Dear Santa, all this Norwich City fan wants for Christmas is......
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The city centre lights are twinkling, the illuminations are starting to go on in our market towns, the shops are echoing with festive music compilations and the retail giants are battling to win the best Christmas ad award.
Yes, four weeks until the big day and it’s time to get those letters penned to the man with the big white beard and red suit.
The mood is pretty gloomy among Canaries fans and I’m sure we all have lots we’d like Father Christmas to do to cheer us up.
So here goes with my wish list for what I want him to drop down my yellow and green chimney
*A commanding centre half. I understood why we struggled at the back in the Premier League when we were coming up against the potency of Aguero, Suarez and Co. But City’s backline should not be leaking so many goals in the second tier of English football. Nine goals conceded in the past three games is very poor. We have enough defenders but need that colossus to lead the back line.
*Talking of leadership, we want leaders all over the pitch. Too many times recently heads have dropped when things have gone wrong. It’s easy to point the finger at the captain (and of course he has to set the tone) but experienced and well paid players who are hungry to get back to the top flight should all be leaders.
*Beating teams who are struggling - I’m getting fed up of hearing about sides who haven’t won for so many games and can’t score and then they come up against Norwich and turn things around. Forest was a classic case in point. And before we played them, Brighton’s form had been DWLLDDLDDD. mmmmmm
*Promotion - yes Santa I’ll come straight out with it. That’s why we buy our season tickets and turn up every game and talk about City all week. The Championship was quite fun for a few weeks, but we want to get out of it and get back to the top flight.
*Get us to Wembley - Next March will be 30 years since the Canaries last played there. I still haven’t been to the new look national stadium and I’m desperate to get there. Our cup form doesn’t suggest that that will be a route to the Twin Towers, so the play off final it is then.
*Make watching City fun again - We had a glimpse of it when we were having those stirring comebacks and playing free flowing football. But the autumn gloom has descended and there aren’t too many smiling faces around.
*Help Carrow Road buzz like it used to - We’re along way from having Fortress NR1 any more and that is reflected in the atmosphere at the ground. It is sometimes difficult to believe that there are more than 26,000 people in the stadium.
*Make our players be as good for Norwich as they are for their countries - I’m delighted that the likes of Kyle Lafferty, Russ Martin and Steven Whittaker are enjoying success on the international stage. However, I want to see that repeated when they return to Norfolk. Is it the players they are teaming up with when they are away which is bringing out the best in them?
*Tell the stars to care as much as we fans do about our club - I know Neil Adams will always defend his players and say they are giving their all and that they hurt when results don’t go the right way. I’m not alone though in questioning whether that really is the case all the time. Wear those hearts on the sleeves lads.
*Give our strikers some new scoring boots - where have the goals gone? At one stage it looked as if we could have at least front men battling to be the league’s top marksman this year. The confidence has dropped and the net isn’t being hit as much as it has to.
*Get us back above Ipswich - when we beat them at Portman Road they looked rubbish. While we have stuttered, the Tractor Boys have improved and are in the top four. You’d think their smaller squad and lack of spending will go against them. However, sometimes consistency in team selection can be a positive thing.
*I mentioned the need earlier for a dominant centre half and someone like Dion Dublin would fit the bill - oh, and while I mention him, can I have his Christmas album too please?,
Thank you, Ian Clarke, 44 1/2 (River End season ticket holder).
• FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Fans have probably all had a doze during dull games. But surely players shouldn’t nod off in a game? Well, Liverpool’s substitute keeper Brad Jones got caught having 40 winks behind boss Brendan Rodgers at the weekend. You can see the clip on my Twitter feed.
• HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: I’ve had lots of ribbing from my work mates about my Monday night 5-a-side team’s results this year (Played 13, lost 13 gives a clue). This week we actually took the lead. Could it be the turning point? Er, maybe not and we ended up sharing nine goals. You do the maths.
• HERO OF THE WEEK: It will go down as one of the great strikes at Carrow Road in recent years and Russell Martin’s wonder goal was extra special as it came in his 200th game for City. It hasn’t been the easiest season for Russ but he’s a top pro for us.
• PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: Gary Hooper arrived at Norwich with so much expectation after his goal scoring exploits north of the border For various reasons it hasn’t worked out for striker so far. He struck the equaliser well on Saturday and has to be a starter this week. I feel Hoops must come good soon.