Stew recently posed the question about what we as City fans should expect and aspire to. The general consensus seemed to be becoming an established mid-table premier league side. It was even the ‘holy grail’ and final outcome in David McNally’s much quoted seven year plan.
The stadium has changed significantly since my first match perched upon a milk crate on the terraces of the River End. My seat in the Upper Barclay from which I’ve watched us play for the last 15 years didn’t even exist back then.
City have now conceded more than any other team. Twenty in just nine. Much has been made of our inability to defend set-pieces but in the last two matches we’ve repeatedly been exposed to pacey counter-attacks and as we’re all aware there are sterner tests around the corner.
Andy Hughes earned himself the nickname ‘Andy Clap’. His energetic displays demonstrated that he had a ‘good engine’. It was just a shame that the engine was housed in the equivalent of a clapped-out Austin Allegro.
In the Premier League you expect to come up against a decent keeper each week and Butland is surely destined to pick up a stack of England caps. However when a keeper pulls off five or six ‘worldies’ you have the right to feel aggrieved.
The feeling is that Rodgers has lost his way and no longer has a clear plan and approach. It is perhaps reflective of a man under pressure who is desperately searching for the answer and becoming more confused as a result.
Darnbrough was previously at Burnley where he made headlines by sending an email to various agents asking if they had any players. Logical? Or a desperate measure from someone struggling to identify targets through the usual means?
The departures of Michael Turner, Carlos Cuellar and Ignasi Miquel mean we have a ‘situation vacant’ at centre-half. The Southampton result will have left many fans hoping for a big money signing to shore up a defence that has yet to keep a clean sheet.
What I love about Fash’s goal is not the touch and turn or even the way the ball loops over Ray Clemence. It’s the celebration, or lack of. Despite the goal bringing the sides level at 3-3, he has a swagger and nonchalance that suggests it’s no big deal and that he could pull one that off whenever he wanted.
A Palace fan site recently published a letter it had sent to David McNally. It was an eloquent and impassioned plea for City to make a ‘principled stand’ by reducing away ticket prices for our opening match. It suggested that the £45 fee is both ‘unreasonable and ill-judged’.
It may just be someone commenting on the latest piece of tabloid rumour. Or possibly someone suggesting a transfer target based on hours of playing Football manager and a resulting knowledge of the highest rated free-agents across the European leagues.
Holty became a talisman and alongside Wes Hoolahan and Russell Martin, provided the club with consistency and identity. The overhaul of playing staff that took place under Lambert was significant but it always felt like a gradual evolution with Holty as the figurehead.
My instinct tells me that despite socio-economic data (whatever that is) and the fact that we sold our allocation at Wembley, our current capacity is and will remain just about right for us.
Our recent stint in the top flight showed that as the Premier League riches have grown, so has the accompanying circus of statistics and analysis. I still recall the sleepless nights I had, fretting over why we were the only team yet to score from open-play in the first 20 minutes of an away match.
Even allowing for post-Wembley euphoria, there is a genuine feel-good factor at Norwich City. In over 30 years, I have seldom seen the club so aligned from top to bottom. From the owners, through the playing staff to the supporters, there is a genuine resolve and shared belief. It’s a wonderfully rare thing.
Tony Andreu was signed by Alex Neil from Accies and was the SPL top scorer at the time. He was, on paper at least, ideally placed to spearhead the promotion push but the player struggled to cope with the demands of the Championship and Alex quickly realised there were better, more equipped options available.