Now where was I? Oh yes, Fernando Torres. I mentioned in last month’s column that I was fascinated by his complete loss of form, though I ran out of space in which to explain why and explore further. The reason is that I find myself identifying with his situation, albeit at a much lower and […]
There’s a good combination of steel and inventiveness in the side. We’re creating plenty of openings, and (very encouragingly) in a variety of ways; we seem to have more options available to us than we did last season. And contrary to the views of some commentators, we do have pace in our forward line; it’s just that Lambert has opted to start with it on the bench so far.
I thoroughly support his approach in buying young, hungry players, most of whom have come from the lower leagues. Signing established Premier League players would run the risk of damaging the collective spirit of the squad, and as we know, it’s that spirit which has got us where we are today.
The players appear to be absolutely nerveless; the calmness with which they coped with the pressure and atmosphere at Portman Road demonstrated that the play-offs wouldn’t have proved a problem if we’d ended up in them…
The police, having allowed this situation to develop in the first place, appeared to have no idea at all how to defuse it. We were wedged between a row of horses at the front and vans at the back and couldn’t move. In effect, we were being ‘kettled’ – something I never expected to experience…
She views my unbroken run of matches between 1991 and 2002 as my barren wilderness years, when I supposedly cut a sorry figure wandering the country from ground to ground like a poor lost soul, carrier bag in hand to stop my match programme from going soggy.
He says there are two types of bravery on a football pitch: the first and most obvious is being prepared to go in for challenges when you know there’s a fair chance you’re going to get hurt; the second is being prepared to take the ball and play it with control under pressure….
The first sign that something might be afoot came the weekend before. I was listening to 6-0-6 (a rare event these days, and likely to become even rarer if Robbie Savage is a regular on there) when a Burnley fan came on and said he’d heard Lambert had resigned…
Deck the stands with boughs of holly, Four-four-four-four-four, four-four-four-one, Ipswich fans are melancholy, Four-four-four-four-four, four-four-four-one. Those in yellow/green apparel, Four-four-four, four-four-four, four-four-one, Bent their players o’er a barrel, Four-four-four-four-four, four-four-four-one… I had thought about filling this entire column with festive ditties basking in our derby win. But it’s now a week and a half […]
Admittedly, the general level of unhappiness within football is exaggerated by the way the word ‘disappointed’ is used by people within the game to soften their opinions and escape censure from the authorities – a bit like the use of ‘allegedly’ on Have I Got News For You to cover legally contentious statements.
Perhaps the truth is that I’ve now reached the point in life where there’s more past than there is future. And the past is where much of the best stuff lies. Like playing Sunday football. My career is certainly into the pantomime phase now. (“Where’s my regular salary, boys and girls?” Audience: “Behind you!”)
‘The attendance at Portman Road is 25,000, including 2,500 visiting Norwich supporters. What percentage of the crowd is guaranteed to feel happy on the way home?’ (Answer: 10%. Even if City haven’t won, we always go away pleased that we don’t live there.)
With admittedly poor timing, we’re going on holiday on Friday; instead of walking down Rouen Road to the ground in the evening, I’m going to be in a hotel near Rouen trying to keep up with what’s going on. But the main reason for my lack of enthusiasm is that my appetite for football has been dulled (only temporarily, I hope) by the World Cup.
The magnitude of what City have achieved over the last nine months is truly extraordinary. First, there’s the simple fact that we’ve gone straight back up automatically. It happens a lot less often than you’d think – and I know, because I’ve checked.
I’m not being critical when I say that some of the performances lately have been less than scintillating. Yes, I know it sounds critical, but it really isn’t. It’s fantastic that we have acquired the rare and precious knack of conjuring up goals at just the right time; of knowing how to win however we’re playing.
If there’s a way to send it to a recycle bin and free up capacity for new information, I’d like to know what it is. And soon, because even new football facts aren’t sticking. Before last Saturday’s trip to Millwall, I had to look up who scored when we beat them at home on Boxing Day. And that really isn’t good.
Given my soft spot for hard feelings, I should really be savouring the ‘Week of Grudge’ we’ve got coming up with our games against Walsall and Colchester. But there’s something that doesn’t feel quite right about it. I think it’s because the grudges feel flimsy and ridiculous, even for me. There’s no real substance to them.
There are plenty of things I could be gloomy about, as there always are when you’re a glass-half-empty-and-by-the-way-there’s-a-chip-in-the-rim type of person. But they’re currently being outweighed by the sense of optimism inspired by City’s form and momentum.
There’s a belief in the City team that they are going to win, even when not at the top of their game. We can sense it in the stands – and you can bet that the opposition sense it…
I’ll be fine if Harry shows no interest in watching football… if he shows an interest in watching a team that doesn’t play in yellow and green, that will be a different matter.