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Silver Canary

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  1. Centre Back is such a key position and the Premier League is a harsh place for learning on the job where you are exposed to a very high quality of opposition players. Both Tettey and Amadou have given their best shot and made a decent effort but it clearly doesnt suit their natural strengths and weaknesses are quickly exposed at this level. It is what it is. On balance Amadou looked more comfortable at CB than Tettey but its a big ask to expect he would be as reliable and consistent in that position as (say) Zimmerman. Unfortunately I fear we are still several weeks away from seeing Zimmerman back and up to speed.
  2. DF comes across very well - clear, articulate and calm. He seems to have a clear philosophy which is about controlled, positive and effective football and recognises that the fans have to be entertained. I  suspect he won''t take any nonsense or excuses and any no-shows will be tacked robustly. It sounds like he will want pretty high tempo football - I wonder how many of the existing squad are actually capable of playing with the physical and mental intensity that this approach is likely to require. There may be some clues from that as to who may be on their way (if we can shift them).SW seems to be very measured and professional. His interviews are good - very straightforward and clear - and he sounds like someone who is pretty knowledgeable and does his homework very thoroughly (something we are going to need more and more as the money pit dries up). All in all I''m feeling a lot happier than a few months ago (even a few weeks ago). Of course it may all go horribly wrong in a gloriously Norwich City way, but somehow these recent interviews with SW and now DF suggest we might have found a good way forward (and certainly better than some serial failure from the current pot of losers suggested by Alan Brazil''s cluck-in). I''d be happy if they found a role for Alan Irvine as I think he could be very helpful to the new Head coach and his team, at least in the short term. But if it doesn''t happen (and Irvine may have other plans) I am pretty relaxed about it. Exciting innit.
  3. At least N''Koulou is likely to get regular game time at Norwich. Cover and competition in the CB position must be a top priority for us this window. If we don''t get this I think we may struggle especially if there are injuries or loss of form. I think Alex Neil has had to compromise his team selections and tactics to try to compensate for the back four this season. Hope we can get decent reinforcements over the line in this window. I''m sure the targets have been identified for some time - it''s up to you Mr McNally - show us what you can do!!
  4. There are a lot of rumours which suggest we are trying to strengthen the squad. My main concern is to get real competition and cover for the centre backs. If we can strengthen there it may allow the midfield and attack to play more positively when the opportunity comes. It can be argued that we have some cover at RCB with Martin and Wisdom (though that may not be really a very good option) but we do not seem to have someone who is able to play on the left side as decent cover for Bassong. It worries me if either or both CBs pick up a long term injury or red card. I''m sure Alex Neil will have identified defensive reinforcements but it is McNally that will do the negotiations re price, wages etc. I''m still confident we shall do business in this transfer window but I hope we dont start playing games with the negotiations and lose out on our primary targets. I hope we can do better than the summer poker playing and get the required players early enough to be able to make a real difference while there are still plenty of games to play - particularly in defence.  I trust AN and hope that the recruitment team can support him and give the lads a hand with the right reinforcements. here''s hoping! 
  5. Good report, as always, Ricardo. I thought we looked well organised and compact all through and we counter attacked with real speed and purpose - something I haven''t seen a lot of this season. All the players gave everything and it would be difficult to pick anyone out - good or bad. There were a few mistakes - but more than balanced by the good things.  They gave us what we hope for - real effort, good football and we looked like a side that deserves to be in the Premier League. Yobo fitted in like he had been there all season and was a real revelation. The midfield looked really good, defensively and offensively and we switched the play across the field and from defence to attack very well. The return of Tetty seems to add some stability and confidence for the other players around him.The referee was awful. I thought at half time that they could have shot one of our players and not get booked. Credit to the players that they did not let it get to them. The atmosphere in the ground was back to its best and it was good to hear the crowd really getting behind the team from all areas. I just hope we can maintain that degree of effort and concentration for the rest of the season. If so - no worries!!
  6. Its a useful opportunity to give Hoops a break and give RVW some game time on his way back to full fitness. I would rest a fair number of the team from the Palace game - there was a lot of the regulars looking like they were running on empty over the Christmas fixtures. If there was ever an opportunity for some fringe players and our young players coming through surely this must be the time.
  7. I don''t see much changing in the bottom 10 clubs - positions may flip up and down a bit but on current performances it seem likely that they will all remain pretty close on points. All these clubs are much of a muchness and it could all come down to a bit of luck (referee''s decisions, injuries at critical times etc) to make the final difference. However any team that puts a decent series of results together can pull away quite quickly. Which is why I hope we will dip into the transfer market (even if its only a couple of loans possibly with a view to buy) to freshen the squad up and give us opportunities to change the style a bit and rest the weary / injured.
  8. Cannot see much chance of getting more than 37 points at present - but it may be enough. While the stats indicate we may pick up the right number of points in the second half of the season, more worrying is that our performances have been poor too often and show little grounds for optimism. There doesn''t seem to be much coherency or consistency about our play and when we go forward we are usually too slow and seem to lack a clear idea of what we are doing. Injuries have played a big part and many of the regulars are looking exhausted. Its worrying that we seem to be getting down to bare bones and could be without key players for some time to come, but also not able to rest some players that clearly need it. That may be critical over the next 6 weeks.Still hopeful but I hope that we can get some fresh blood in "to give the lads a hand" (no sign of that yet) and possibly a little refreshing of the backroom team.
  9. I know its dangerous to read too much into pre-season friendlies but overall it looked a tidy performance - definitely better in the first half. We still seem a little slow and hesitant going forward and Real Sociedad showed the quick one touch penetrating passes in the second half that we could do well to try.Olsson looked strong and pacey. He gave a really committed performance and tried hard to stake his place in the starting XI.Fer is a big unit!!  He seems to be athletic and techically good and to have that languid style which is quite deceptive. He obviously has a good all round game as he looked useful both in the advanced and more deep positions, showing different skills. Him and BJ would be a physically awesome pair in midfield.Howson worked really hard (particularly in the first half), always trying to find space to receieve a pass. He looks more confident on the ball than most of last season.Redmond showed some blistering pace and clearly has loads of potential. He tried to take on too many players at time but he will learn when to release the ball and be more aware of what is going on around him. I can see why some may be a little diappointed with RVW on this showing but I thought he had a decent game. I was very impressed with his movement off the ball. As soon as we regained possession he was busy making runs and losing his marker but we must be able to release the ball quicker to him if we are going to make best use of his talents. The 2 wingers were particularly poor at this. Redmond will learn from experience but on at least half a dozen time when I saw RVW make a serious amount of space with a run but Snoddy had his head down and was charging towards a couple of defenders, focussed on taking them on, or turning back to hold the ball,  when the easier option was to slip the ball through to RVW. RVW is different to what we have had up front recently. We have a new strike force with different styles and skill to what we have had, but we will need to be smarter and quicker with the service to make best use of RVW (and Hooper).Russ Martin deserves a honourable mention. He was composed and organised and I thought had a really good game - especially as he was playing on the left side of the 2 CBs. He does the job calmly and reads the game well so he makes it look easier that it is - and the performance can be  easily overlooked.Overall, I''m still not sure what our best line-up is or where some players best fit in. We may have some more clues on Saturday. The pre-season injury list has been a bit worrying as missing some or all preseason training can be difficult to recover. My main concern is at Centre back - Bassong has been a star in that position and I''m not sure how long it will take before he is back fit enough to come back into the team. Turner looked a little rusty (fair play he been injured) but I think we look a little short of quality in depth there. Someone to compete with Wessi for the creative spark would be really nice too.
  10. I''ll be delighted if they improve the PA system at Carra. I go to quite a lot of matches in Europe and frankly I can often understand what they are saying better than at carrow Road. Now all we have to do is get some competent announcers to replace the gabbling clowns we normally have - and, please, if we are going to have goal music, could they start it up straight away after a goal (sometimes last season it seemed to be coming on just in time for the teams lining up to restart -  perhaps they were not expecting us to score but thats no excuse)
  11. Foggy - I have also heard various rumours about what is possible from people who are supposedly in the know, including the scenario you quoted. I guess that my point is - wouldn''t it be nice if the club gave us just a little info (as hard fact) about what the practical options were (and what was not possible). It isnt going to be commercially sensitive info but would be nice to know. Looking at the club''s finances I would be happier with relatively smaller increments to increase capacity - if that were possible. But we dont know if it is possible or not. Is demolishing the main stand and a complete rebuild the only option. If so it may be quite a time before we could comfortably manage that without putting team development at risk.In the meantime we shall be like mushrooms.
  12. Thanks Cornish - interesting. There must be several avenues to generate funds to offset some of the costs of the Academy as well as the obvious. Of course, when we are more established with a stronger all round team in all positions it will be easier to integrate the young up and coming products of the Academy into the first team squad without putting too much pressure on them - or the rest of the team. I am on balance optimistic about the youth set-up but not going to put too high expectations on them too soon. And after all - Crewe did a decent job of producing decent players which helped them along for many years.
  13. An interesting summary, Purple.On the youth set-up, I have often wondered about what is the true value and cost-effectiveness of the top grade Academy status. There are substantial costs and the benefits are not certain. This has some link with our Premier League status. Some posters have suggested that some recent graduates from the youth set-up (like Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi) might well have been in our squad at Champs level but probably too big a step for the Prem. The academy may produce some good players but will it generate the gems that can compete at this level. A friend suggested to me that Academies were a bit of a vanity project for some clubs. I see where he is coming from but I wouldnt agree as a generality - and not for NCFC. There is a requirement for including a certain number of "home grown" players in the squad and the cost of such players even from the lower leagues is astronomical in some cases - especially compared to comparable players from overseas (at least in the short term). So I guess that trying to uncover some gems is worth while - if risky. If we do I hope the fans will have patience with them. So, overall I''m in favour but cautious re cost.Increasing the capacity is a perennial debate. Perhaps the club can help to clear up some basic queries that do the rounds each time the subject comes up. Fortress Carrow Road probably applies more than anything to the amount of information that can get out to fans these days. I appreciate that some information is commercially sensitive and we would not want information public which gives our competitors an advantage but surely there are areas where the club could be more engaged with supporters. Could the club not simply tell us, for example, whether the foundations and structure for Jarrold stand can (or cannot) support another tier or other expansion. Ditto the City Stand - can a "fulham style" cantilever tier over the existing structure be achieved etc. (I believe what Mr Bowkett actually said was that knocking down and replacing the whole Cty Stand was the preferred option - not the only one). It would be a little bit of positive PR for the club to engage with the fans without any commercial harm on a matter which is an important issue and oft debated.Your summary says it all. I think we are in a decent place right now. We have a good base and can move forward with reasonable confidence. Staying in the Premier League is always going to be a challenge - the margins are so fine that only a few clubs will not even contemplate the risk of relegation as a possibility. But there are many clubs who will be no better than us and several who are worse. Each year we get stronger.
  14. We could argue about the influence of the fixture list until the cows come home. What about those fixtures where a team has a big cup game (even a final) as the next game - does that affect the team selection and / or the motivation of the players. Or what about a team that has just played a game in the far reaches of Eastern Europe mid-week and then has to go away to play in the Prem - are they more likely to get beaten (Mr Wenger seems to think so, for one). There are lots of accidental factors which affect results - injury to key players at crucial times, a ''flu bug decimating the team etc - and in a league where the margins are so slim between success and failure, especially in that mid/lower end of the table, that these can have a significant effect on the position short and long-term. The end of season games are just one element in the lottery. They rarely turn out how they look at the beginning of the season. Most teams - and certainly most players - will have something to play for right up to the end (if only to influence what happens next season). There are exceptions but the majority will not be on any beach - and if they are, it''s only one random element in a season full of random influences on games. To succeed you need to be good - and lucky.
  15. If the suggestion that the players stood up to the manager and took matters into their own hands and that "they don''t have faith in the manager" then I would expect the Board to sack CH without delay and I will be looking out for that announcement shortly. However, if it''s not true then it''s a really malicious bit of muck stirring and does no credit to those peddling it.  Inevitably, some players will be less happy playing for one manager or in one system rather than another - but that''s true at most clubs. If they are truly unhappy and see no chance it will get better they will put in a transfer request. Time will tell - we should see some evidence very soon.Good points by Jim Smith. I would have expected that Hughton and McNally would have regular meetings and McN would have made it very clear (at points throughout the season) what he and the Board felt about progress, performance etc. I expect Hughton would listen. Ditto Hughton would listen to players - but ultimately come to his own decisions based on all the info and experience / knowledge that he has. He will have learned a lot this year - most managers are constantly learning - and the last few games will have given him an insight into some different sides to his players. Of course we should be proud of our players. It''s a very tough league and they have given their all - and been successful. Performances overall have been mixed but they have given us some great moments again. The fact is that they have taken us to nearly halfway up the top league in England (and supposedly the top league in Europe). Not bad. Next season will be another tough battle but we should be in a better position to go forward.
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