May 22, 2012

Drury’s night, but the Holt shadow looms large

From before the final whistle of our 2-0 victory over Aston Villa, almost all coverage and ‘news’ regarding the canaries has been based on speculation and rumour. Lambert’s future was the focus for the early part of last week, without a conclusive statement confirming his plans to stay on the rumour mill went into overdrive. Again though, this was based on speculation and conjecture. Some fans were drawing up lists of people taking over from the soon to be departed boss. others far more sensibly, albeit probably more out of hope than genuine expectation simply saw it as Lambert being Lambert, giving less than nothing away and strengthening his position with every word uttered.

From Lambert we moved on to the Euro 2012 squad announcement, John Rudy being named in the squad was fantastic news, John is there on merit based on his appearances this season. Hodgson for me got his goalkeepers spot on. I am though unsure of whether our number one is ready to be a starting international goalkeeper. The experience of a going to a major tournament will be invaluable, but I for one hope he watches from the bench. His time hopefully to come in the future. Continue reading

April 20, 2012

Sponsor Craig Richardson and Team Norwich City

© EDP / Archant Norfolk

Sunday sees the London Marathon and the culmination of Team Norwich City’s fundraising efforts for the Community Sports Foundation. Whilst a lot of attention will go to Hall of Famer Iwan Roberts and Chief Executive David McNally, I’m putting my support behind another team member whose story you may not be quite as familiar with.

Craig Richardson was 22 when he was lost his leg below the knee. He was in the near vicinity of an improvised explosive device during his patrol as a Senior Aircraftsman in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Now 25, Craig has been through intensive rehabilitation and with the assistance of a carbon fibre running blade will be competing in the Virgin London Marathon this Sunday. Continue reading

April 19, 2012

Not our best kit launch

...but probably not our worst

What a difference ten months makes.

Last June we launched our new home kit with a perfectly executed marketing campaign. Creato In Italia, a little bit of Italy in Norwich. Everything about the launch was classy and befitting of a side taking their return to the top division very seriously. I remember rolling off my Turkish sun lounger to the internet cafe and feeling a strange sensation, satisfaction at a Norwich kit launch. There was a realisation of the type of club we were or at least were on the way to becoming. As a football shirt enthusiast the reveal was like Christmas. The club looked great, the video was well received internationally and promptly ‘went viral’.

The reception and attention last summer’s promotional effort gained will have put more pressure on the powers that be as they considered how they were going to launch another new home shirt.

As a fan base the yellow army are loyal, but not afraid to speak their mind if they believe they are being taken advantage of financially. Launching another change of strip this summer signals a fulltime commitment to a one year shirt cycle, the launch was going to have to surpass last years to satisfy all corners of the newly defined Canaries globe.

Sadly this year Norwich City went viral for all the wrong reasons. Last year we were revered for our stylish launch, this year we formed the basis of bbc.co.uk’s most read news story, and we trended on twitter just in between the tensions in Bahrain and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. Still, at least there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Continue reading

April 13, 2012

Lambert’s biggest weekend since last weekend

Manager of the Season?

 

With a month of the season remaining we have no concern for relegation. Instead Norwich are now spending their final month of a very successful season plotting upsets against some of the biggest names in English football. Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal are all approaching their end of season clashes with Paul Lambert’s men with heightened trepidation. This following Norwich’s season best performance, beating Spurs at White Hart Lane. This week Lambert has jumped into pole position with many for the manager of the season prize. As Rodgers and Swansea falter, winding down towards the end of the season in the fashion of a Blackpool-lite if you will. Lambert’s stock is rising and his side are gaining the acknowledgement and praise that some fans have been craving for many months.

Harry Redknapp’s lack of preparation and tactical shortcomings were exposed relentlessly by Lambert on Easter Monday. His side was motivated to a superhuman level. Instilled with a determination and win at all costs mentality that demanded attention and headlines. Tottenham away will come to be seen as a seminal moment in Lambert’s managerial career, and certainly in his time as Norwich manager. There is a chance though that it is only a precursor to this weekend. Manchester City’s visit to Carrow Road could take brand Lambert worldwide. With Manchester’s United and City back within fighting distance at the top, and despite Roberto Mancini’s insistence to the contrary, the title race is still alive. Although nothing short of three points at Carrow Road for Man City on Saturday will keep it that way.  Lambert’s Norwich learned the lessons of the December 27th, when they were swept aside by a Tottenham side who at the time looked Champions League qualification certainties. On Saturday the question will be have they learned from the 5-1 dismantling they received earlier in December at the Etihad by the then champions elect. Should Norwich perform a second miracle in the space of six days and all but mathematically deny Manchester City the title, Lambert will be above all radars in European football and a new chapter will begin immediately. Continue reading

March 12, 2012

Thoughts on Wigan, and why we’re better than booing

Another point towards survival is the party line following yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Wigan, and after watching how the game unfolded you have to take it as a point gained. When a team are fighting for their lives in the way Wigan are they are never going to be a so-called ‘easy game’.

Over the ninety minutes i don’t think at any point did we approach anything like our best football, we have played far better and lost games. Paul Lambert’s changes may have led partly to the lack of fluidity, the midweek trip to Spain convinced the boss to change the line up considerably with five alterations to the lineup that lost narrowly in the Britannia bore fest. Creativity largely replaced substance and width, Hoolahan, Fox and Jackson all recalled along with the textbook Lambert wildcard selection, Andrew Crofts playing on the right hand side of the midfield diamond. Adam Drury also returned to give Russell Martin the rest so many have called for. Continue reading

March 7, 2012

That difficult second season

We've got to go to the Britannia again..

(@twitchut is a season ticket holder at #ncfc and writes for Little Norwich whenever I can convince him)

We’re staying up. There, I’ve said it.

So now let’s look forward to next season. That difficult second season in the Premier League™ that has accounted for so many teams who did well in their first season in the land of milk and honey but were relegated the next year. Like ‘Finidi’ George Burley’s 1p5wich just to pick a purely random example out of the air.

Reading are a more recent example after finishing 8th in their first season in the Premier League™, as are Hull who just scraped to safety in their first season before bowing to what seemed the inevitable the following season after having appointed Ian Dowie as manager.

There are many problems that McNally & Lambert now face, nice problems to have they are too. I’ve never been so confident in a The Norwich Chief Exec/Manager axis to handle them, but handle them they must.  So what are they? Continue reading

March 5, 2012

Stoke reaction, it may be anti-football but it sure is ‘effective’

Away with your football!

‘Go out there and enjoy yourselves’, one of the most overused managerial clichés going. It does however have a very salient point behind it. Football should be enjoyable, it should be entertaining. The brand of football that Stoke play and aspire to is neither of these things and despite being reassured otherwise I cannot believe Stoke fans happily hand their money over to watch it every week. The word most often used to describe their approach is ‘effective’, and if that is the best compliment your interpretation of the beautiful game can receive you have to expect at the very least to polarise the opinion of the neutral. Continue reading

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February 19, 2012

My summary of a badly missed opportunity

I’m far from happy about yesterdays game. As I was writing my ode to a potential FA cup adventure I knew there was a chance I would end up with egg on my face but I still believed we would give it a very good go. I’m not going to accuse the team of throwing the game, or tweet David McNally and demand a refund. I will though state what I think a lot of fans believed come 4.45pm Saturday. The fans clearly wanted a cup run more than the players. Continue reading

February 17, 2012

Banging the ‘Two games from Wembley’ drum ahead of Leicester

One of my first footballing memories was watching Norwich lose to Sunderland in the FA Cup semi final in 1992. Even as an eight year old I remember trudging home from my mates house devastated that Norwich wouldn’t be going to Wembley. It’s hard to have a great association with the FA cup being a City fan, my best memory would be holding Chelsea to a goalless draw at Carrow Road setting up the replay where Zola scored that goal. Continue reading

February 14, 2012

Promoted Teams Mini League Champions 2011/12

Before the season started I remember reading about the importance of doing well in the ‘mini league’ of promoted teams. The table suggests what I think most of us as fans now believe, that we are staying up.

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