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Daniel Brigham

A new sense of fun can end Fulham hoodoo (latest blog)

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Neil Adams'' appointment has lifted the mood around Carrow Road. A new

sense of adventure can lead them to victory over Fulham, but history is

against them.
By Daniel BrighamWelcome back, fun. It''s good to see you again. In

a season of Chinese water torture, each dropped point needling into our

consciousness and fuelling our frustration, what a wonderful sense of

release this week has brought. That horrible atmosphere of footballing constipation has been lifted, allowing us to have fun again while following Norwich. Finally

David McNally, sat in his mountain lair, stroking his cat and staring

at the banks of CCTV cameras in front of him displaying every hidden

corner of Carrow Road, decided to press the big red panic button. It''s

had an immediately positive affect, bringing in a new manager liked by

the majority, a hero last year who possesses a winning sense of

adventure. Like the start of the summer holidays everyone is

giddy, talking about their plans for the future, about Norwich''s

starting XI* on Saturday. But a trace element of fear remains. There are

still bad things on the horizon: the caravanning holiday in Morecombe

Bay, being forced to play with that weird kid next door with the braces;

the huge six-pointer versus Fulham; the very real threat of relegation.

Because it''s still there, isn''t it. The facts haven''t changed

since the full-time whistle on Saturday sent clappers flying and

supporters crying. However much the mood has been lifted, Norwich still

have 450 minutes to save their season. Or, more realistically, they have 90 minutes. Jack Bauer has nothing on this. Norwich

have to win against a team they haven''t won against since 1986; a team

we''ve lost to 11 times out of our last 15 meetings, who have scored 23

goals past us in our last 10 matches. Let’s not forget this is Fulham

we''re talking about, the friendliest of friendly clubs. We are the

animal equivalent of a Jack Russell getting its ass repeatedly kicked by a

cat.It isn''t just Fulham Norwich are immune to, though. Oh no.

It''s the whole of London. In the league, Norwich haven''t won in the

capital for 11 matches. Seven of those have been defeats. Oh, and if you

didn''t feel like sticking forks in your eyes just yet, Norwich have

failed to beat any bottom-six side away from home since the beginning of

last season.So Neil Adams has rather a lot of history to lift

if he is to make a winning start to his managerial career. But maybe,

just maybe, things are in Norwich''s favour this time. It is a huge match

for both sides, one that will probably determine their fate. Both sides

will be on edge. Fulham, drilled by part-man, part-Paddington Bear

Felix Magath, will have the advantage of knowing their roles, of knowing

their system. Frighteningly they look a tougher side than earlier in

the season, when they managed to win at Carrow Road and roll us over in

the FA Cup replay. But Norwich have an extra, crucial element: freedom. The

players have spent the season with a ball and chain strapped to their

feet. They have been terrified of making mistakes. The change of manager

will have removed those chains, will encourage them to play with a bit

more freedom. They will be trying to win the match rather than settling

for not losing it. While the home fans at Craven Cottage seem to

prefer supping G&Ts and discussing their next tennis meet-up,

Norwich will be roared on by fans who have also had the ball and chain

unlocked, finally travelling to an away game hopeful of a positive

display and a positive result. The dread has turned to nervous, excited

anticipation. When was the last time that happened? That mix of fun, freedom and adventure might just be enough to win on Saturday. It has to be. *

Here’s my XI, for what it’s worth: 4-2-3-1: Ruddy; Whittaker, Bassong,

Turner, Olsson; Tettey, Howson; Redmond, Hoolahan, Pilkington;


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Excellent again;   love the gecko-esque allusion of "Panic is Good" message and illusion of pre season hope  - a 5 game season where we need a good start a must.   Beach party in the stand anyone?


That first goal (if one happens) will determine the result so we must keep things tight in midfied, I would be happy with that line up,  more so with martin in place of whit, but can''t see snoddy being dropped. 


Hoping the future is yellow...

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I like how you write Daniel, very enjoyable.

However your starting XI is bizarre to say the least! Turner straight back in after injury?! Whittaker for Martin? Redmond AND Hoolahan starting away from home?! No Johnson?! Ricky up front! Blimey.

Anyway, keep up these posts. You have a flair for writing

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Ha, thanks Jonzey. Martin''s been consistently awful this season, Johnson awful against Fulham at Carrow Road and in the Cup replay, hoping Adams will get the best out of Ricky and Redmond and Wes will put Fulham on the back foot. 2 holding midfielders give plenty of protection ... hopefully!

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Another good ''un Daniel and always appreciate a bit of gallows humour although I might not need any gallows if we stay up.

I feel sorry for you if your shoulders rub too closely to some of your national football journalists in the smoke.

This last week has shown most of them to be what we have always thought.

Your skills and intelligence must shine like a beacon amongst the smog emanating form their ignorant mouths!!

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Daniel, your blog has done absolutely nothing to restrain the unbridled giddy excitement that you just know is going to get well and truly extinguished at some point, maybe in about 27 hours. It serves only to pump us up even more and raise the expectation levels! I don''t know whether to thank you or tell you to shut it! 

Love the Magath/ Paddington analogy!

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Brilliant once again Daniel.

Such a relief from the "inner", "outer", "shake it all abouter" stuff that this forum has become a rest home for in the past 6 months.

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