Dear Santa, please give Norwich City fans something to smile about this Christmas
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It’s been a pretty gloomy time for Norwich fans in recent weeks – and this column has mirrored the malaise.
One turkey doesn’t make a Christmas. Sorry the festive season is getting to me and I mean one swallow doesn’t make a summer, to quote Alex Neil.
The excellent win over a very poor Brentford certainly hasn’t solved all our problems but hopefully was the tree on which to place our baubles of hope. Yes, I’m getting Christmassy and decided to try to inject a bit of yuletide positivity.
So bear with some poetic licence as I share a few festive themed thoughts.
Let’s ho, ho, hope Saturday wasn’t a one-off
While the games coming up will be much tougher, we know what those players can do.
The Oli and the Ivo
Nelson Oliveira was one of the real bright spots on Saturday and gives us an extra dimension up top (although I’d certainly like Santa to give us a late Christmas present with another striker in the transfer window). Ivo “Norwich lose when I don’t play” Pinto again showed his huge value.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, can we win away...?
It was way back on October 1 at Wolves that we last tasted victory on the road. How we could do with festive cheer at Barnsley, Reading and Brentford.
Hands off our Myrrh-phy
Predictably the vultures are circling around Jacob Murphy. He’s one of our own and we need to keep him.
May the star in the east keep shining
I’ve already named Pritchard my hero of the week and hope this festive season we’ll see more of his gifts.
Keep handing out the stuffing, please
How good did it feel to relax in the last few minutes of a game? We want more of that.
Get Scrooge at the heart of the City back-line
We need the spirit of Ebenezer running through the veins of our defenders.
By the 12th day of Christmas...
Norwich will have played six more league games (the three away games I mentioned above plus matches against Aston Villa, Huddersfield and Derby at home).
The campaign will be in to its second half by then.
So will it have been a festive season to be jolly or will our glass of sherry be back to being half empty again?
Over to you Mr Neil and Co.
On The Bauble City.
So impressed by City trio’s support for charity at gala dinner
Professional footballers up and down the land often get a bad press – and there are times when it is deserved.
But I have to say how impressed I was by the way City trio Russell Martin, Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady handled themselves at a gala dinner I attended for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices at the Natural History Museum in London last week.
It had been a difficult period leading up to the big event, at which Ed Sheeran played his only gig of 2016.
The Canaries’ awful run had continued with a another defeat at Derby, their manager was under heavy fire and they faced a barrage of criticism from fans.
Indeed, Russ had to put up with unfair booing from certain supporters, which is disrespectful to such a great servant to the club.
However, the trio couldn’t have been better ambassadors for the club as they chatted to supporters, posed for pictures and crucially dug deep to back EACH’s £10m nook appeal.
Yes, they are very well paid international players.
Yes, you can argue that it is the sort of thing that they should do,
But they gave a massive boost to a brilliant cause and I know the charity was hugely grateful for such high profile backing.
And even at the age of 46, I still couldn’t resist asking for a picture with the lads I cheer on every week.
Of the week...
The day we saw what Alex can do
HERO OF THE WEEK: As we waited to hear who was the man of the match on Saturday, I said if it wasn’t Alex Pritchard I’d walk home to Dereham. Fortunately the sponsors didn’t let me down. He was simply magnificent and at last we’re seeing why we paid £8m for him.
We expect so much more from Aguero
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: In the heat of a footballing battle, a bad tackle will fly in. The potentially career ending hack from Sergio Aguero in the Man City v Chelsea game took things to a whole new level. He was lucky to only get a four-game ban.
Keeping a clean sheet was such a big relief
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: There were a few hairy moments – even in a 5-0 win. The victory over Brentford was the key. The importance of a long awaited clean sheet, however, can’t be over-estimated. The City defence still looks far from tight. But at least it’s a start.
Nice gag, Brett – and you have a point.....!
FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Can you believe there is a Belgian footballer called Mark De Man?! Knowing the sort of player I am, my old mate Brett Gates tweeted me to say: “If you were his son, he would have called you kick!” Hee hee.....
Watch out for Oakwell good run to continue
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: Norwich haven’t lost at Barnsley since August 2000, and in that time have picked up four wins and a draw. I was there the last time we visited in 2011 and predict the same 2-0 scoreline.