Tonight Alex Neil fielded a completely new XI from the side that dug a derby point out of Suffolk on Sunday – and they delivered a result that suggests there is more by way of hunger than hangover left on the playing fields of Colney…
More importantly, he gives a side a focal point. Something strappy and stroppy to punt at in true Championship-style. As importantly, he must already live relatively local; his Mrs probably shops in Norwich…
“We hit the woodwork a few times and if our passing in the final third had been a bit slicker we could have created a few more chances,” Neil told the club’s official website.
“We need to bring in a striker to give Cameron [Jerome] a hand,” said the City chief afterwards, speaking to Canaries TV. “That’s not news to anybody, we just need to try and get that work done as quickly as we can…
Those that travel to Ewood Park on a Saturday in August will not be the first to grumble. They might be the reverse – they might be the last to grumble if events don’t go quite to the Neil plan…
What intrigues me is what flashed through Josh’s mind the moment his bro let fly. Or, indeed, the moment when Alex Neil pinned the team-sheet to the door of the changing room. And it wasn’t the J Murphy he had hoped for.
David McNally’s rise to fame and considerable fortune came on the back of a spell as Commercial Director at Celtic. Where, one presumes, his awareness of Paul Lambert started. Celtic Park and Glasgow’s tribal divides is a School of Hard Knocks.
Going forward, of course, in my little world if you deliver free and ubiquitous wifi across a city such as Norwich, not only could Phoebe have pushed out a pic off her mobile, better still she could have broadcast a live, video update.
Get a ‘Message’ from the Coach & Horses that they have got an offer on – as you read a match preview en route to the ground on a new and free MFW mobile app. Or an offer from the East of England Co-Op as you read the same preview pulling into Thorpe Station.
You can meet various politicians – of every hue – and be struck by just how shallow and simple they are; that their sole purpose around the Cabinet table was to be the court jester – the one that was always good for a whoppee cushion moment.
For 40,000 City supporters, it is a day that they can now treasure for the rest of their lives. Not just for the eventual outcome, but for the whole manner in which it was achieved. They walked it.
“To do it all in front if the fans…. Just look at them. It’s just been an incredible season for me – and now this,” he added.
Wembley and 39,000 of your kith and kin make sure that it will be a one-off occasion like no other for a generation of Norwich City supporters. For whom a trip to Wembley is a dream come true. Far more so than it will be for, say, an Arsenal supporter making another return visit for yet another FA Cup final appearance.
His substitutions invariably appear well-reasoned and timely; equally, they tend more towards the positive than the negative. This is a man and a manager that would rather be hung for a sheep than for a lamb – an attitude that will win him many a fan amongst the Canary faithful.
“So it was a case of ‘Calm down! The game is going to slow down, open up and that’s where our quality players will make a difference – and that’s ultimately what proved to be the case.”
“I just thought that Jonny’s penetrating runs could be bit of a highlight for us in the game – and it was when he got his goal. It worked up until that point.”
It is an occasion made for a fierce combatant of Neil’s ilk. In him Norfolk will place their trust – in itself an extraordinary compliment to a man few had ever heard of four, short months ago.
Now the 33-year-old has an opportunity to carve himself out a lasting place in derby folklore.
Should the video replays confirm that he had, indeed, thrown a sneaky punch in the midst of a tangle with a Millers’ defender, he would be well advised to stick a cushion down his trousers on Monday morning as Neil prepares to deal with matters ‘interally’.
A three-match ban for Grabban might just be the least of Neil’s concerns as his best-laid plans for a £150 million ticket to the Premiership promised land threatened to unravel in front of him in unbelievable fashion over the course of two, crucial contests.
Why the kid is there putting pen to paper on a ‘long term’ contract. Aged 15? The interest was sparked by the story of Patrick Bamford. As in the 19-goal England Under-21 striker short-listed as the SkyBet Championship Player of the Season who rocked up in Norfolk on Friday night with Middlesbrough.