm such is my enthusiasm for the direness that is a half of what we once were !
So Delia take a look back what have you bought to this club in consideration .
Don Harold says
I agree with your point that the team looks jaded and bored. I think it won’t be long until we’re on the wrong end of a hiding.
saturday they put 5 past sunderland and we could n’t
Alex Bain says
An excellent read as usual and a couple of good responses.
Magic Mike said on another article that another manager might get better from these players so is he advocating Wilder, Warnock or the return of Smith ?
My big question is why are we continually using McLean as a DM when he is up to it and why was he offered a new deal, I suspected it was to get a fee if Rangers came calling.
I’m no coach and wouldn’t pretend to be but planning for next season needs to start in earnest ie Gibbs and Sorensen the shield for defence then work forward Sara, Nunez, Tzolis, Sargent all get prolonged runs.
With the uncertainty of Aaron’s and possibly Gunn if offers come in then we need replacements, Krul, Gibson, Hernandez, Dowell and Byram all out of contract.
Mumba, Tomkinson Dickson-Peters will be back but the later is out of contract and getting no game time at Grimsby.
Webber has a mess of his own making and can he dig himself and the club out of it I’m not so sure.
Delia has had 26years to build a successful club but it the only thing that’s kept her celeb status alive and her self funding has made city the poor relations of this league.
Share issue seems to be a false dawn raising hopes or as my mum would say all fur coat and no knickers
From everything I’ve read and the (very) brief highlights I’ve seen, all I can say is that I’m so glad I didn’t waste a tenner on Canaries TV (or whatever it’s called).
Think of how much money this club have wasted since they sacked Farke….and are we truly any better off?
O T B C
Melancholy – a feeling of sadness which lasts for a long time and which strongly affects your behaviour and attitudes.
Tim Ball says
Isn’t it strange Gary that whoever the Coach is we are just so unpredictable?
But we are predictable ……by being unpredictable. How the same team can hit 4 at Preston and Coventry, beat Millwall at their place after months of them being unbeaten and draw at Sheffield United ( but should have won) and then are so rubbish at Wigan, Huddersfield et all is typical ACN.
Here’s a question, under Wagner and even Smith the team have gone through decent runs and then when it becomes the time to kick on they mess it up time and time again this season.
There is a lot of talk of the spine of out team becoming tired and jaded. Perhaps there is some truth in that. Personally I still think two seasons of abject failure in the EPL does affect these players.
I think the spine will be broken up next season. Teemu I think will definitely leave as will Tim Krull.
Kenny McClean could still be a regular, perhaps not. Only DW knows.
Grant Hanley I feel still has a season or two at Championship level and Ben Gibson needs to find his form of 2 years ago to have any chance of being a regular.
Back to the inconsistency, after their experience of the Premier League and the fear of it, even maybe subconsciously, does this leave these players without the fight and desire to go back there ?
Looks like the new shares have been bought by a Mrs Di Alethism.
Sounds welsh to me, like Wynn Jones.
A truly disastrous performance e and result.
The red button games are usually short on atmosphere as the effects mics are in short supply but throughout the piece a cacophony of noise emanated from the only populated area of the ground. In spite of this support the team totally failed to respond.
Of course there has been a lot of discussion regarding the lack of atmosphere and vocal backing at carrow Road and the remaining games are likely to be played out in a funereal state.
The lack of engagement and enthusiasm are as a direct result of the growing realisation that there isn’t any satisfactory outcome unde the clubs current guise. Promotion would likely mean another fire sale of our best asset before a ball is kicked followed by regular ritual humiliation before a scornful national audience. Failure would mean a fire sale of all saleable assets and a struggle to keep our heads above the bottom.feeders in the championship.
This farce has run its course and if Mr Attanasio doesn’t soon piss he should get off the pot and allow tge other suitors mentioned when this news broke all those months ago to have a crack.
The most important game Norwich City will be embroiled in during this seasons run in is the one being played out in the boardroom and the only good result will be a change of ownership and direction.
Webber is the person most to blame for this shambles.He got lucky with Pukki,Buendia and to a lesser extent Krul.The squad is no better now than it was before the mountain climber arrived,and where are all these young up and coming players he bought?Only Gibbs has broken into the first team,we have no players now worth much over £10 million so where are the funds coming from for squad rebuilding?At least we could have the old farm derby to look forward to next season,lol.
I don’t like the vitriol aimed at Delia. She has done what was possible with what she feels she can give the club. We have not been bought by some horrid, money laundering/Amnesty International provoking individual/hedge fund/sovereign nation. The Club has at times really felt like ours. Attanasio looks like the right fit and, if this comes to pass, Delia should be thanked. Agree with Alex Bain where the selectors should focus their attention and who we should let go. Colney is the conveyor belt so let’s get them in. Goodbye and thank you to all the out of contracts, it was fun, at times, whilst it lasted. I will, in time, think of you fondly I hope but I won’t miss the last 2 seasons filth that has been served up. Sorensen is my pick for new leadership, Gibbs and Big Andy his deputies. And, please, make it fun again.
Really ! The woman is an absolute —————————————————– needless to say my thoughts about her are not printable !
I agree with brian, people keep harping on aboiut she saved the club, which is bull, Sir Geoffrey Watling saved the club by buying Chase out, then made the mistake of selling to her and her husband. . , Geoffrey Watling bought Chase’s majority shareholding in 1996 later selling the shareholding to the club’s current owners, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones.
They have kept the club going is about all I can give credit for. the amount of promotion, parachute money has passed through the coffers is one heck of a lot.
Yet here we are again with more debt now then when McNally & Bowkett, restructured the club. in what turned out to prevent plugs being pulled on the Canaries’ solvency.. But it was also key to loans and terms being renegotiated so that come 2013, the Canaries could declare themselves debt-free. The club and supporters face another brink of financial armageddon.
Interesting take. I appreciate the candour and can see the passion. Not sure Delia has ever really made footballing decisions but has tried to get the right people in and around her to keep the club competitive and solvent. In an age of insolvency and billionaire ——————— needless to say I can’t print this, we have a level of integrity other clubs have been missing for more than a generation.
Let’s see where all this “integrity ” gets us when thw 60 million hole in the finances bites us on the arse this summer.
Mike Corbs says
Good away point, if you can’t stomach the vissitudes of football you’re best out of it
Gary Gowers says
A *good* away point? Against the side that was bottom and hadn’t scored for four games?
Either you’re winding us up or our standards and expectations have plummeted further way further than any of us had realised.
Not sure David Wagner saw it as a good away point.
On reflection, methinks this is a wind up.