It’s do or Dai time as Norwich City face ‘must win’ game in Wales
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What a difference a year makes. On March 1 – St David’s Day – in 2015, the Canaries stormed to a 2-0 victory over local rivals Ipswich.
...of the week
HERO OF THE WEEK: Gary O’Neil - a man’s man and a player’s player. So much for having a deep gash in his head. The midfielder ran off to get the warrior’s bandage on and came back on to fight for the City cause. Will he become the new Trevor Hockey...?!
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: I’m getting bored of moaning about officials. But I can’t let the shambolic performances of Lee Mason and his sidekicks pass without comment. The offside, constant siding with Chelsea and needless cards...grrrrrrrr
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: We’ve seen it all from Wes down the years. Tricks, flicks, defence splitting passes, cheeky penalties....whatever level he’s played at, he’s done the business. On Tuesday night – against some of the league’s finest – he was at his mesmeric finest.
FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: I’ve seen the goals Man United scored against Arsenal a couple of times – whereas I’ve seen LVG’s hilarious falling over routine during the game loads of times. I tweeted it if you have somehow missed it.
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: It’s been far too long since City’s away fans have seen the team earn a top flight away clean sheet. I predict the wait will come to an end at Swansea – and I have a sneaky feeling we’ll grab a 1-0 win.
That win included THAT strike from Bradley Johnson and the momentum really started to build in the promotion bandwagon. It was days like that which convinced many of us that it was going to be our year to go up.
Turn the clock forward 12 months and St David’s Day may have been a pivotal moment of a very different kind for Norwich.
The 2-1 defeat to Chelsea saw City slip into the dreaded relegation zone and for a lot of fans was perhaps a confirmation that this is going to be our year to go down. Bournemouth surely secured their safety on the same night and Sunderland grabbed a vital late point.
Norwich’s defeat again encapsulated so much about our season.
We conceded a soft goal at the worst possible time, we missed crucial chances, we were on the wrong end of a string of dreadful decisions by officials and we promised so much, only to leave empty-handed.
The spirit and fight – especially in the second half – were splendid.
The current champions were genuinely wobbling at times. Every player gave his all and put his body on the line.
I thought we were going to see a preview for Casualty as Alex Tettey went off for an x-ray, Robbie Brady lost two teeth and broke another, Timm Klose hobbled around for several minutes and Gary O’Neil came back on with his impromptu headgear.
If the lads show that same courage and battle for the next 900 minutes, there has to still be hope.
Time is running out though. The stark reality of one point since early January is getting grimmer and grimmer. Being gallant “nearly men” isn’t good enough to survive.
City probably need 15 points – so that’s winning half the remaining 10 games or perhaps four wins and three draws. It’s going to be very tough, make no mistake about it.
St David’s Day may have gone but as City head for the home nation of the patron saint, a victory at Swansea is surely an absolute must.
That would be a foundation to build on and confidence could grow.
Let’s do this. OTBC.
• PLEASE DON’T MEDDLE ANY MORE WITH THE FA CUP
Being a Norwich supporter, I am probably losing any right I had to comment on the FA Cup.
Year after year the Canaries slip out in early stages of the competition which I still think should be the greatest domestic cup tournament in football.
So many clubs now field weakened teams as they concentrate on the league or Europe.
TV coverage of the final has been drastically cut back from those halcyon days of the build-up starting at 10am with a special Question of Sport, the club’s cup final songs and a trip on the team bus.
There’s now talk about doing away with FA Cup replays.
I think back to so many good memories of City replays down the years – that Malcolm Allen and blow-up Canary-inspired win over West Ham at Carrow Road in 1989 is probably my favourite.
And my marriage has a link to the Leeds v Arsenal replays back in 1992 (I’ll tell the whole story another week).
The chance of earning a money spinning replay at a big club is a huge incentive for so many smaller teams. It’s so unfair to rob them of that hope.
Yes, there is a lot of football being played – but why not trim down the Champions League rounds and remove some of those Europa League matches?