Norwich City are back. Thanks to the 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday, the Premier League season can finally begin.
Archive for the ‘Norwich City’ Category
I wrote my first blog for Norwich City blog My Football Writer last week. It looked back on the fantastic season of Paul Lambert and his man.
Here is a snippet -
“As soon as it emerged that Alex McLeish was set for the sack at Aston Villa, tongues were wagging and you can see why. Lambert would be the perfect choice for the Midlands club and would do a fantastic job – no arguments about that.
Would Lambert want to go to Villa Park though? Well, it seems nobody knows what he is thinking and this is nothing new. Who can ever pick the starting eleven each week for example?
Put another way, Lambert is his own man and always will be. When he left Colchester United, people said ‘Why would he go to Norwich? They are in a mess.’ The same can be applied to Villa now, but it doesn’t mean anything with regards to what Lambert will do.
We need to stop pretending we know what will happen with Lambert’s future. Nobody other than the man himself knows what he is thinking. Don’t be fooled otherwise by the ‘Isn’t it a backward step?’ or ‘He wants to be closer to Scotland’ brigade.
We should just enjoy the summer – as much as we can – and conclude that whatever happens, happens.”
Craig Bellamy is a Norwich City legend. I’m not sure if this view is shared amongst all Canary fans, but we haven’t had many players like him come through the academy, so he will always go down as one of my favourite players.
A lot of people forget that he started his career at Carrow Road and I guess how far he has gone since leaving goes someway to explaining that. As recently as last season he was rightly described as one of the best attacking players in the Premier League, after all.
After today’s revelations though, the 31-year-old is now a little closer to life as a Norwich City player. He has signed for fellow Championship side Cardiff City on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City in one of the most surprising transfers for many years.
There are three main factors behind the move though, which, ones you put them together leaves the whole scenario making a great deal of sense.
1. Manchester City didn’t want to sell to any Champions League rivals.
2. Manchester City are still paying his wages.
3. Bellamy supports Cardiff City and wants to be with his family.
You can’t really dispute any of these points in an argument against Bellamy making the move. It is Manchester City’s prerogative not to sell to Premier League rivals and if that means still paying Bellamy’s wages – so be it. It’s not as if they can’t afford it.
Then, on the third point, you can’t deny Bellamy the right to play for his hometown club. He says he is pleased to be doing so while in the better years of his career. He didn’t want to turn out for Cardiff when his best days were behind him.
There is a subplot too – Welsh football. Bellamy is passionate about his country and as captain of Wales will want the best for the national team. Would having Cardiff in the Premier League benefit football in Wales? Undoubtedly and Bellamy will do all he can to help.
It has to be said that as long as he stays fit, Cardiff are now front-runners for promotion. One player doesn’t make a team, but the lift this signing will give the place will be unprecedented.
It could be similar to when Darren Huckerby came to Norwich in 2004. He was the shining light in our Championship winning team and it seems almost certain that Bellamy will be exactly that for Cardiff.
Paul Lambert and Norwich travel to Cardiff at the end of October and although it doesn’t bear thinking about Bellamy running at the likes of Russell Martin and Michael Nelson, I wish him all the best.
Perhaps a slight hamstring injury ruling him out of the game amongst an otherwise productive season wouldn’t be the worst thing. I would like to see him at Carrow Road in January though as I for one will enjoy giving him a warm round of applause.
Let me ask you a question. At this moment in time, would you rather be a Norwich City fan or a Burnley fan? Considering one has just been relegated after achieving just seven wins so far this season and the other has just been promoted as Champions with 28 wins, it is certainly easy to see who the happiest are.
This goes to show that, in football, it is all about succeeding in the level you are playing in. Yes, the Premier League is the place to be, but compare the feeling at the end of this season with the one after the 6-0 defeat at Fulham which condemned Norwich to relegation from the top flight in 2005.
There is no doubt that Norwich had a better team back then with Ashton, Bentley and Huckerby in their ranks, but it is with Holt, Hoolahan and Martin that the Norwich fans have enjoyed more success. It is all about winning football matches. It makes going to the game enjoyable and makes you proud to support your team.
The same can be said for Leeds. If they manage to secure promotion from League One in the last couple of games of this season, they will celebrate as much (if not more) than they did when they won the top flight back in 1992.
Anyway, back to Norwich. It has been a bizarre season hasn’t it? From THAT first day of the season, to the title celebrations at Carrow Road on Saturday. What a remarkable turnaround.
The key factors in the success? To run through the main ones quickly – a decisive new board, Paul Lambert, the signing of Fraser Forster, Grant Holt’s leadership, Wes Hoolahan’s creativity, the 5-0 at Colchester, strength in depth and fantastic fans. It has been one big effort from everyone.
Like a lot of people inside Carrow Road on Saturday, it was hard not to make comparisons with the opening day of the campaign. Myself, friends and family were sat outside the same part of Lloyds before kick-off as back in August, we had the same feeling of complaceny about the game ahead and we were talking about winning the League One title again.
Things on the pitch, although a damn sight better than the Colchester game, weren’t exactly spectacular. Everyone had a sense of ‘job done’ about them, but we were never going to lose the game. Then, after Darrel Russell’s goal in the second half, it was party time.
There was one moment I enjoyed more than any other during the 90 minutes. Spillane, to Smith, to Russell, to Martin – all academy products and all helping Norwich City win some silverware. That’s enough to make you proud!
The celebrations were then of course enjoyed by all. The players deserved to enjoy the moment and after several barren years, the fans knew every second had to be cherished.
With the exception of a couple of the big guns, it isn’t that often that your team wins a league title, so this is a big moment in the club’s history. It is even rarer that a club gets to lift a trophy, on the final game of the season in front of their own fans.
For that reason alone, make sure you are at Carrow Road for the visit of Carlisle on 8th May. See you there…!
Most Canary fans will tell you that Norwich weren’t completely at their best during February. However, after remaining top of League One during this time, Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Yeovil indicated that Paul Lambert’s men are ready to hit top form once again.
The results in February weren’t too bad anyway. Let’s get that straight. It started with a defeat at Millwall, picked up with a victory at Brighton, hit another setback with a rare home defeat to Southampton and then finished with back to back victories against Southend and Oldham.
By recent standards it wasn’t an incredible month, but plenty of points were still picked up and come the end of it, the Canaries were still in a fantastic position. The performances weren’t quite up to the standard though and I guess that is the reason the Yeovil game was so refreshing.
By all accounts, Norwich played some decent football against Oldham in the previous game, but against Terry Skiverton’s team at Carrow Road on Saturday, they took it up a notch. There was free-flowing football, confidence amongst the players and in truth, a complete inevitability about the victory.
Fair enough Yeovil weren’t exactly the most ambitious side in the world, but Norwich played some excellent stuff at times. As soon as Wes Hoolahan opened the scoring early on it was game over. Grant Holt should have sealed things before half-time, but he eventually got the goal his performance deserved.
Chris Martin then rounded off the scoring with a goal that should help his slightly dented confidence. In fact, each man who grabbed a goal on Saturday will see it as a mini turning point in the season.
Hoolahan scored for the first time since Boxing Day, Holt put in his best performance since returning from suspension and Martin got himself on the score sheet after a couple of home games where he had received some stick from the home crowd.
During February there were one or two below par performances from Norwich and this was largely down to the fact that Hoolahan, Holt and Martin suffered a slight dip in form at the same time.
If the Yeovil game is anything to go by, the ‘Holy Trinity’ as some are calling them could be returning to form at exactly the same time too and with three tough games coming up – trips to Huddersfield and Swindon are followed by a crunch home game with Leeds – the timing couldn’t be better.
Bring it on.