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Parma Ham's gone mouldy

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Parma Ham's gone mouldy last won the day on December 7

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  1. Ooh you little beauty @KiwiScot…thank you! I certainly didn’t.. Switch to another women’s game please: Barca vs Eibar - Home win Parma
  2. I missed out something potentially hugely positive, that I think has occupied and troubled the minds at Colney for a long while… We have observed that goals and goalscorers can hide a multitude of sins. Particularly if the kind of goals scored are weaponish. This would mean a particular skill (say direct free kicks) that is hard to prevent and - absolutely ideally - doesn’t require a difficult assist to set up. I will whisper it quietly though I think something we saw versus Bristol - and deducting the joys of a last minute winner - might have explained 5 year contracts, erratic team selections and substitutions, frustration, loving pushes and Wagner running 50 yards into the pitch and the player pile on… …which - come on!!! - we all absolutely loved didn’t we?… Wagner is a (school) teacher. Idah does - and pretty much always has - driven the coaches mad with his passive, laissez-faire attitude, his seemingly inability or lack of awareness as to when to engage his considerable natural gifts. For those of you thinking gifts as in Buendia or Wes, you are wide of the mark. I am (sadly and painfully for me personally!) thinking of the moment the club doctor at Parma advised that I was sought out because I was ‘the right height, shape, strength and speed’. My own self image was that of Le Tissier-meets-Litmanen. So that was blown out of the water. Idah is another one of the doctor’s dreams. Except he hardly ever uses any of it. And everybody waits. And dreams of what he could - should - be. And it doesn’t happen. And it doesn’t even look like happening. And the model - any and all of them for Norwich so far - fall down at strikers. We can’t afford to buy them. We can’t just grow them. We can search for them, but they are so noisy on data platforms that we’ll never get there first or offer enough even at the earliest stages. So we look at the doctor’s report, ignore the grass and just wait and hope on Adam Idah. Ireland - with even less choice - do the same. So we’re comforted that we’re not completely blindly dreaming. And Wagner subs him early, drops him regularly, cuddles him privately, kicks him publicly, tries to wind him up, tries….anything….…. …..then Kenny flicks a lowish rent ball into the channel - something we’ve seen a million times. It’s an easy, low odds, almost breathing-space defensive ploy that Farke wouldn’t like much, used to get-them-turned, get them running back to their own goal, something to chase…any player on the pitch could hit that ball 50 times a game…it’s ok, bit of old-school doesn’t-hurt-you football… …then he does it. He engages mentally. He puts a bit of shoulder into the defender. Who senses his pace and power. He distracts him a bit. Another nudge. Disturbed, the defender misjudges the flight and bounce. He uses his strength and gets across him. He runs on a line that blocks the defender. He cuts directly towards goal. He holds him off easily. He gets the ball out of his feet and opens the goal. He opens his body and gets his head up. He side-foot nudges past the onrushing keeper…. ……that is perfection. Perfection! Not Buendia. Not Wes. Not even Pukki. I’d have gone mental as a coach as well. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. That’s what we dreamed was there. That’s it! ‘I’ll just show him replays of that goal on loop, on every screen at Colney, every minute of every day for evermore…!!...’ Buendia couldn’t do it. Wes couldn’t do it. Even Pukki couldn’t do it (like that). Goals from nothing. No need to do anything clever by anyone else. And how do you stop it? Now that’s a weapon.Ooh weapons. Lovely! Whisper it. Have we seen the future (again)? Parma
  3. Couple of strong pups this week…looks good … In bocca al lupo @Indy ed ai tutti i voi belli PUPetti … ..have a nice little trip to curious old Belgium this week for: White Star W vs OH Leuven W - Away win As for @Leedscanary ‘s Norwich bet let’s have a quadcast of: BTTS, Norwich to win, more than 2.5 goals, Idah to score Parma
  4. Another terrific one. I’d go with more or less all of this. Parma
  5. Love this one. Out of reactions today. You could well be right. Parma
  6. Just on 3 cousin - and knowing that it will be of particular interest to you - Mark was both surprised and delighted that a scheduled interview with the FT actually focused majorly - and unexpectedly - on his involvement with Norwich City (as opposed to Crescent and whatever issue he thought was the reason for the piece)… …it should not have escaped anybody present that he was clearly delighted by this ‘micro-celeb’ status…. ….and another one gets bitten…. Parma
  7. Much of the last year - and the decisions taken within it - look like attempting holding pattern management. Whether ‘holding pattern management’ is really possible, desirable or appropriate I leave others to judge. I think I would certainly lean to @Petriix ‘s broad view that earlier decisions led to later more forced moves, including clumsy short-term attempts at ‘holding’ and a drift away from any meaningful pattern of play and clear ‘project’ or identity. This is where the repeated warnings in the masterclasses about Shakespearean fulcrum moments and the action turning were I’m afraid prophetic. I don’t really feel like apologising for that, particularly as they were expressed in real-time, and as many others saw it too. We do know Norwich City. Delia feels an era passing, we feel an enormous opportunity missed and a rather careless destruction of precious momentum. Parma
  8. It’s not for everyone…..I’d say it’s not for about…what?….say 20% of fans….? Parma
  9. Following the AGM I feel that this sporting thread and the Mark Attanasio financial thread are converging. As I suppose they must. Delia came over a little resigned, disillusioned and deflated before, during and after the meeting. I suspect much that was said by Attanasio, Knapper and others in the audience rather fed into that feeling too. The feeing of an era passing. ‘We do not have to guess if we can read the book’ is one of my father’s wisest sayings. For those who were really paying attention, there was a lot said - a lot of hiding in plain sight - much of which we had speculated, observed and calculated. Delia referred to the past, to rescuing the club, to the fear of debt, to where we have come from. Mark Attanasio spoke of now being ‘Comfortable with the debt’. Ben Knapper spoke of decisions going forwards that could be made ‘on a sporting basis rather than a financial one’ These are both significant changes. Avoiding the extreme cliff-edge of absolutist self-funded Finances allows for Sporting decisions to not be compulsive acts of self-harm. In practical terms this means you sell Buendia after relegation, not in the summer before promotion having promised the squad to ‘come back stronger’. Attanasio is ‘comfortable with the debt’ because it is now internal. Though of course it also floats on a bed of equity. Yes realisable only upon sale - and upon profitable sale at that - though Attanasio was ‘only this morning talking to Australia’ about ‘third-party funding’. He repeated several times that he will ‘later…look for third party funding’. Let me clarify in practice: buy into the club cheaply as it struggles, take overall control, try to achieve success within the nominal equity gain bequeathed, sell minority shares on the up to third parties, end up with an appreciating asset. The club owns its own stadium, its own training ground, further land and the squad of players are liquid assets. It’s a different world we are going into now. Some benefits, some drawbacks. As @nutty nigel has repeatedly pointed out, fan ownership goes with Delia. Local connections go with Delia. It stretches back a long time. The question ‘why would you invest in a baseball club in Milwaukee?’ is a perfectly reasonable one. Here are some positives noises from Mark Attanasio for balance: MA: Finance Committee plus MA Group meet, budget 2 years ahead, ‘comfortable with current debt levels, must compete in your division, must have Premier as goal’ MA: We must be a Premier League Team […to achieve our ultimate aims..] MA: We will later look for 3rd parties to come on board [invest, buy stocks]..talked to Australia MA: 35 of 92 football clubs now have American owners or notable involvement.. MA: Compete…NCFC attractive…community..similar Milwaukee..passion…sport..family MA: Crescent Capital London office..FT editors talked about Norwich! MA: Stadium, infrastructure [Ressler]… MA: #1 Competitive Team…’keep trying to compete’.. MA: Keep adding players…repeatable system…(with BK reports and analysis)..provide finances…younger players…actually costs money…academy not often ready immediately…buy quality MA: We’ll support BK recommendations..firm foundations in place to make sure we stay up… MA: Correlation between money and success clear MA ‘I know how to raise capital…will bring in 3rd parties..about Finance …aligned group at Milwaukee…’ Mark has been talking to Ben for a while. They talk. They text. For anyone left in any doubt at all about lines of demarcation and roles and responsibilities ( @Don J Demorr ) Ben and Mark made it very, very clear. There has been a sudden land grab. All the sporting power is now with the Sporting Director: BK: The Head Coach sets up the team, works with them during week (‘just like the American model in Baseball’)…’all the recruitment is my responsibility’ Of course ‘it would be crazy to bring players the head didn’t want’ and ‘that won’t happen’ …but that role is at my door… The Head Coach - let’s call him Daniel for argument’s sake - will still be the lightning rod for ills of course. This of course exactly suits the smiling Attanasio. He now (already) holds Ultimate power. He’s putting the money in. He may say that he doesn’t fully understand the game, though he does understand data. He can check it. Measure it. Watch over it. Control it. He carefully selected Ben Knapper due to his data background. Knapper referred to ‘Mark’ regularly. There were lots of candidates. ‘CEO types’….Director of football types with more ‘experience’….though someone who mirrors the baseball process, is data-driven, fresh, young and grateful (easily-controlled by the paymasters?) is perfect. Yes I suppose so. I think Ben Knapper came over extremely well by the way. We liked him. Different threads and thoughts often co-exist in football and life though… Ben Knapper stated the following: BK: Deploying assets on the field that are depreciating is to be checked BK: Roles & responsibilities, lines of communication…(all recruitment is driven by me) BK: Age increase in squad was conscious decision [back then]..leadership..reacting to other situations…went too far…[over]reacting to other situations… BK: Oldest squad in league…not good for self-funded..so assets to be injected into the squad…young age = value..that’s the focus going forwards..youth is my personal history…must also give them exposure! BK: Injuries..highest output in league…explosive actions [a lot to ask for oldies?] BK: Long term view is the way that I work BK: Ultimate responsibility for recruitment with SD [Head Coach must be happy and on board] BK: Age profile key ….there will be money from MA to invest in quality youth (not cheap) In case we were in any doubt that Mark’s money is going to change how Ben can act, Anthony Richens confirmed the following: AR: Debt has moved from external to internal AR: ‘Can now make decisions on a sporting basis’…(so couldn’t before)… ’..It’s ultimately still a player trading model ….and always will be..’…(though not sporting self harm as previously) AR: £2.8m historical tax error [Auditors missed?] The questions the Company issued in writing to the club for the AGM were surprisingly not referred to or addressed… 1.‘In light of your investment in the redeemable C-preference shares, your re-financing of other club debt and your notable history in finance – all set in context against a backdrop of the increasing trends and desires in America for consolidated multi-sport franchises - what is your exit strategy? 2. ‘Did you or any of your connected companies take a commission for any of the debt refinancing?’ 3. ‘Given Delia and Michael’s repeated insistence that they would “not take a penny out of the club” do you consider there to be an inherent equity gain in the business and what do you internally value the equity gain at? What will you do with it? ….Though of course they were ultimately questions that were protective of Delia and her legacy - and questioning of Mark Attanasio’s ultimate intentions and motivations. Our belief is that they reached the right ears as intended. Regardless they de-facto got answers at the meeting in any case. Hiding in plain sight you see. 1. Pump some early money in*, increase the value of the overall asset, take on Third Party investment. On the phone to Australia about it this morning ’ (Australia? Not the tightest of criteria then….) 2. Bought C-Pref. Other internal (own companies or finance partners). No mention of charging interest. ‘Comfortable with it’. No mention of under what circumstances such loans or interest might be redeemable. 3. Early funds injected up to £43m (our figures) are riding on Delia’s handed-on unrealized equity gain. This can cover the early cost of buy in, then can sit on the Equity until a major offer appears ‘that can’t be refused’… It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suggest that Attanasio ‘looking good’ early on is actually doing so with Delia’s money. She has been a wonderful benefactor to Norwich. She gave what she could. It wasn’t enough and as time went on we had to injure ourselves to survive without even much of an overdraft. We were scarred by debt in a world that had fallen in love with it, got addicted to it and used it as a financial game of pass-the-CDF-parcel. It was all a bit of an anachronism and - along with Webber’s desire to polish his own buttons - it cost us Farke, a year of Buendia at the top level when we were on the up and left us with daft players we shouldn’t use, who in the end nobody wanted. Plus of course it cost us the entire positional Play club-wide education. Very expensive that bit I’d suggest. I suppose you could argue that Delia’s relative football poverty is to blame for Webber’s twisted sporting contortions, though goodness me he could hardly have sent us into a worse tailspin if he had tried. As Greg Downes said recently when asking about the import of Josh Sargent’s injury on Norwich’s season: ‘ yes ok….but come on…he’s not a world beater…’ Wagner’s interesting early season model with Sargent and Barnes as double false 9’s was quite interesting. It got worked out pretty quickly I thought and it certainly risked exposing our ongoing Achilles heel of lack of central defensive midfield protection (be it on-field personnel, tactics, zonal or suitable psychological profile). Doing it with Idah, Hwang or whoever looks daft. Knapper-Attanasio will keep Wagner on a while - until something genuinely better can be found and attracted, though I suspect that it will be the roles and responsibilities, lines of communication and internal land grabs that are the major focus for American minds first….lots of control mechanisms now being put in place I’d suggest. ‘I’m not a control freak’ he repeated several times in several interviews. On a personal note - and yes as a counterpoint - It isn’t long ago that we had a Black Manager, a gay Director and a woman owner. A real fan too. Call me sentimental, but I thought that was rather wonderful. Now we’ve got an American financier. Just like everyone else. I have talked before about Norwich ‘solving yesterday’s problems’. Many businesses are unintentionally run like that. Ben Knapper even gently criticized the ancien regime at Norwich for it. I can’t help thinking that the little bit of extra money that Attanasio can lay his hands on was needed to keep Buendia for a year, keep Skippy in the building for another year and keep Farke ‘I don’t understand changing head coaches so often’ and the positional play methodology flowing through the pristine fields of Colney. That’s all yesterday now though. Attanasio might now find himself watching steaming columns of Matrix data, throwing some good money at the worst glitches, though finding we are actually quite a long way away from where we were. And it’s a long, draining and rather expensive journey back to 22nd. And then you’re still a bloody long way - sportingly and financially - from 17th. Though of course Australia will no doubt help you out at that point…. Delia holds her head in her hands when we lose. She had delegated authority and responsibility to others so she could stay a fan. It has cost her in the end. She has had to take Mr Right Now. I suspect she is questioning it all a little… …though the tectonic plates have moved and she is now discovering the power of debt. Parma
  10. How careful with words would you be for a £43m unrealized equity gain that rolls over into your exit strategy? Parma
  11. It’s a viewpoint worth expressing. He is often the mouthpiece. It’s editorial and one-sided, which is entirely the unashamed intention. Perfectly valuable for balance. Parma
  12. We built our own business data analysis programme 15 years ago and have continued to refine it. The benefit of your own data is that the key input questions are inherent to the programme ‘from the ground up’. AI is absolutely genius, though it is the framework parameters that ‘narrow the camera’ that are key, along with what pool of data the parameters apply to. You could certainly tailor a programme strictly for yourself, harvesting only certain kinds of data that you feel apply to you and get a a very different outcome from a wider, shared programme that you later filter. This is probably a great deal more realistic and feasible today than it would have been a very short while ago, as @Feedthewolf states. One fundamentally - and eternally - important factor must be borne in mind when using data however. Football is a low-scoring game, with some key elements (data) vastly more impactful on the result than others. It is quite easy to collect enormous teams of data - stretching back minutes from an assist-goal for example - and suggest it all had an effect. What a fan and keen watcher might note is that Buendia just did something that others can’t do and Pukki just had a special knack for a certain kind of finish. The data that lead up to Buendia might not then be terribly relevant (and there would be a huge amount of it versus the final two key actions). Having said that, if you wanted Buendia to receive it more in certain areas, that previous data might help you instruct others how to achieve that pattern more frequently. Baseball lends itself to this analysis extremely well, whilst the fluid, open, unpredictability of football make it very tempting for owners to reduce that feeling of some randomness so they can have control (and rely less on messiah like figureheads whose money it isn’t..’ To be Luddite however - and to repeat an ancient truism that the old boys like (and is yet to be bettered) - ‘both boxes….both boxes’. Can you find a gnarly warrior who desperately want to keep ‘em out and can you find a fox who just wants to stick it in? Parma
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