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  1. 37 points
    I arrived fairly early tonight and my old friend Roger Smith had already bagged a couple of seats in a nice position. Before proceedings began I had a nice chat with respected Pinkun poster Myra Hawtree, one of the very few who have been supporting this club longer than me. The surprise of the night was to see Mark Attanasio walk in with Delia, something I don't think any of us expected. We kicked off with the now customary slick video, nice but I don't know what it really adds. Then quickly got on with the formal business where all resolutions passed on a show of hands. Tom Smith was chairing tonight and I thought he did it in a very professional manner and later on handled a few slightly difficult moments quite well. On to the Q and A where the first question was obviously the rift between the club and the local media. Zoe explained how the arrangement worked in the past and how in her opinion the press had made unwarranted personal attacks on members of staff. The comparison of Dean Smith to rotting mushrooms was mentioned. There was a plea from the floor to the effect that the relationship needed to be healed which received affirmative applause. There was criticism of Stuart Webbers recruitment and the man himself had the courage to stand up and admit mistakes were his responsibility. He also explained the difficulty of recruiting established Premier players when we had to include a 60% wage reduction if we were relegated. I expect we all wished it were different but wishing won't make it so. The club are looking in to complaints about the new floodlights but the lumination is now controlled by what the broadcasters wanted rather than what suits spectators. However they hoped to make some changes. For those who want the ticket office to reopen for face to face purchases, hard luck, its not going to happen. Tom Smith explained that an expletitive email had been submitted by an unnamed person re the flying of the Pride flag. He rightly stated that the club were totally committed to equality and this again was received with affirmative applause. A question was then asked of Mark Attanasio. There were thanks for his 10 million quid but reservations re the conditions which could see him getting his money back with interest if things didn't go as planned. I was quite impressed with his fullsome relpy and his statement that he was not here to take advantage of the club and supporters. Only time will tell us how this works out. There were questions on fan engagement, betting companies as sponsors, season ticket prices etc and my friend Roger Smith asked the same question he did 20 years ago when we were all hoping for stadium enlargement. Apparantly there is still nothing concrete but the same firm of architects that did Liverpools enlargement are reporting on the feasibility of building over the top of the present main stand. I still expect that I will be long dead before this comes to pass. Stuart Webber said a few words about his close relationship with Daniel Farke and explained why he felt we needed to go in a different direction. The intimation was that being pretty wasn't enough and that we would see a tougher approach from now on from the manager and players. Questions were asked as to why Dean Smith was not in attendance and Zoe had to be corrected that this was not normal practice. To my recollection the manager has always been there to field football related questions, certainly since AGM's have been held in the Norfolk Lounge. Finally there was another plea for peace with the local press from another old guy who used to read the EDP in the outside bog with a candle. Thats about all I can remember.
  2. 37 points
    Parma’s State of the Nation Farke brought us a precise, carefully-constructed philosophy, using intelligent positional play, Dortmund-esque fan engagement, attractive sporting entertainment, though clear top level failure. Webber - it must be assumed - also implemented this very particular methodology throughout the youth ages. Planning purchases based on that particular style (Or?). Delia - though passionate, loyal and committed - has no ‘football money’, so the self-sustaining model is a top down necessity, as shown by the £5m fan Bond to build the training ground (via the Tifosys finance model). Promotion to premier duly puts Webber in a difficult position: Do we accept the glass ceiling of our model or blame Farke? The external questions were clear: Were the new players good enough for now? Were they investment purchases to appreciate at some future date? The idea - surely - is that as you develop, the risk on buying youth is less, as you pay more, you buy experienced youth playing at higher levels already. Vid Tzolis, Sargent. You try to get a weapon. Vid Rashica (really?). The ‘Pissed up window wall’ window had Klose (longevity, good quality, value), Pinto (longevity, fair quality, value), Naismith (expensive here-and-now investment, Sat on contract, nightmare -£15m), Maddison +£18m, Godfrey +£20m), so an overall window balance of say +£20m? Did we do better than this under the new model? The top level is where we are judged, where our aims are focused as per our attractively-presented 2022 Report. Trotsdem , top level failure occurred despite implanting an excellent, attractive, coherent playing philosophy. Record points totals had been achieved, there was a clear identity, followed by a high spend on new players. The Sporting Director had had plenty of preparation time and a free operational hand. Including with the limited ring-fenced chequebook. Farke (despite recently-signed 4 year contract) was summarily replaced by Smith, who was suddenly available, opportunistically persuaded, so not pre-planned. Both parties fell into each others’ arms via timing. Webber - I think just about understandably - just could not accept that our structural ceiling (financial-operational-sporting) had been reached, plus the further implication that his big investment signings were not successful. He just couldn’t (be seen) to accept either at that point. However history shows that within the parameters of owner finance this was-is as good as we can expect (particularly after first Premier season failure, which was ‘taking the money, to come back stronger next time’) Thus the glass Norwich ceiling was concretised. No further dreaming was possible. Everything that could have been done, was done. Mistakes were perhaps the inevitable product of imperfect financial and sporting compromises. QED Attanasio? Or an acceleration-expansion of his involvement? Nevertheless Sportingly Smith replacing Farke looks like correcting yesterday’s mistakes. Thus everything is a step behind where it should be. Smith immediately tried to solidify an exposed defence, the over-committed midfielders (particularly out of possession). A desire to counter-press effectively, stay-in-shape, not be so vulnerable on transition. The flaw with this approach - which has been endorsed also by the Sporting Director whose *new* vision now also ‘aligns’ - is that the Premier League and the Championship are fundamentally, dramatically, operationally so different from each other. And for very good reason. At the top level you are one of the worst, so you have to defend a lot, so you come under lots of pressure and you lose a lot. So you must be pretty good at defending or have awkward weapons that others have to adjust for. In the second tier you are not punished much for your mistakes (relatively), you don’t need to set up to defend, lots of teams are hard-working but lack quality. And no one has any weapons (really). So you don’t need to defend so much or so well. Farke also knew the above perfectly well. What he did was no accident. As Guardiola has repeatedly stated (including in writing if you read his books), positional play is actually a defensive tool. If you keep possession and ‘do nothing with it’, no one else has it either do they? Passing it backwards and sideways for 90 minutes is a bloody good idea against most top level teams (nil-nil is better than you will do in about 25 games). Of course upon demotion, very few teams can live with positional play. It takes high intelligence and it requires a level of coordinated press and defensive shape to combat, that few teams in the championship have enough players of sufficient intelligence to achieve. So we now have a a pragmatic mercenary journeyman manager that might suit a top level team destined to defend every week and be attritional, with a structure that is hard to break down and shouldn’t get hammered every week (I appreciate that we are not seeing this, though it is-was the intention I believe). The problem is that we are solving yesterday’s problems again. We don’t need to ask the players - say Cantwell - to counter press like marines. You need this at the top level. There are limits to professional footballers (at our level). They cannot chase defensive shape chickens like Gary Holt, then magically make through passes like Buendia a second later. The very, very best can do this (sometimes). We cannot buy them. So we end up neither fish, nor fowl. The irony is that many accused Farke of doing something that needed top level players only. He proved many of you wrong. With coaching, teaching, studying of positional play principles, it spread through the club. It became second nature to many. I would suggest that what Smith is asking for is more geared towards top level players only. Be a machine out of possession, switch to Litmanen cool upon turnover. We’d all love to think we can do that, though try sprinting flat out for 200 metres, then beating the computer at Chess. It’s not really how the brain and body typically operates. Hence we often look disjointed, erratic and play in fits-and-starts. Farke chose a certain compromise. Smith is trying to pretend that no such compromises are necessary. That we can have all things. Furthermore both he and a Webber appear to think that we need ‘to be prepared for the Premier’ in the way we play now. In our current circumstances. I think that this is fundamentally flawed. We need to jump the Championship hurdle - whereby you can attack teams, be expansive and overwhelm opposition if you have Pukki and players who can score regularly - first. This methodology is then proved (within our parameters) not to come close to working at the top level. At which point you need different tactics, a far more mechanical, low-risk, high running, high physicality, couple of expensive and strategically-protected weapons (which is where you spend all your available money). However there is even a further flaw. None of our players would be good enough for the top level anyway (except Pukki who’ll leave shortly anyway). We couldn’t invest enough to buy what we’d need to reframe the squad make up and approach anyway (which would also require a coaching-sporting pivot). So we return to our nexus points. Our sale of Buendia, our sacking of Farke, our huge relative investments strategically in Rashica-Tzolis-Sargent. Our style pivot to a prosaic Smith-headed philosophy - even in the second tier (and is it now through the age groups? Does-can anyone teach positional play anymore?) As fans what do we have? Identity no. Entertainment not really. Continuity not obviously. Clarity of corporate future not yet. Dreams of top level success extinguished. Unique Fan led club no longer. Money no. Investment purchases unnrealised and seemingly mostly unrealisable. Large swathes of too-good-for-Championship yesterday’s men out of contract. A huge pivot on unproven new players that have not obviously improved anything. A much smaller, cheaper squad by necessity-design. We are chasing a chimera. Even success is just expensive and embarrassing. Though in its stead we are drifting into that awful, anonymous, disinterested purgatory of mid-table second tier quicksand. The ‘camels coming down Carrow Road’ were previously dismissed, now the Cowboys are embraced. Despite the planning, sporting strategy and legions of forecasters, it all starts to look a little ‘events dear boy, events’. Parma
  3. 32 points
    Can I just put out there how good Sorensen was today. This fella has been dropped into the team when we have been in dire need and has never let us down. Today he looked like he'd been playing there all season.Can't praise him enough and deserves a decent run of games I reckon.
  4. 31 points
    I think above all, he has earned the move. No moaning, threats to down tools, demands to leave like Todd and Buendia - he's consistently given his all to this club. If this is his last season in yellow and green, he should be applauded out the door by all fans of this club.
  5. 29 points
    There are a lot of threads of minimal substance calling for Smith to go, but very little in the way of reasoning and analysis to support the view. That's disappointing given the wealth of evidence we have to backup the assertion that he simply isn't getting enough out of the players. For me there is a fundamental point which highlights the failure of Dean Smith's tenure. The overriding narrative of his appointment has been that he is supposed to be making us better equipped for Premier League survival. Indeed, the criticism of Farke was that he couldn't get results in the top flight. These fixtures against the better teams in the Championship are the perfect yardstick with which to measure our progress. Your Watfords, Burnleys and Sheffield Utds represent the easiest of Premier League opposition. If we did (somehow) go up then these are the teams we'll need to beat to survive. Yet here we are. Barely able to get a foot on the ball. Backs against the wall, hoofing it clear over and over again. There's been no tangible progress. Just a dogmatic adherence to the flawed 4-3-3 despite its obvious shortcomings. Repeatedly trying the same thing and getting the same results. So what has Smith brought to the club? How have we progressed? I see occasional glimmers of what the plan might be, but then I see huge holes on our flanks with runners unmarked as they arrive in our box, time and time again. Is the hope really to just pump the ball forwards and hope that Pukki can make something happen? Just 18 months ago we were playing the best football I've ever seen from Norwich. It was beautiful to watch. Now we're a shadow of that team. Worst of all, Burnley are showing us exactly how it should be done. Passing, movement, intensity, perseverance. Things we only see in brief spells. And two of our best players in Pukki and Cantwell are out of contract in the summer. This is very much the end of an era. Sacking Farke looks worse by the week. And before you trott out that line about the same people calling for Farke's sacking now wanting him back... No, that's b@llocks. Lots of us - those with a sense of perspective - never wanted him to go. And we were bloody right!
  6. 27 points
    Hope he gets the credit he deserves. Energy, fight and great passing. Totally changed the game.
  7. 27 points
  8. 25 points
    I nearly didn't make it today having strained a muscle during the week but I had a little practice on the bike and in the end decided to give it a go. Conditions were perfect for a decent game with hardly a breath of wind and with the visitors struggling for form I had the feeling it might be worth the effort. With Kenny on the sick list it was good to see Sorensen given a run out and with Sargent and Idah starting there was at least the prospect of some physical support fot Pukki. The opening minutes were quite encouraging with City having some good possession but it was mostly midfield stuff until PLM finally tested Pickford with a low shot that was comfortably saved. Gray was giving Aarons a problem down the Everton left but Krul had his angles covered when the shot came in from a narrow angle. There was plenty of strong running from Sargent and Idah and just after the quarter hour it paid off with City doing something they have found very difficult this season by taking the lead. Rashica carried the ball across the centre of the pitch and after interplay between Aarons and Sargent it was the latter who whipped a low cross in from the right that came off Keane and left Pickford stranded. I was almost tempted to take advantage of the stoppage to nip out for a wee but I'm glad I didn't because virtually from the restart Williams intercepted a through ball and set off into empty space down the City left. With defenders converging on him he played a superb low pass into the area for Idah to latch onto and poke the ball past the advancing Everton keeper for two nil. Eight goals in half a season then two in a minute, it was pandemonium at our end as the ball hit the back of the net. I was now thinking we needed to hold this until halftime and despite quite a bit of Everton pressure with corners and free kicks they managed the rest of the half with a certain degree of comfort as Tim Krul was rarely stretched into anything out of the ordinary. It was nice to have a halftime not filled with doom and gloom but although the visitors had rarely threatened, the City midfield had covered a lot of ground and expended a lot of energy in keeping things tight. I expected them to come at us as the second half began but it was the home side that almost struck another early blow. Idah earned a corner and when the ball was headed clear it fell nicely for PLM to volley from twenty yards. Unfortunately it was straight down the keepers throat. A minute later a poor everton back pass left Idah with only Pickford to beat but to the England keepers credit he was off his line like lightening and the chance came to nothing. The visitors were now having the bulk of possession and when Richarlison came on for Rondon on 55 minutes it added a touch of class and they began to look much more dangerous. On the hour a corner was headed clear but City couldn't complete the clearance and Richarlisons overhead kick gave Tim no chance. It was a different ball game now and it took a while for the crowd to whip up the noise and drive the boys on again. With lots of defending to do and some great blocks and tackles going in it was no surprise when first Williams and then Aarons had to limp off with what looked like leg injurues,. Thankfully both Byram and Giannoulis were able replacements as City fought hard to hold on to the lead as the minutes ticked away. Hanley was a rock in the middle as Everton banged the ball up to Richarlison and although many were now running on empty the City defence still managed to prevent the visitors from gaining a clear opening. There was an audible groan when seven minutes added time was signalled and I seemed to be checking my watch every fifteen seconds. There was some good running the ball into the corners from Idah and Pukki and the usual amount of Tim ****housery that did its job in winding up the visitors but in the final seconds it was City who had the big chance. Rashica broke clear on the halfway line and made tracks goalward. Teemu, whose legs had gone struggled to give an option down the middle but it was the winger who nearly went all the way as his low shot flicked off the outside of the post and out of play with Pickford beaten. Thankfully Andy Madely had seen enough and took mercy on those with weak tickers as the final whistle was greeted with rapture and relief. In many ways they might not be good enough but they fought until they dropped today and nobody can ask for more than that. Adam Idah my MOM, good goal, never stopped running and gave the front line a measure of physicality that has so often been missing this term. To be honest every man a hero today in a game that was on a knife edge. If you didn't get your moneys worth today you are never going to be satisfied. I shall be enjoying a small dram tonight.
  9. 23 points
    You've got laugh at the pure ego of Norwich City Fans. One of the top clubs in the country, nay, in Europe, is interested in our Sporting Director and it doesn't create even a slight amount of self-reflection in considering that maybe Webber is actually highly respected and good at his job.
  10. 23 points
    This just shows that posters should be careful what they wish for.
  11. 23 points
    Nice to see him pictured alongside his successful signings from last summer.
  12. 22 points
    Have been digging around online to draw some comparatives with the prior two championship campaigns to hopefully spark some discussion – not just with how things are stacking up statistically, I understand this is not everyone’s cup of tea (nods to Dean Smith), but also to try to understand the current, pretty muted, mood of the fanbase. So here we go, I haven't covered everything I want to so might add some other bits to this later: Average position of teams faced (below) – our easy start has been noted across the board and a look to the prior 2 championship seasons does back this up – with the average position of teams faced (based on current standings) being 16th. On comparison, 2020/21 represented a marginally more challenging start with an average position of 14th, albeit still on the favourable side, and 2018/19 more challenging still but remaining pretty middle-of-the-road overall. Notably a difficult opening 5 games, and overall more teams being played from the top (5) and bottom third (6) as opposed to the middle third (1). This certainly does bring the importance of October more into light, as we are naturally beginning to play a larger portion of sides in and around us. Percentage of player gametime lost – i.e. of the players who played the previous year in the league over 90 minutes, how many did we lose and to what extent were their minutes lost in the teams overall playing minutes? This one is really surprising to me. On the surface it felt like, with only 4 senior signings made and no players unwilfully pinched from premier league clubs last year, that we had retained most of the squad. But we have actually lost a significant chunk of it - the 4 loanees, Rupp, PLM, Rashica, Tzolis and Placheta all out on loan. At the other end we’ve brought Cantwell back from the cold, Sinani, Hugill, Hernandez have all returned from loan spells. Byram and Omobamidele back from long-term injury layoffs. Gibbs has also broken into the side. As a result the player turnover at the club is much higher than what it ‘feels like’. Particularly on comparison to 2020/21 where we only lost a very small percentage of playing time from the prior season. Whilst none of these changes were done against the club’s will, there is surely a degree of patience which should be afforded to Smith through a period of many changes. This is another aspect which makes 2018/19 such a special season, we lost 14 'playing' individuals from the prior season, including Maddison, Oliveira, Josh Murphy, Angus Gunn, Harrison Reed, Hoolahan, amongst others. We replaced them with cheap overseas players, spending little and massively cutting down the wage bill. There was nothing to get excited about from this, nor from the prior season's performance under Farke, yet the team delivered the most memorable and chaotic campaign I have ever seen despite expectations being at a serious low! I haven't considered injuries in the above, and might come back to this, but my impression is that the notable holes in Smith's central midfield and at left back have been much more significant on the team than any pains we were suffering early on in 18/19 and 20/21. Albeit we were fielding Sorensen at left back from the Brentford away game in 2020/21 - and worse injuries came in the following month or so to extent we could barely field 11 senior players! So yes whilst the start has been favourable, player turnover has been high and we are suffering through multiple injuries to vital areas on the pitch, despite this we’re matching 2020/21 for points accumulated and surpassing 2018/19, with more goals scored to boot and only less conceded in 2020/21. With key players to come back into the fray we look like an excellent shout to finish in the automatic places this season. So why is everyone so miserable? Clearly, none of the above statistics can illustrate the ‘eye-test’ in how our undeniably strong numbers have accumulated this season; this is where Smith seems to be failing for many. It seems unlikely right now that anything under Smith this season will ever surpass peak Farkeball, but a more emotionless look at the results above under Farke at this stage does show there may be an overreaction to what we have seen so far. Don’t think about the euphoria and/or chaos of Huddersfield at home, Leeds away, Sheffield Wednesday at home, Forest at home - but look at the games below. How strong and 'entertaining' were these performances? Of course this is all subjective, but the only games that stick out as particularly memorable across both season openings – in a good way - under Farke were the Bristol City away game in 20/21, and Stoke away up until Buendia’s unfortunate red card. I can however recall plenty of pretty mediocre performances with even winning matches being shaky and arguably 'lucky'. Points earned with penalties (Rotherham, Middlesbrough), fortunate goals (McLean’s deflected goal at Brentford, Huddersfield away), or late winners coming after stuttering performances (Wycombe, Rotherham, Birmingham, Swansea). In narrow winning positions we also had a tendency to gift the opposition a superb chance in the final 5/10 minutes – but rarely got punished – I previously criticised Farke for not making subs early enough in these matches and causing a loss of initiative. Overall, it felt like we were still in first or second gear. Sounding familiar at all? Just to caveat that I understand this summary is negative, but I want to try and root out some of the criticisms which were being made of the team at the time – versus the team today – as there are some similarities. I’m sure this will be backed up with a look at some old match threads and may do this later, though I certainly don’t feel like the descent was as bad as it is now. It’s a shame fans were not allowed at Carrow Road either as I wonder what the atmosphere would’ve been like through these matches – again I would wager probably not as quiet as it is today. In 2018/19 after a mixed start with some brave performances against the top sides, the Preston and Middlesbrough games fuelled a turning point, it felt like the side matured somewhat around then – I’d say pretty comparable to the Millwall home game of this season; strong, controlled, comfortable – but more satisfying because of where the team had just came from. To be honest, 2018/19 does get a bit of a free pass as there were so many factors working against us that it feels unfair to directly compare performance levels to justify any subpar elements to this season (massive loss of players, reduced wage bill, new players brought in for a pittance, a harder run of fixtures), we were a side in massive transition from top to bottom! I personally think our problems in the fanbase run a little deeper than just ‘Smith’s football is boring’, ‘there’s no plan on the pitch’, etc, this is about the overall direction of the club, the compounding depression of the prior two premier league seasons, the loss of Farke who oversaw our most exciting period of the century, the fall out with Webber at the end of last season, the loss of faith in ever being successful in the PL under the current ownership, and everything in between. Expectation in the championship is higher than ever with fans wanting perfection. It is understandable to a degree, of course expectations evolve over time and we have gone from a side in complete transition on a shoestring budget in 18/19 to a team brimming with quality, strength in depth, and financial strength (for the championship). The increase in expectation is also compounded by last season. Webber has always talked of incremental improvement and building better for long term stability, but clearly unravelled somewhat after last season which was supposed to be our true arrival to the top league, the only way he will regain his reputation if we can somehow surpass 2020/21 and go back up stronger. But I don’t think we will surpass 2020/21 and it is difficult to understand how we can do better in the PL with so much reputational damage, mental scarring in our failed team of PL players and fans, and our general lack of financial competitiveness. Last season was an existential crisis for many and fans are still coming to terms with it all. I think all of this is the real drive behind the quietness of Carrow Road, the miserable-tone of many on the board and that level of ‘so-so’ feeling for many others. I don’t think this feeling will change for the rest of the season. For Smith, whilst I’d agree he lacks the same charisma / passion of Farke, the rapport with the fans, and the football has been patchy up to now, the real material issue behind it all is that he is the unfortunate flagbearer for a period where we are stuck in footballing ‘limbo’. Too good for this league, nowhere near good enough for the league above. That will only change when the cycle breaks and we find ourselves with a more certain direction to aim for (whether that’s aiming to get back to the top of the championship after faltering down the league, or actually being competitive in the premier league). If we do go up this season, which I think we will, I hope that the inclusion of Attanasio in the board can be a drive for change and a better use of the transfer market, right now it's probably the most tangible thing we can look towards for a competitive attempt at premier league football. As well as (hopefully) keeping all our best players from the prior season (i.e. no Skipp or Buendia situations). A couple of things that might genuinely make things different with another attempt.
  13. 21 points
    I have decided to head off to pastures new and next Friday will be my last day at the publisher formerly known as Archant. I have been assured that this messageboard will still exist when the sites migrate over to NewsQuest. I just need to decide which fortunate soul on the sports desk will be responsible for moderating the forum. I'll pop my head on here every now and then as a fan under this profile: https://forum.pinkun.com/index.php?/profile/16797-peteraven/ All the best and OTBC!
  14. 21 points
    The number of people who complain about McLean regardless of how he plays astounds and, at times, annoys me. I am not a Kenny lover. In fact I feel we need better if we do achieve promotion but lets give credit where it is due on occasions. Yes, he is not a DM. In fact the last time we were promoted he played in the midfield with Olly Skipp, who is a DM, but, at the moment we do not have a DM so the manager calls on Kenny. Before Byram regained fitness we didn't have a left back so the manager called on Kenny. Then we look at tonight's match. Pukki scored our first goal after a free kick. Who spotted a one on one and quickly took a long, accurate ball, yes Mclean. The second goal, a through ball from Ramsay to Pukki after an interception. Who anticipated the Bristol pass and made the interception? Right again, McLean. But he couldn't have anything to do with Sarge's goal could he? Look again. A positive run takes away Weimann to allow Sarge the room for his header, that was McLean again. But all he seems to get on this forum, from most people, is criticism. When he plays badly and contributes nothing I have no problem but he seems to be on a hiding to nothing every game.
  15. 21 points
    Can we just please stop with this fallacy that in the championship all we done was destroy teams in the championship and these sort of scrappy away wins never existed? Our last championship title winning campaign under farke started with - 1-0 win vs Huddersfield thanks to them playing a backpass to Pukki - 2-2 draw against Preston at home, with Placheta rescuing a point for us in the 85th minute. - 0-1 loss to Bournemouth. They scored in the 35th minute. - 0-1 loss at home to Derby. Cries from fans that Farkeball has been sussed and Ipswich would finish above us. - 2-1 win against Rotherham. Same scoreline as tonight, apart from we needed an own goal, red card and last minute penalty to take the points. - 1-0 win at home to Birmingham. We needed a red card and an 87th minute Vrancic winner, for the record. - 2-1 win against newly promoted Wycombe Wanderers. Farke was an absolutely fantastic manager for us and always comparing Smith to him seems unnecessary anyway. But if you're determined to compare them, at least compare it against the reality rather than a figment of your imagination.
  16. 21 points
    I'm one of those who remain convinced that if we say goodbye to Teemu Pukki, whatever the offer, before this window closes, then we can kiss goodbye to promotion. There seems to be this constant undercurrent on this forum that the player is somehow past it. A popular pastime amongst some eager detractors. Those whose microscopic views feed their need to be critical. Nothing could be further from the truth and even if, and big if, he has lost a bit of his sharpness then it is, imo, only temporary. Any perceived loss of pace will be compensated for in other ways. Besides, if Premier League Everton are indeed interested, then any deterioration in the player's performances cannot have been seen as significant. Goals apart (and he could easily have had a couple by now with better luck on his side,) I think that he has performed well so far this season and virtually up to par. Any significant loss in any way could well be catered for by this enforced rest. For such a workhorse, even the recent workload has been excessive, carrying both club and international commitments with little break and for a prolonged period. So the Sarge has become a striker overnight, and let's hope he keeps it up.** He is, though, as prone to injury as any other player. Idah is prone to injury, full stop. Hugill is not up to it. Overnight, we could well have one of the most suspect strike forces in the entire division with limited time to redress. Lose Teemu Pukki right now. No way! ** He'll need to if we lose Teemu.
  17. 21 points
  18. 21 points
    Certainly won't stop me. I'd have him back anytime. The only idiots - if you must use that word - are those that wanted him sacked in the first place.
  19. 20 points
  20. 20 points
  21. 20 points
    Billy Gilmour's failed loan spell having further repercussions..
  22. 20 points
    Which paper is that? It's a shocking article. "...it will be the fourth time they have gone straight back down after coming up." So I take it they are talking about the promotion and premier league season under Worthington? Nothing like using something that happened 15+ years ago to bash a club. At the same time there is no mention of the three seasons we spent in the premier league under Lambert and Hughton. Just because it chimes with some aspects you may agree with, it doesn't make it a good article. In fact, this is clearly a poorly thought out hack piece. No mention of Fulham who are a season further progressed. Or West Brom who have done so as many times if not more. Just another idiot that wants certain teams in the PL and then to get rid of promotion relegation when they have the teams they fancy in it. Horrible, horrible piece IMHO, full of absolute rubbish and a clear lack of knowledge of the club. The real story all of these hacks are seemingly choosing not to consider isn't whether the parachute payment system is 'broken' but why so few clubs manage to stay up in the PL and how, despite all of the supposed safeguards that were intended to keep the top division a competitive playing field is actually becoming less so with each passing transfer window. Many teams struggle to stay up at the first time of asking, even the 2nd. Of the teams that manage that, how many go down the next season? Very few really manage to do so. If they do, they tend to stick around for a while. Brighton, Palace, Villa, Leeds have managed it, but not without great expense. Watford, like us, Fulham, WBA should also be considered "yo-yo".
  23. 20 points
    Really don't understand this need people have to divide the fanbase. We're all disappointed.
  24. 20 points
    Why is there always a bitter undertone with those that decided they no longer like Farke, despite the fantastic things he did achieve with us. Amazes me really. So unnecessary.
  25. 20 points
    I still miss Daniel. I genuinely thought he had the opportunity to transcend the managerial merry-go-round and build a dynasty here. I know things were bad at the start of the season and accept what happened but I'm still gutted by it.
  26. 20 points
    I mean anyone can make out like they're a footballing genius with hindsight. Unfortunately, you said:
  27. 20 points
    Of course, had we been sharper in front of goal, we could be 4 points better off from the last two games. But look at our solidity, shape, pressuring, tightness to opposing players and competitiveness compared to everything up to the first half against Southampton? Look at how we play further up the pitch and on the front foot. Rashica and Sargent plus others have failed to score goals to support Pukki who remains miles ahead of his team mates in terms of vision and speed of thought. We have to involve Teemu more in linking play, we have to be quicker in the final third and we may lack the quality to do so, or maybe the confidence. But we no longer look bullied, lightweight or boys against men. Look at how we dealt with Wolves and Newcastle powerful flair players. They were snuffed out. This solidity and consistency, this reduction in chances and goals against has to be the starting point and I personally feel proud of our players who are achieving it. All the talk now is about our lack of goals, before it was how many we were letting in. Newcastle were at home with a new manager present for the first time. They were fired up. We handled that. They won a penalty and lifted the crowd. We came back. We all want more but I honestly don't understand the moaning. We are no longer 'adrift' and I didn't expect that. Get behind our fighting team!
  28. 19 points
    Again unseasonably warm here in Norwich so still no need for woolly hat and gloves for the ride down to CR. It was announced that Mark Attanasio was here with his family and they received generous applause when introduced to the crowd. Before kick off we were treated to a splendid Rememberance Day rendition of The Last Post from a member of the City staff and as the last strains died away I couldn't help but wonder if there might not be something of a prophetic message hidden here. Boro certainly began with a bang and a City player had barely touched the ball before a cross from the right was nodded narrowly over the bar. I was aware that Boro had come into a run of good form and from the off they looked neat and tidy and comfortable in possession. City finally got some decent play going after five minutes when Ramsey got the better of a tackle in centre field and made progress towards goal. Pukki was available to his left and a nice ball left him with a chance that on other days he would have netted with ease but he's lost a bit of sharpness this season and could only direct the ball at the keepers legs and away. A couple of minutes later the lively Sara combined with Max down the City right and a cut back slipped beyond Pukki only for Kenny to clip the ball across to Sargent who's powerful low strike found the far corner. City were buzzing now and the visitors needed all hands to the pump to prevent a second goal. More neat play down the right led to Ramsey dragging the ball past a couple of defenders before unleashing an on target effort that Steffen in the Boro goal could only parry and a defender had to nod away with Pukki lurking. A good opening twenty minutes ought to have brought more than one goal but Boro survived the onslaught and began to get the reward for some decent possession. Thankfully crosses in to the box were being well dealt with by the City central defence at this stage but the margin of comfort was rather slim. The home side still appeared to carry the greater threat in front of goal and Sara nearly sneaked a second when turning on Kenny's knockdown and scuffing the ball just over the top. You could feel thethe crowd beginning to get edgey as the balance of play continued to alter in Boro's favour and I for one was more than happy to herarthe halftime whistle and preserve the lead. I expect they got a bit of a rocket in the dressing room because they set off the second period at a faster clip and only a flying save by Steffen prevented Josh Sargent from nailing a second. Unfortunately the home side couldn't sustain it and Boro were soon back dominating proceedings as the City were forced to back pedal. A couple of times crosses went right across the City six yard line without anyone getting a touch and it was plain to see something had to give. Only a brilliant interception by Sara saved the day as Boro strikers were lining up on a cut back from the right. I don't try to second guess tactics but it seemed to me that we needed a better grip in midfield where Boro were now totally dominant, indeed at times it looked like a Premier team toying with a Championship side. A change had to come and on the hour Onel replaced Pukki. I doubt if I was the only one bemused by this decision for it did nothing to alter the direction of travel. Five minutes later the inevitable equaliser came and nobody present could deny that it was fullty deserved. A nothing ball into midfield was picked up by Howson and he quickly found McGree who volled a glorious strike into the top corner leaving Gunn with no chance. I could only see the game going one way after this although to their credit, with Cantwell and Gianoullis coming on for Ramsey and McCallum we did look a little more dangerous. Sara had a shot brilliantly turned away by Steffen and the Max Aarons effort from inside the box whizzed just the wrong side of the post. The Onel really should have done better when put in on the left but tried one too many swerves and lost the ball. With six minutes added there was still time but for a long while I had felt that it would be our net that bulged and it duly transpired as two Boro players came away down the right against one defender and when a hard low cross came in I wasn't surpised to see Crooks turn it past Gunn from close range. Boro players naturally milked the time added but even so Onel had another great opportunity but nobody was shocked when he blazed it wide. Hanley went up front for the final knockings but this is not a season where the ball falls kindly for late goals to be scored and on the balance of play today Boro were good value for their win. I repeat what I said a couple of weeks ago, this doesn't look to me like a team that is going to win automatic promotion although playoffs remain possible. Far too many points are being lost from winning positions and too many decent chances are being squandered. And I still don't understand the thinking in the first round of substitutions. Sara my MOM, Max was also good today. McCallum got caught out in the second half and Ramsey seems to fade out of things once we go on the back foot. What Attanasio thought I can't imagine but that Last bloody Post turned out to be prophetic after all.
  29. 19 points
    In amongst all the hand-wringing about City's performance, no one seems to have noticed how our opponents played. The were, frankly, a horrible side full of body-builders and spoilers. They set up with the proverbial banked defence and gave us no space in any attacking area. They were as well-drilled as any side I have seen recently and were happy to cheat their way through the game, time-wasting, holding, and pulling shirts. A sterner ref would really have got into them. They were successful in stopping us from playing and in ruining the game as a spectacle. Crucially, they got a valuable lead from a set piece when we had been suckered into conceding a free kick in a diabolical postion. Dean Smith knew what we were up against and probably knew that it might be a struggle, considering our profile. So let's just remember that there are two sides out there trying to thwart and overcome the opposition.
  30. 19 points
    I don't know about the rest of Norfolk but here in the City we had a sharp shower at tea time and then just a few spits and spots. It was barely enough to wet the ground in NR2 so I made the choice not to take any rain gear. Back in the olden days (1960's) I recall that todays visitors were considered a real bogey team, so I had a look back in the records and indeed they were during that decade, with five wins at CR and only one for City. In recent seasons we have rectified that record somewhat with a few thumping good home wins and after fifteen minutes of this game another one looked well on the cards. I arrived at the ground to herarthe news that Teemu was out injured and Josh Sargent was going to be leading the line. My hope was that his penalty in the Cup would inject enough confidence into him to give us a good performance and there weren't many minutes on the clock when he stepped up and did what was required. We were only in the second minute when he latched on to Aarons cross and flicked a header a foot over the bar. With City dominant in these early stages he didn't have to wait long for another chance. Dowell cut two defenders out of the game with a pass out to Sinani and when the cross came in his header was point perfct into the far corner, giving Nicholls no chance. It was a great start and it got even better as City turned up the wick. Nunez was showing a lot of strength in mid field and when the ball came through to Dowell a quick lay off put Sargent in on the angle and his scuffed shot went across goal to Sinani on the corner of the six yard line. Defenders rushed to cover but he shuffled inside and wrong footed everybody with a shot into the corner to put City two clear. The visitors had barely had a look in and I think most of us were thinking of another high scoring game as City continued to call the tune. If anything we were guilty of over passing as several promising position broke down with one pass too many. Nicholls again came to the visitors rescue with a sharp save at his left post as Sargent sent in another stinging shot and it was all hands to the pump as Huddersfield defended another corner. From the thirty minute mark the visitors eventually got their passing game going and the home defence looked a bit hesitant at times with no natural left back in the line up. Tim Krul dealt with a couple of long range efforts comfortably enough but had to be really alert to block away a free kick just before the break. It was a decent enough half but I had to agree with my son when he said he doubted we would finish up with a clean sheet. That however seemed academic when just after the restart Lees had little option but to clip Sargents heels when the City striker was clean through on goal. The ref had little option but to produce a red card. That should have been that, as far as the points were concerned and I think we all expected another couple of goals on the tally. Sargent and Aarons both had chances they couldn't put away and Nunez might have done better with two free kicks at a scoreable range but despite the pressure another goal failed to materialise. Hanley looked to get on the scoresheet when he latched onto a cross but his header was clawed away by Nichols in fine style and Dowell could only put a low shot straight at the keeper when set up by Cantwell. Hugill and Sara came on for Sargent and Dowell at seventy minutes as City kept up the pressure and there was a mighty scramble in the Town area as Hugill's header was deflected out to Sinani who rifled a poerful shot just over the bar. It was his last action however as he and Nunez departed to great applause as Hernandez and Ramsey came on. Onel was soon beating his fullback down the left but somehow the crosses and cut backs didn't fall to a City shirt until on seventy eight minutes Nicholls made a point blank save as Sara looked odds on to net from six yards. It was frustrating stuff but it got even more frustrating as the visitors broke away with ten minutes left and a furiously back pedalling Grant Hanley was unable to prevent Jones getting a shot away from the left of centre that beat Krul at the near post. I had to shake my head when my son said " you can just see Jordan Rhodes levelling this up now." It almost proved prophetc as a ball was played into the area and Tim Krul had to be really sharp to dive at Rhodes feet to prevent the shot. From here City tried to take the sting out of the game and again did not look entirely convincing. Thankfully the whistle went just after one more heart in mouth incident as Ramsey volleyed away a loose ball in the City area. It was good to finally get the win and well deserved on balance but it should have been a lot easier than we made it. A proper left back looks to be the priority. My MOM goes to Nunez who looked the class player in all he did. Good performances from Sargent and Sinani, some nice passes from Keiron Dowell and young Gibbs looked very competent apart from one silly pass across his penalty area that got intercepted. I also thought Todd put in a whole hearted performance but his touch is not quite back to what we know it can be yet. OTBC
  31. 19 points
    Those of a certain vintage can sing along if they wish Right said Smith, both of us together Get this club to where they wanna go. Couldn't shift it, couldn't even lift it, We was getting nowhere and so we had a mug of tea Right said Smith, get a call to Pukki Up pops Teemu like the perfect pro Heavy lumping, lots of Pukki jumping, We was getting nowhere and so we had a mug of tea And Shakey had a think and he said 'Look Dean If we replace the small boys With lots of muscled tall boys With a hopeful punt We can hit the guy upfront.' Right said Smith, now that Idah's injured On the ground is where we have to go Got the ball down Sargent had to fall down We was getting nowhere and so we had a mug of tea Right said Smith, give me a Brazilian But his barber wouldn't scrape so low Crocked Brazilian Cost us several million We was getting nowhere and so we had a mug of tea And Shakey had a think and he said, 'Look Dean I got a sorta notion With loads of clueless motion We can plug that hole We might even score a goal.' Right said Smith, Soccerbot's the answer That will tell me what I wanna know Wiring sizzled, lots of hair got frizzled, Spoiling Deano's flat top, and so Pukki and me had his final mug of tea And then he went home.
  32. 19 points
    Absolute utter ****ing dog ****ting nonsense. Delia and Michael's greatest crime is they don't have enough money. They love this club, care for it deeply. They've made huge decisions in the name of bettering this club. And you know what? We've seen more good times than bad under their stewardship. When Delia and Michael are long gone, people will look back at this age being a pretty special time in the history of Norwich City Football Club. There are clubs up and down the country who would give their grandmas for owners like them. While I think it's right they move on, they - along with Geoffrey Watling - are the ones who deserve statues outside the club. Because without them, this club would be absolutely nothing.
  33. 19 points
    Nothing says "we don't deserve promotion" like winning the league at a canter.
  34. 19 points
    How many times have we seen threads like this? And how many times has he shown that he is head and shoulders above what we could realistically expect to get for what we pay? When he’s gone we will miss him massively. He is a true NCFC legend and this sort of stuff is disrespectful.
  35. 18 points
    I thought he was excellent. At his best he can magnetise the ball, create chances, strike for goal off either foot. A buzzing Cantwell is a better player than we could afford to buy. Parma
  36. 18 points
  37. 18 points
    Always intrigued by the thought process that goes 'is this something I should keep to myself? No! I should post it publicly!'
  38. 18 points
    '... immature, knee jerk, playground name calling ... ' You mean phrases like 'immature, brainless idiots', 'shallow, good time Charlies', 'immature idiots', 'something else their brains can cope with', 'brainless worms'? Were you thinking of that kind of playground name calling?
  39. 18 points
    I thought McLean was disappointing.
  40. 17 points
    Three points away from home. Up to 4th. Kenny scored. Two Rays Funds wins adding £40 to the pot. If Carlsberg made Saturdays...
  41. 17 points
    I was late returning last night so as Mrs R has banned me from midnight keyboard tapping I have had to wait until the AM before posting my thoughts. I was fairly confident of a positive result, mainly for historical reasons as Millwall hadn't beaten us at CR since the back end of the 1960's when my son was still in his pushchair. I know I was at that game but I have no recollections other than it being typical of that drab decade when City achieved little other than treading water in the old Division Two. Dean Smith obviously had his reasons for swapping Cantwell and Hernandez in the starter roll and although the little man was lively in the opening stages there was very little product early doors. It was more of a frenetic midfield affair with Millwall looking strong and well organised leaving the home side with very little space in which to work. We were in the sixth minute before Dowell instigated a move down the right but could only screw his shot a couple of yards wide. Unfortunately it didn't spark more in the way of goalmouth action as even when they did get going, most of the moves broke down on the edge of the Millwall area. The closest we came was when Sargent almost broke into the box only to be brought down on the edge and the free kick came to nothing. There wasn't much coming back either as we were close to the half hour before the visitors had a sight of our goal and Afobe could only deflect the ball well over the bar with a mistimed header. City were bossing territory and possesion comfortably but most raids by the wide men were shepherded inside and any danger quickly snuffed out. The closest thing to a goal was a Nunez free kick on the right which Sargent glanced across the box which Omobamidelle was a yard short of turning in. Our discussions at the half concluded that we needed to move the ball quicker if we had any chance of penetrating what was a very sound Millwall defence. Our wish was granted almost from the start as City began to come forward with more pupose. A neat quick passing interchange between Dowell, Sargent and Sinani ended with the latter putting Sargent clear just inside the Millwall box and the big striker wasted little time before smacking a fifteen yarder past a surprised Bialkowski to give the home side the lead. This was much more like it and as City buzzed around the Millwall area Sargent was again decked with a wild tackle but Nunez could only shoot a yard wide from a good position. Then Sargent nearly added another which was entirely of his own making when he charged down Bialkowski's attempted clearance. Fortunately for the Millwall custodian, he redeemed himself by deflecting the ball for a corner. It had been a fairly physical game and Ref Rob Jones might have flashed a few more yellows for the pulls and tugs but to his credit he did attempt to let things flow. With twenty minutes left Millwall responded with a triple change and with fresher legs they began to exert a bit of pressure on the home defence. A corner from the right went across goal untouched and a long throw in from the same side was allowed to bounce dangerously before being hooked clear. Thankfully nerves were settled soon after when Sargent tussled with two Millwall defenders on the left of centre field and managed to keep his feet despite some very physical attention. Keiron Dowell had picked up the loose ball and made off down the left before supplying a peach of a pass for Josh Sargent to run onto. Last season and bereft of confidence, I would have expected the big American to either fall over or screw his shot horribly wide but your could see the confidence flow and I never doubted that he would score, which he duly did by sweeping a low shot across Bialkowski into the far corner for two nil. Dowell and Hernandez recieved generous applause when replaced moments later by Cantwell and Ramsay and although Millwall pushed forward much more, the City back line held firm. Hanley mostly got the better of the dangerous Afobe and Omobamidele looked calm and assured. There was a twenty yarder that clipped Krul's bar and a close range scramble that deflected over the bar but in truth City held on comfortably for a deserved victory. Josh Sargent my MOM, amazing how quickly he has moved from scapegoat to hero. Young Gibbs added to his his stylish and competent debut. Class again from Nunez and some nice touches again from Dowell but in truth it was a good all round perfromance. Perhaps this season has finally got going in the right direction.
  42. 17 points
    People who don’t want promotion will be the same complaining about mid table obscurity in a few years time I’d be willing to bet. You play the game that’s in front of you. Yes it would suck to be humbled again at PL level but this idea we can build a more competitive PL team by staying in the Championship a few seasons on a Championship mid table budget is fantasy. We only progress by promotion otherwise you can kiss Pukki, Nunez, Aaarons and the other PL looking players goodbye when we fail to bounce back and this squad goes one way, backwards.
  43. 17 points
    Totally agree, never forget that moment when he was lying on the ground and just threw his body at the ball to get his head in the way. Great guy
  44. 17 points
    We are really pleased to announce that this season, with everyone's help, we have broken our record and raised a massive £10,250 for the CSF making a grand total since we started of £46,000. So proud and happy, thankyou to everyone who has supported us this season, it means the world Also our Super 6 results can be found on our website, thanks to all those on here who entered , hope you will enter again next season Best Wishes - Diane & our volunteers ( all 6 of us are in the picture
  45. 17 points
    What exactly is the mess our club is in? Two relegations from the Premier League in three years? It’s not ideal, but I could list 72 clubs that would love to have achieved that much. We are financially on a solid footing. Yes, administration was a threat once (@Dr Greenthumb when we went down to League 1, when was the second time you mention?) but the club reacted, did what it needed to do and not only did administration not happen, it put plans in place so it won’t happen again. Plus I suspect the management who came in exaggerated the threat anyway in order to make their starting point look more difficult and their achievements more impressive. Any longer-term reduction in revenue, like parachute payments ending, will be predictable in advance and the club can adjust in time if it needs to. And we now have an impressive academy, and we are an attractive place for young players to come to as we offer career progression. That doesn’t look like a mess to me, it looks like impressive achievement on the resources we have. I get that this is an emotional time, but posting stuff like this, accusing posters of not replying when we all have a life outside this board and aren’t sitting on it 24x7, or suggesting that the chance of new owners being better than what we have is a 50/50 coin toss, is just not thought through. Take a step back and look at what we have, what we’ve done in the last few years and what similar clubs have done. Yes, there will be one or two outliers who are currently doing better, but there will also be many, many more who are worse. We can do better, we learnt from administration and we will learn from two relegations. (And I probably need to state, like hogesar, that I’m not against new owners, but the chances of them 1) being safe to hand the club to and 2) any more successful than the current ones is low IMHO).
  46. 17 points
    I spent an enjoyable morning watching my great grandsons under 14's win comfortably so it was a good omen when he accompanied me to CR this afternoon as my son is still out of action with his ACL and broken bones. There was an even better omen when we lost the toss and kicked off the right way for once. It was a fairly even steven opening with both teams getting some early action in the opposing penalty areas. As expected there was plenty of ariel stuff from the visitors and some dangerous corners to be dealt with but it was the home side that were quickest off the mark. Burnley failed to clear a City corner on the left and PLM stepped forward to slam a shot that deflected into the corner off a defender. Burnley came back strongly and Krul had to be at his best when diving to his right to punch away Cornet's strike from 20 yards. By the midway stage it was the visitors with most of the pressure but Hanley and Gibson held firm under the physical onslaught and with Rashica and Pukki finding space, there was always a threat on breakaways. Pukki almost doubled the lead when working a space in the area but Pope stuck his right leg out just in time. City were hanging on a bit towards the end of the half and ref Michael Oliver didnt endear himself to the crowd with more than a few one eyed decisions. Burnley had a decent chance with a free kick central just outside the box but thankfully a poor effort flew well over. I was expecting a bit of a second half backs to the wall job but in truth the home side were looking most likely with some darting runs from Pukki and Rashica. It looked as though Dowell had Put Pukki in on goal after ten minutes but he couldnt sort his feet out and the shot was blocked. At the other end a couple of crosses spelt danger but the central defenders were doing enough with the ariel stuff. Just after the hour however Burnley were nearly level as Cornet slid in at the far post but missed the target. Rupp came on for the tiring PLM with 20 minutes to go and solidified things as the game became stretched, and in one lightening break Pope had to make a fine stop after Rashica's run and shot. It all got a bit fingernail biting as the seconds ticked slowly away but City's talisman was on hand to calm shredded nerves when Norman picked him out inside the box with five minutes left. Ice cold calmness and a low accurate shot into the bottom right hand corner gave Pope no chance. There was still time for Krul to pull off a fine diving save to his left to wrap up a rare three points and clean sheet for the Canaries. They were all pretty good today. Kenny, lots of chasing and tackling, Dimi, looked lively and Pukki and Rashica were always a danger but this win was due to some solid defensive work so my MOM goes to Grant Hanley.
  47. 17 points
    It's been a while since footy felt this good. Have a good night, folks! OTBC
  48. 17 points
    Imagine if he hadn’t been sacked. I suspect the results would be pretty similar to where we are now, and Daniel would be getting a torrid time at the matches and certainly on here. He has left with his head held high and that is probably the best outcome we could have wished for, for a much loved manager.
  49. 16 points
    More than I regret voting for Brexit. And that's saying something. What were we thinking? What were the board thinking? We can't blame Webber for this entirely, the fans had turned on Farke. They should have turned on Webber and his recruitment, but they didn't they turned on Farke. He was a great coach, lets be honest, is a source of regret, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people, that we didn't get behind him like Forest did with Cooper this season. Cooper was set to be sacked, fans voiced their displeasure at this, recruitment team got sacked instead. That's what should have f*cking happened here isn't it, and Webber led the recruitment.
  50. 16 points
    Another warm and sunny day here in NR2 in what seems to be the longest succession of warm and sunny days that I can remember. it hasn't rained here for so long that I've almost forgotten what rain feels like and I expect people will be dancing in the streets when it finally breaks. Here in the great East Anglian desert, Carrow Road looked a lush green Oasis as the teams came out and you could sense a certain level of disappointment when the only new face on display was that of Nunez. Some classy turns and quick passes from the Chile international caught the eye early on as City called the tune straight from the kick off. The class difference was apparent early on as the home side probed down both wings and Gianoullis had the first effort high and wide in the second minute. Then Pukki found time to turn in the area but a Wigan boot blocked his shot away. Then a Nunez shot was just off target but deflected off Cantwell and went the wrong side of the post. A series of corners added to the pressure and when Rashica again found the City talisman on the right side of the box a stinging low shot beat Amos but skimmed a foot wide of the far post. On the quarter hour some more neat work from Rashica and Nunez ended with a one on one and although the Kosovan got the ball over the keeper, a defender was on hand to head away. It was a promising opening and nearly all one way stuff with virtually nothing coming back from the visitors. That changed just after the midway stage when Sorensen appeared to be pushed over from behind while Mr. Donohue, saw nothing amiss and suddenly a totally exposed Tim Krul had to bring off a point blank block to save the day. The game quickly resumed its familiar pattern with City continuing to press and Nunez was a trifle unlucky to see his shot from the eighteen yard line just just curl a foot wide of Amos's right post. It appeared to be just a matter of time before the home side stamped their authority on the game with a goal, but having seen this sort of thing play out so many times over the years I was not surprised when the opening goal came at the other end. City should have easily cleared from their left back position but a poor pass from Gibson was cut out and suddenly the ball was in the centre of the box at McLeans feet and not a City defender within ten yards. Needless to say a player of his experience will score from there nine times out of ten and this wasn't time number ten. All very disappointing and it took the wind out of the home sides sails for the rest of the half. Just before the break however, McLean had a free header from a corner but could only loop it over the bar. City had looked a class above and had the lions share of the play but had twice given the ball away in their own half and had paid the penalty for it. Wigan had not looked a threat but had been solid and rugged in defence and had taken their chance when it came. The crowd voiced their disaproval with a few boo's as the whistle went and I confess I joined in, more out of frustration than anything else. City need to cut out the gifts if they were to get back in the game but the signs were not good when just after the restart, Gibson again presented the ball to Keane and Krul again had to come to the rescue blocking Megennis's shot at the foot of the left post. The crowd were certainly getting restive now and there was a long delay when Gianoullis went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury and was eventually replaced by McCallum, Hernandez also replaced Sorensen at the same time. Soon after the restart the ball was worked down the left and Pukki layed it on to Rashica who calmly touched it into the path of Aarons, who coming in from the right, slammed a low shot through the keeper and into the net to restore parity. From here on it was a game of defence against attack with City going close on several occassions. Sinani and Sargent came on for Nunez and Rashica as the pressure mounted and it looked like Pukki had done it when he latched onto Cantwell's pass but the shot came off the underside of the bar and nobody could scramble it home. The time wasting was on another level with the Wigan keeper outdoing anything I have ever seen from Tim Krul and the ref didn't help matters with some cockeyed decisions. Aarons was taken out with a wild tackle and then Kenny appeared to be pushed in the back but Mr. Donohue remained oblivious. I must admit I did get slightly agitated at this stage which is not really very good for the old ticker at my time of life. Ten minutes were added but Wigan successfully $hithou$ed most of it and so we are left with the usual very average start to a Championship campaign that has become something of a trade mark over recent years. We are clearly a class above most in this league but we must learn to be more savvy if we are going to garner sufficient points for a promotion challenge this season.
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