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Daniel Brigham

Let's talk about the positives - latest blog

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With the atmosphere around Carrow Road bubbling with discontent, Daniel Brigham searches for the positivesAn

unwise man or woman once said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say,

don''t say anything at all”. It''s right up there with “two heads are

better than one''” as one of the great pointless sayings. Nothing

nice to say about bankers? Best keep quiet. Struggling to say something

nice about those Typhoo adverts starring Ben Fogle? Stay schtum. And,

for the record, anyone who''s watched Jamie Carragher butt in on Gary

Neville on Sky Sports this year will realise that, actually, one head is

often better than two. However, with the Wes Hoolahan saga only

increasing the levels of negativity around Carrow Road – including in

this column – perhaps it''s time to think of something nice to say about

Norwich. After all, such relentless negativity, however warranted, can

get a bit tiring, and tiresome.  So let''s give positivity a go.

Let''s head into the footballing woods and hug a massive tree. Let''s ring

up Canary Call and tell Rob Butler his beard is really nice and that

yellow is a lovely colour for a football kit. After all, it''s only

football. It certainly doesn’t matter more than life and death (another

ridiculous saying, Bill). It''s just a silly game.  Norwich are

12th, five points above the relegation places in the one of the

toughest, most entertaining leagues in the world. There are some very

big clubs, from Leeds to Blackburn and many in between, who are

currently very envious of our position. Every weekend we have

the privilege of watching our team scramble for points against Hull or

Crystal Palace and being obliterated by Arsenal, Manchester City or

Chelsea, which is a whole lot better than scrapping for points against

Tranmere and being destroyed by Colchester. So how are we the

12th best side in England? Well, it''s not because of the goals we''re

scoring. Norwich have found the net only 18 times this season. That''s

not good enough. But we should at least be thankful that we''ve scored some

goals. Derby County managed a record-low 20 in the entire 2007-08

season. They averaged a goal every 171 minutes, exactly the same time it

takes to get a train from Norwich to Luton, allowing you to

experiencing the same levels of frustration, hopelessness and

self-loathing that the Derby fans must have felt. These things

can turn around though. While Manchester City fans have to wait only 30

minutes on average to celebrate a goal this season, in 2006-07 they

scored just 10 (ten) at home. They managed to avoid the drop by

keeping things tight and this is how Norwich, despite perceptions, are

currently staying afloat. Of the 35 goals we’ve conceded this

season, 19 have come in four matches. Who were those games against? The

current top four, who between them have scored 213 times this season. So

only the four best sides in England have put more than two past us in

the league while against the rest of the division we’ve let in 16 goals

in 19 games – with eight clean sheets. That’s not just positive, that’s

bordering on defensive tight-arsery of immense proportions. Our back

four may at times look as secure as Alan Brazil on a tightrope but

unless we''re facing the likes of Suarez, Ageuro, Ozil and Hazard the

stats, at least, show we are expert Scrooges.  In a world where

Tony Pulis is receiving praise for successfully turning Selhurt Park

into the Land That Goals Forgot, then perhaps we should go easier on

Chris Hughton. He might not know how to get Norwich attacking but he

sure as hell knows how to rigidly arrange his defenders. If ever you got

him to organise a party there might not be any sex, drugs and rock and

roll but you can bet your life on there being some quality nibbles and a

pleasant MOR soundtrack. And sometimes that''s enough. There are

other reasons to say nice things. We''ve got a herd of young exciting

players who can only get better. This even includes Ryan Bennett who,

despite having a troubling tendency to back off like a toddler getting

yapped at by a sausage dog, has enough nous and ability to become a

Premier League regular. Throw in Leroy Fer, Nathan Redmond, Anthony

Pilkington, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and the Murphy twins and we have a

team of youthful potential. Off the pitch we’re also healthy.

You only have to take a look at Portsmouth sitting just six points above

the relegation zone in League Two – 77 places below their great rivals

Southampton – to realise that throwing money at chasing glory can end

rather badly. Could you imagine if Ipswich were that many places above

us? Could you imagine the Pink’Un messageboard? It would have exploded

with hate and misery, covering Norwich in a toxic, pink sludge

survivable only by cockroaches and Delia Smith. Perhaps things

aren''t so bad, then. We’re 12th in the Premier League, we get to watch

the best teams in the country every week, we have potential to improve.

So Hughton is preventing Norwich from fulfilling their enormous

attacking promise, so I think he should be replaced, so the games might

not be a whole lot of fun at the moment, but sometimes it''s nice to

remember the positives – and there are many of them. It could be

a lot worse. A lot worse. After all, we could be forced to sit through

90 minutes of those Typhoo adverts with that buckwheat salad of a

presenter, Ben Fogle. Now they really are f*cking sh*thouse. Daniel Brigham is features editor of The Cricketer magazine.You can follow him on Twitter: @cricketer_dan

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Thanks for that Daniel - a good read. Particularly enjoyed:

"If ever you got him to organise a party there might not be any sex, drugs and rock and roll but you can bet your life on there being some quality nibbles and a pleasant MOR soundtrack. And sometimes that''s enough."

Triffic!

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Agreed we do have youthful potential...but this is being stifled by a clueless manager and his associates. There are a lot of good things in place, but one major stumbling block.

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I''m more frustrated than upset or disheartened. We could be so much better if we had that one guy to link the midfield and attack! Even more galling, is that he''s either injured (howson), unsettled (wes) or a £6m fee away (siggy or a.n.other).

Hughtons blindness to not see that we need this player is staggering. Perhaps we would be allowed to nick Nick Powell (no pun intended) from Wigan? He has potential to be that guy.

I do have to say though, that the defence looks solid at the moment, Bassong is better than he was at the start of the season and Ruddy is back to his best. Enjoyed Bennett this month too.

Please oh please Chris, you''re a great guy and have done a good job in keeping us afloat after Lambert but don''t ruin your good work Roeder style, get that CAM/ CF in!

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Thanks for the compliments. I think Hughton is wasting our best attacking side since the early 1990s - and I''ve spent way too long moaning about that - but sometimes it''s good to remind myself we''re 12th in the Premier League.

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Another good blog Daniel thanks. The positives about our players are immediately offset by a manager and first team coaches who reduced our superb squad on Tuesday night into the look of a pub team.

The only flare we are ever going to see at The Carra is a warning of abandon ship.

Be lucky!

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