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Everything posted by thebigfeller

  1. This. It's absurd. The original looks WAY more modern, weird lion excepted. The new one looks like something a 6-year-old could design on Paint. And in the original, the Canary is cute, happy, relaxed, merrily chirping away. In the new one, it's serious and bordering on angry. It's bizarre!
  2. Both these teams are far too attacking. We've had such a huge list of creative and attacking midfielders and forwards throughout our modern history, but far fewer central defenders and especially defensive midfielders (I genuinely considered Safri for the second team, just to give it some balance!) - but that fits with the club's ethos, so hey ho. I even considered Steen Nedergaard instead of Aarons, just because the latter is so good offensively, so questionable defensively. These teams both date from the mid-80s onwards. I just don't know enough about the players before that time to include them, so apologies to the likes of Ashman, Peters, Keelan, Stringer, MacDougall, Fashanu etc. All time First XI GK Robert GREEN RB Ian CULVERHOUSE CB Steve BRUCE CB Dave WATSON LB Mark BOWEN DM Jeremy GOSS CM Ian CROOK AM Wesley HOOLAHAN RW/F Ruel FOX LW/AM/F Emiliano BUENDIA CF Chris SUTTON Manager: Mike WALKER All time Second XI GK Bryan GUNN RB Maximillian AARONS CB Jon NEWSOME CB Craig FLEMING LB Adam DRURY CM Andy TOWNSEND AM/F Darren HUCKERBY RW Dale GORDON LW Darren EADIE F Craig BELLAMY CF Dean ASHTON Manager: Dave STRINGER Oh, and my favourite ever? 3rd Gordon 2nd Robins (who I've not even included in either team!)... and 1st, the one and only Ian Culverhouse. Years and years ahead of his time, and a fantastic sweeper as well as right back or wing back. Probably the brains behind our rise through the divisions under Lambert too.
  3. Pressing. Total commitment. Controlled passion. Real belief. A manager who's fit straight in and made a decisive change which transformed the match. Crowd roaring the team on. Quality, but also BALANCE: no passing out from the back for its own sake, we mixed it up but remained true to ourselves. Delia and Michael in the stands watching on and beaming. Having shown the immense humility to keep right out of the way of running the football side of the club, they've continued to protect and nurture it in a way so many owners have not. Pukki suddenly looking really sharp. Sargent absolutely astonishing. Rashica coming onto a game. Normann providing the toughness we desperately need. Gilmour looking like a gem who can only get better. Krul cajoling and leading. Hanley never-say-die. Deano emanating calm and equanimity from the sideline. Squeezing the opponents from side to side near the end; nobody racing out and panicking. A set piece goal! A comeback from behind! A home win! And yes, it's only one win - swallows, summers and all that - but cor blimey, that was encouraging. I'm not worried about other sides down the bottom now; I'm focused on us. Show that level of teamplay, that sort of commitment, that kind of response to in-game adversity, and we can absolutely do this. Does anyone on here truly believe we can't? It felt like we belonged yesterday. Truly belonged in the world's best, wealthiest league. And I'll tell you: if we pull this off, all the brickbats we had from the national media will turn into bouquets. We'd become a true model club in its eyes given the football we play, enlightened openness we show as a club, and our self-funding approach at a time clubs in the Championship and further down are falling apart completely. We've made such a superb decision. It feels seamless and completely right. And that precious symbiosis between the team and the fans was there for all to see. It drove us on; it helped us win those priceless three points. And there's so, so much it can do if we're all together as one. What we do as a football club is so difficult in this day and age, so against the odds. But maybe the recruitment wasn't wrong. Maybe we are good enough, under the right manager, to stay up, build and prosper. So no: we've not 'sold our soul'. We've not suddenly turned into 'ruthless bastards'. We've given ourselves a chance; a very real one. And there is all the hope in the world that we can seize it. OTBC
  4. Norway are to exciting football what King Herod was to child welfare.
  5. Watch with Mother would do for me. Flobadob. Flobadobadobadob. WEEEEDDDD!
  6. Don't agree. I got the references immediately and I'm a Luddite par extraordinaire.
  7. We're bloody incredible in promotion chases. We've not failed in one since 2002 and that was the only time we'd failed in one since 1959! We're absolutely shocking at relegation battles. 2013 barely counts given we'd been 7th before Xmas - and if you exclude it, that only leaves 1992 (which was like 1995, only the slide started later, thank heavens), 1988 (an extraordinary turnaround, and the straw I'm clutching at this season), and the legendary 1973. Of course, there have been a decent number of borderline relegation battles in the second tier. With 2008 our most remarkable escape really. 2001 was very creditable too.
  8. Yes. Not least because we can't afford them now. We'll need two or three unexpected bonus wins from somewhere. I wonder if, for example, Smith could win twice at Old Trafford in the same season?! That's the sort of huge boost we'll need if we're to get out of this.
  9. I refer the OP to the apocryphal words of Zhou Enlai, who was reported (probably wrongly!) to have been asked the following sometime in the early 1970s. Q: What do you think about the French Revolution? A: It's too soon to tell.
  10. I agree - but with the caveat that Smith's best work at Villa was during lockdown. When they returned, he'd earmarked particular games as 'must win' or 'must not lose' too!
  11. This. I've never heard anyone do that either. I thought it was fabulous that he mentioned that. And here's the thing: he'll know an absolute ton about us during that time because, of course, Villa were one of our two title rivals! I took it as just another sign of what an ideal fit he is for our club - and if he succeeds, it's fantastic that the Boys of '93 would've played a part in it in a roundabout sort of way. He looks hungry, raring to go, and clearly wants to be straight back in football: with a major point to prove. By contrast, I'm not sure Farke would even be human if he hadn't lost faith and belief during such an interminably appalling run. But that always spreads to the dressing room too. Him probably not believing fully in the new acquisitions is ultimately what sealed his fate; Smith clearly does believe in them, especially as he's been very interested in Cantwell and tried to sign Rashica. The perfect fit, as I say. I am so happy with this decision; I think we're in for some hugely exciting times ahead.
  12. Very good question. All those polls insisting that working class people now mostly vote Tory are laughably out of date in how they define 'working class'. Whereby homeowners or those with a mortgage but without university education are treated as 'working class'... and young people in 50K plus of student debt on poverty wages and with no hope of ever owning a home or obtaining a mortgage are, apparently, 'middle class'. Assets, not income, is the real dividing line nowadays. UK politics still somehow hasn't caught up with that. But capitalism cannot work without access to capital; most people under 40 (even, under 50) don't have it.
  13. "Those mining communities had good working class values and a sense of family values. The men did real men's heavy work going down the pit. There were also some very close-knit communities which were able to deal with the few troublesome kids. If they had any problems they would take the kid round the back and give them a good clip round the ear and that would be the end of that. Many of these communities were completely devastated, with people out of work turning to drugs and no real man's work because all the jobs had gone. There is no doubt that this led to a breakdown in these communities with families breaking up and youths going out of control. The scale of the closures went too far". - Norman Tebbit But y'know, as it appears not to have affected YOU, who cares eh?
  14. Whoever came in at that point did not have to deal with those changes in such an absurdly rapid, harsh beyond belief way. Reagan and Thatcher both made political choices which enriched some and devastated many more. Glasgow, the north-east of England, market towns in many parts of England and much of Wales have never recovered; ditto so much of the northern US. Which is kinda why so many of them ended up voting for Brexit and Trump - as a cry for help, because the system had completely neglected them for so long. Which country in Europe has by far its strongest economy? Germany. How do you think they achieved that? Answer: not by turning themselves into a permanently indebted, service and spiv-based, rentier economy which rewards absolute shysters and punishes most of the population for not being born into inherited wealth and not treating homes like ****ing banks. The UK housing market is practically a pyramid scheme, set in motion by Thatcher selling off council houses by the bucketload. We could've been like Germany. We chose not to be. And both the US and UK are now reaping the consequences of mindboggling levels of inequality and social dislocation caused by exactly the policies you apparently support. The 'class warfare' you speak of has been prosecuted by the rich against the poor for more than 40 years now. Your rant about socialism, meanwhile, is beyond comical. When the government hands out tens of billions to its mates, that is socialism - for the rich. When buy to let landlords pocket housing benefit from tenants they are screwing, that is socialism... for the rich. Meanwhile: - Where were you born, and how? - Who educated you, and where? - Who treated you if you've ever been ill? - How do you get around from place to place? Schools, hospitals, roads... all provided by socialism, which nobody could even survive without. But tell us again about how awful socialism is when the NHS has saved countless numbers of lives during this pandemic - or perhaps you think the UK could've done without them too? Clap them, then ignore them and don't give them a proper pay rise, while the richest get richer than ever. That is Britain; that is the ethos of the Premier League too. Finally, I hope you're not writing as someone who needed furlough or universal credit at any point. Because if either you or any of your friends or loved ones did, that'd be taking cognitive dissonance to undreamt of heights.
  15. Liverpool and Man Utd are so globally massive that they're bound to be exceptions. Man City, like Newcastle, had obvious enormous potential before being bought... and as mentioned, any amount of money is basically nothing to oil-rich nation states. But said nation states won't buy anyone - only clubs with that sort of huge potential. Your point about the 60s and 70s is a very good one. It was also a time when, post-war austerity having ended, attendances started falling from what was an extraordinary peak: when football was about the only leisure activity on offer for so many working class people.
  16. Guardian headline before the play-off semi-final second leg in 2002, as Nigel Worthington highlighted our opponents' tendency to kill, maim and disfigure, and called for strong refereeing: 'Canary demands protection from Wolves'. But the OP is right. We're soft as ****. Probably the 'nicest' club in the whole of England. But that's why I fell in love with the club - Millwall 2-3 Norwich, nice guys beat the ultimate bastards in a game for the ages - and our badge is truly who we are. It's BEAUTIFUL. And it will be only ever be changed in any way over my cold, dead body.
  17. Very happy. I've only ever been happier with a managerial choice when we appointed O'Neill, then Walker second time around. That was an almost boundless euphoria; this is a feeling of contentment, because I think we've nailed the whole process and got exactly the right man for the job. I have an extremely good feeling about this - which I'd liken to when I first saw Alex Neil being interviewed, and just sensed he'd turn us around. I was also rather touched when Dean mentioned our time in Europe. I can't recall any other NCFC manager since 1993 ever doing that at a press conference unveiling. He'll be aware of that time in detail because of course, he's a Villa fan - one of our two title rivals back then! If it all goes to plan, there's something really lovely about our legendary team and manager from that time having played a part in some way. This piece here is also a reminder of why this is such a good fit for a club like ourselves. In our circumstances, we don't need a designer manager or a hipster manager or some wildly risky left-field choice which, if they bombed, would leave us in huge trouble. We just need a truly reliable manager - and we've got him. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/nov/15/norwich-defy-trend-designer-managers-dean-smith-good-hire
  18. Well, you'd have thought so - but what's weird is it just doesn't happen. As football has become ever more stratified and ever more predictable, it's constantly grown in popularity in England and all over the world. I've never been able to understand that. Not only that - but when Everton are 10th, 12th or something, many of their fans demand the manager's head, insist he's useless, then get boundlessly excited when the next bloke starts well... only for the cycle to repeat over and over and over again. Like they all have amnesia or something. Darren Eadie called it 'deja vu' the other week on CC. We're still effectively where we were early in his playing days at the club, and 'ambition' (translation: refusal to spend what we don't have) has always been the watchword at NCFC for as long as I've been a fan. But so many other fanbases must suffer deja vu as well, yet keep watching, keep believing, keep dreaming. A triumph of blind faith over reality - but football's an emotional pursuit. It's never been a rational one.
  19. We can only do that with new, ludicrously wealthy owners. It's flat out impossible without that. And no, Brighton and Palace's horizons have moved beyond mere survival. Because of their wealthy owners.
  20. Cast your mind back to the opening day of 2015/16. We'd been promoted after playing thrilling, exuberant football, culminating on that day at Wembley, when we dominated Middlesbrough throughout and played with a quite magnificent sense of self-certainty. Alex Neil seemed way ahead of almost all his Championship counterparts, and I was certainly hopeful we could stay up and establish ourselves. There followed a horribly rude shock. At home to Crystal Palace, who'd never even stayed up in the Prem until 2014 - exactly the sort of game we had to win if we were to survive - the gulf between the two sides was jawdropping. Terrifying. And the clearest of signs of what lay ahead for us. I was in shock after that match. I couldn't understand how they'd raced so far clear of us. Only two seasons earlier, the Premier League had been embarrassingly bad from 9th place downwards; that Tim Sherwood's Spurs were the sixth best side in England said it all. But then something happened: which has continually intensified since. The quite colossal sums of TV wealth enjoyed by the PL - and crucially, not enjoyed by the other major European leagues - haven't just helped create truly world class sides at the top of the table. They've strengthened various mid-ranking clubs way, way beyond the reach of clubs like ourselves. That makes the league more competitive and is what's behind most of this season's sackings: specifically, it's getting harder and harder to prosper or merely stay in this league, even if clubs spend absolute bucketloads. By the late 1990s, you could already divide the EPL into three tiers: title/European challengers, mid-table, and relegation strugglers. Now, I'd say you can divide it into five tiers - but it's Tier 3 which is growing and growing, with huge consequences for clubs like Norwich. Tier 1: The Big Three. But of those three, Man City and Chelsea have massive inbuilt financial advantages over Liverpool, who are doing superbly to remain more or less on terms with them. Jurgen Klopp is the best pound for pound manager in the world, bar none. Tier 2: Champions League contenders. Man Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal... and now, West Ham too. They're the perfect example of what TV wealth can do for a club, especially when it has a huge modern stadium and is based where everyone wants to play: in London. Of the others, Spurs will mean business under Conte; Arsenal are on the way back; and United provide a salutary lesson that it's not all about money. The formula is money plus strong leadership/management/a clear plan - and United have had none of that for many years now. Thus they've lost their identity and are like some latterday answer to Moratti's Inter in the 90s/early 2000s: endlessly throwing money at the problem and getting nowhere. Tier 3: Everton, Leicester, Wolves, Brighton, Palace. Everton are the most established member of this tier - Nil Satis Nisi Aroundabout Eighth, seemingly forevermore - and have spent absolute fortunes over the last 5 years merely to stand still. Leicester are remarkable, have one of the best owners in the league, and might even move on from Rodgers if they don't pick up soon. Wolves, thanks to the Mendes connection, are straight back in the top 8 after changing managers with no trouble at all; Brighton sacked Hughton in order to transform their style and take the next steps, which they very much have (the underlying stats last season suggested they were much better than their results, as it's proven); and Palace are an absolute revelation. Along with West Ham, I think they're the story of the season so far: this is the best Eagles side I've ever seen by a million miles. Vieira's done a quite wondrous job to this point. Tier 4: The most interesting tier, because it's of such concern for clubs like us. Villa, Newcastle, Southampton, Leeds. Of these, only Saints are established in this tier. They are always just about good enough to avoid trouble - kinda like they were for much of the 80s and 90s too. I've long thought they should be our true model; but they have wealth and we do not. Leeds, meanwhile, just do not spend. Bielsa did the most sensational job getting them so high last season... but they'll disappear into Tier 5 and probably back into the Championship if they won't significantly strengthen. Not least because their Argentinian alchemist will surely leave next summer if they don't. Then come two big, big clubs with serious ambitions. Villa expect to be in Tier 3, minimum, and even to be knocking on the door of Tier 2 before too much longer: that's why they got rid of Smith, because he couldn't take them there. Whether Gerrard can, we'll have to see; I don't think they're in any kind of serious danger though. And of course, the Toon. Who the world and its wife will laugh at if they're relegated - but they'll spend big in January, and I can't see it happening. Newcastle have a long term, step by step plan which goes something like this: Year 1: stay up. Year 2: top 10. Year 3: top 6. Year 4: top 4. Year 5: consolidate top 4. Year 6: title challenge. Year 7: win title. It'll involve several managers, with Howe charged with completing the first two or three steps before they move on. It's considerably harder now than when Man City rose up through the division, but I've no doubt Newcastle can ultimately do it. I'll be very shocked if they go down, and don't even view them as a direct relegation rival given the spending that's coming there. Tier 5: Norwich, Burnley, Watford, Brentford. That's in order of natural club size - but the only ones who behave with the continual ruthless desire to stay in the Prem are Watford. Their, um, unique model of changing the manager practically every week mostly works, but occasionally doesn't - and Ranieri is an erratic, sublime or ridiculous manager who's no sure thing at all. Their owners are who enable them to be in the Prem at all, though. Brentford look in trouble to me now the novelty of Premier League football is wearing off; and I can't see them sacking Frank, rather like we didn't sack Farke in 2019/20. I expect them to go down ultimately. Burnley are, well, Burnley. Who've punched so far above their financial weight for so long under an absurdly underrated manager, but only by playing prehistoric, combine harvester football. Their time at this level is coming to an end sooner or later. And finally, ourselves: with a target nowadays of being not top 26, but top 17. Which, believe it or not, can still just about be achieved by winning a 2004/5-style mini-league of four clubs who I suspect will end up considerably adrift of everyone else. We've made this change because Webber clearly believes our squad is capable of winning such a mini-league. But even if we do, even if we pull off the greatest Premier League escape ever seen, we really can't go much further. Not with our owners' lack of resources. Consider, too, that we might as well expand Tier 5 to include our fellow mezzanine/Premier League 1.5-level clubs, Fulham, West Brom and Bournemouth... and at some point, we won't all be able to come back up at the same time. In other words, if we somehow survive, next season will be about finishing above the three promoted clubs (but Bournemouth look fantastic right now) and/or say, Leeds. Significant growth and improvement is out of the question - and essentially is for every club in Tier 5. All of which means what deep down, we already know. We will never prosper at this level without a change in ownership - which would represent a huge gamble. But that change is rendered even less likely if you note what's happened in English football over the last couple of decades: namely, its competitive depth has steadily moved southwards. Owners and players mostly want to be based in London or at least, on the plush beyond belief south coast: which has helped West Ham, Palace, Brighton, Bournemouth (no more than a League 1 club in natural size), Fulham and Watford. Brighton are now an established top division club, having never been so at any point in their history; ditto their hated rivals, Palace. Yet at the same time, traditional forces have been punished by geography. All three north-east clubs. Leeds and both Sheffield clubs. Derby and Forest too. Look at Forest and Wednesday in particular: they've both floundered terribly for over a generation now. Yes, there are exceptions. Leeds at least are back in the top flight; Leicester are a source of hope to so many clubs our size; and of course, Newcastle now as well. But they're an absolutely enormous club, and spending insane amounts is literally a drop in the ocean for their nation state owners. By contrast, for clubs like ourselves (and our historic twin, Sunderland), the problem is simple. Location, location, location. The Premier League - the Greed Is Good League - is probably the most Thatcherite thing in existence anywhere. What Thatcherism did not only to the north of the country, but almost anywhere outside south-east England, the PL is doing as well. That's the extent of the challenge we face. Even though Norwich is a beautiful part of the world and only two hours from London, we'll always sign our fair share of duds because players don't want to come and agents aren't interested in dealing with a club living within its means. All of which means that fourth from bottom this season would be the most magnificent achievement. And under these owners, is the best we can possibly achieve: likely at any point. I'll celebrate it like an FA Cup win if, somehow, it happens.
  21. These are all our remaining games, together with my predictions, our running points total - and a statement of the bleedin' obvious based on that. Southampton (h) W 8 Wolves (h) D 9 Newcastle (a) L 9 Tottenham (a) L 9 Man Utd (h) L 9 Villa (h) W 12 West Ham (a) L 12 Arsenal (h) L 12 Palace (a) L 12 Leicester (a) L 12 Everton (h) D 13 Watford (a) W 16 Palace (h) D 17 Man City (h) L 17 Liverpool (a) L 17 Southampton (a) L 17 Brentford (h) W 20 Leeds (a) L 20 Chelsea (h) L 20 Brighton (a) D 21 Burnley (h) W 24 Man Utd (a) L 24 Newcastle (h) W 27 Villa (a) L 27 West Ham (h) L 27 Wolves (a) D 28 Tottenham (h) L 28 The games against Burnley, Brentford and Watford are all absolute must wins. But the key to any escape involves unexpected bonus wins v in two or three games. With regard to which, I'd pick out Man Utd home and away (they're a shambles, and Smith's already won there this season - but their away form is generally good); both Wolves games (they'll be on the beach when we go to Molineux); Palace, Everton and West Ham all at home. Unfortunately, the latter will probably be chasing CL football when they come to Carrow Road. We have to hope the other two are pottering around mid-table. We are EIGHT POINTS adrift of where I thought we needed to be at this stage. 28 plus 8 = 36, good enough for survival this season. We need at least 34 (but more likely 35 given our goal difference), to have some sort of chance.
  22. We should be happy with 5. I think we'll pick up 4: beat Southampton, draw with Wolves, lose the next two.
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