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Declan

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  1. It’s a way into Premier League boardrooms and access to the people inside them if you get (and keep) your club in the top flight… Big business is often about who you know rather than what, and the chance to rub shoulders in a more casual setting could well open up far more doors than having to conduct conversations in a more traditional office manner.
  2. Mine arrived this morning too. Can tell a lot of care has gone into the compiling but can’t help but feel it could have benefitted from a once over from a content designer* as it’s got a real ‘self published’ feel to it for something that’s got so much depth of detail. Glad I’ve got a copy for the, er, archives. Almost missed out as the product wasn’t particularly well advertised which is a shame. * and a slip case!
  3. Perhaps unsurprising, but there's lots of empty seats at Carrow Road today...very noticeable on the telly
  4. I thought after his Watford exploits he’d shaken off those early season jitters but he really hasn’t…at one point on Saturday he received the ball around the half-way line on the right wing, turned and passed it beautifully to our bench - I’m sure he’s a lovely person, and I don’t doubt at all that he’s got the right physical stats to make him appealing as a gamble but it’s one that hasn’t worked. Would love to be proved wrong, but he’s never going to be a Premier League regular. Out of the current lot we actually own I’d suggest Krul, Aarons, Byram and Rashica are good enough to actually be regulars for other sides in the league…Omabamidele looks like he’ll make it, and I’d possibly argue that players like Rupp and Sorensen *may* have found their feet in an average top-flight side if played consistently (bit like Surman did for Bournemouth). Williams is the only decent Premier League loan that Webber has secured. Would love to make that a permanent move, but know there’s very little chance of that.
  5. Took the opportunity this evening to walk the twenty minutes or so down to Princes Park and take in our game against Charlton’s U23s, which we ended up losing 3-1. Not quite sure what I was expecting to be honest, but have to admit I was surprised as to how basic the football was…if anything Charlton were knocking it about a little better whilst we were looking long at every opportunity (haven’t seen that many offsides since Iwan was at his peak!). I anticipated being impressed by Tomkinson, Springett and Kamara based on reports I’ve heard so far but it was only the latter that did anything of note with a good finish in the first half - there’s honestly nothing in the side I saw tonight that I’d particularly be excited about which is a bit of a worry if we’re planning on bringing them through to remain self-funded. I’d be staggered if the eccentric Nathan Harvey in Charlton’s goal ever made it as a professional but their right back, Richard Chin, looked impressive throughout. Comfortably my man of the match and expect to see him have a good career at a decent level.
  6. …they’re currently 100 short of top spot, winning team gets a £10,000 grant from Buildbase - go on, it only takes a minute… https://landing.buildbase.co.uk/pitch-in-your-support/
  7. Sadly the FA Cup final is during the season…two games left after it’s played. Be nice to win the cup then the last two games to stay up though!
  8. Just a few more stops for me but still undecided…the move to a Sunday afternoon makes it less appealing but I could also be home by half past four with a fair wind and the game being decided in the normal ninety minutes. Would hope we put out a relatively strong side as we’re crying out for any positive result but, having said that, I think it’s easy to forget that our ‘reserves’ blew away a Bournemouth side earlier this season and we should (in theory!) have enough to beat an average League One side whoever we decide to put out (as long as they don’t take it for granted).
  9. As the years roll by it's becoming more obvious that Webber's 'Moneyball' approach is very much one that relies on finding as many aces as he can from as wide a selection of cards, even if it means spreading the budget as thin as possible across each card we secure. Wikipedia's perhaps not the most accurate record, but in the five seasons that Webber's been around the club (since 2017/18) it's got us down as having made 66 transfers in*, and a large number of those either never had or never will have a sniff of first team football at Carrow Road (we usually have c.20 players out on loan each year, we're basically running a Chelsea-lite model). He's had two summer windows ahead of Premier League seasons and as the January window creaks itself open it's apparent he's failed for a second time out. Your thoughts on 'just three better players' is spot on, and the abysmal record in securing suitable Premier League loans is something that perhaps shows just how well regarded he is by the rest of the football world? * 2017/18: Tristan Abrahams, Pierre Fonkeu, Marcel Franke, Grant Hanley, Onel Hernandez, James Husband, Kenny McLean, Savvas Mourgos, Adam Phillips, Simon Power, Sean Raggett, Dennis Srbeny, Marco Stiepermann, Tom Trybull, Mario Vrancic, Marley Watkins and Christoph Zimmermann 2018/19: Mason Bloomfield, Emiliano Buendia, Josh Coley, Akin Famewo, Nicholas Hayes, Philip Heise, William Hondermarck, Billy Johnson, Ciaren Jones, Tim Krul, Kole Lambert, Moritz Leitner, Ben Marshall, Teemu Pukki, Caleb Richards and Tom Scully 2019/20: Daniel Adshead, Rocky Bushiri, Sam Byram, Josip Drmic, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Charlie Gilmour, Archie Mair, Reece McAlear, Sam McCallum, Rob Nizet, Lukas Rupp and Melvin Sitti 2020/21: Matthew Dennis, Kieran Dowell, Jordan Hugill, Bali Mumba, Orjan Nyland, Przemyslaw Placheta, Regan Riley, Daniel Sinani, Jacob Sorensen and Sebastian Soto 2021/22: Dylan Berry, Flynn Clarke, Kenny Coker, Dimitris Giannoulis, Liam Gibbs, Ben Gibson, Angus Gunn, Pierre Lees-Melou, Milot Rashica, Josh Sargent and Christos Tzolis
  10. I've been a paid-for subscriber* of The Athletic since it came over to the UK in August 2019 and have been surprised at the amount of content I've actually read. Their algorithm for sending over a daily digest of stories that might be of interest works well enough for me and there's plenty more available if you want to delve into the weeds (my wife's Canadian so it's been helpful to keep up with the Blue Jays, Leafs and Raptors for conversations with my brother-in-law!). Even at £7.99 a month I'd suggest it's decent value when you think something like FourFourTwo has a cover price of £5.99 these days. There's a lot of regurgitated content that's put up on the Pink 'Un (often over several articles/days), and if there's not anything new that they're planning on putting up behind the paywall in future I can't see the value in handing over £19.99 a year - as mentioned earlier, Paddy's Pointers doesn't really have the feel of premium material. Funnily enough this thread's made me take another look at how much the When Saturday Comes magazine is available for on subscription these days having been a subscriber a good few years ago. Their current offer for a year of magazines through the door at £23.70 which includes a decent hardback book as a free gift is very appealing. * albeit subsidised via their DFS style 'never to be repeated' sales; £29.99 for 19/20, £1pcm for 20/21 and £17.99 this season.
  11. 9,815 saw a 3-3 against Birmingham City at Carrow Road in March 1998 - probably my mind playing tricks, but I’m sure I recall a gasp as it came up on the scoreboard!
  12. David Norris was the year above me and went on to play over 450 Football League games during spells at Hull, Plymouth, Ipswich, Portsmouth, Leeds, Peterborough, Yeovil and Blackpool (to be fair he did rack up over 200 games at Plymouth and over 100 at Ipswich, who he captained under Roy Keane, so wasn't just a journeyman looking for a home!). He's now a personal trainer. In my brother's year there was a Dominic Henson (later Pearmain) who was signed by Manchester United after impressing at Sunday league level. He didn't make the grade there and kicked around Leicester City's reserves before returning back to local level with Yaxley. No idea what he's up to now as he's seemingly non-Google-able! I got to chat to Dominic relatively regularly before he got that move to United as I refereed Sunday football in the area. Wouldn't say he was particularly special, but he had pace to burn and they obviously thought they could train a bit of football into him on top of that raw physical attribute. Funnily enough, there was another tidy little (literally!) player that was a few years younger than my brother and was a relatively regular first-teamer in Netherton United's youth team's midfields who I refereed a number of times. Aston Merrygold didn't make it far into the sporting world but didn't do too badly for himself as one third of the boyband JLS. Outside of playing, Neil Hair was on the same referee qualifying course as me as teenagers and is now knocking around the middle of League One games as well as filling the fourth official slot at some Premier League matches. He got a very memorable day out at Wembley for the National League Play-Off Final a few years ago (sending Tranmere's Liam Ridenhalgh after just 48 seconds!) - would expect he'll eventually make the Premier League but it does seem mad to think he's now twenty five-ish years into what's been a solid refereeing career and is still to make it to Championship level.
  13. Yes, totally agree - definitely tactical too and puts the trust back into the players. Here he is explaining it in his very first session with the squad (should start at the right spot, if not it's 12min 56secs):
  14. Stand down...the club have just put Upper Tier up for sale. They shall go to the ball London Stadium!
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