‘Norwich City’s success on pitch must mirror their transfer window ambition’
12:00 04 February 2016
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Let’s get two things out of the way before I come on to talking about City.
Tottenham were very, very good on Tuesday and I reiterate my view in this column a few weeks ago that they are genuine title contenders.
They were better than us in every aspect - desire, skill, organisation, power and nous. Secondly, the officials at the game were a complete shambles. The catalogue of poor decisions didn’t ultimately have an impact on the final outcome.
But time after time they got things wrong. And when the hi-vis wearing minders are sent out to protect them at the interval and full-time, you know they’ve had shockers.
Right, now to the Canaries.
It is a really strange feeling supporting Norwich at the moment.
We have just enjoyed the best ever transfer window with more than £20m spent on some genuinely really fine players. Only Newcastle shelled out more and City acquired three more new faces than anyone else. The board has made its position very clear that ambition and prudence can be bed fellows.
A trio of the signings – Maddison, Godfrey and Adams – are prospects for the future and it is reassuring that Norwich are looking ahead rather than just surviving this year.
The optimism for fans from the January spending spree, however, is in stark contrast to the growing fear over what is happening on the pitch.
Four league defeats on the bounce, 14 goals conceded, too many heads down and a lack of real leadership among the players. I could go on...
Also, while Villa do look doomed, it is hard to think of two other teams guaranteed to finish below City.
“Must win game” is a greatly over-used phrase in football. Saturday’s game in the Midlands is absolutely in that category. Unless we can go there and get back on track with a Sunderland away style performance, we’re really in trouble.
Lots of supporters are doubting Alex Neil. I have faith in him and now’s his chance to prove how good he is. We have a great squad with plenty of depth – and every single one of them has to prove they have the stomach for a fight and show the quality which is needed in the top flight. OTBC.
• Hero of the week
Over the years successive Norwich boards have been criticised for a lack of ambition. After digging deep to find a £20m relegation war chest, those in the corridors of power at Carrow Road have done all that could possibly have been expected to help keep the team up.
• Villain of the week
I mentioned the ref and his assistants in the main piece of the column – but I have to re-iterate how dreadful Kevin Friend and his sidekicks were all night on Tuesday. Every 50/50 went to Spurs and if I had to give a mark out of 10, I’d struggle to give them a two.
• Highlight of the week
It was a ‘clutching at straws’ kind of night on Tuesday. Bournemouth getting three more points was a real blow and it seemed Swansea would do the same. So Salomon Rondon’s injury time goal to salvage a point for WBA was a small consolation and may be very important.
• Funniest moment of the week
It’s not been the cheeriest of few days. So thanks to Graham Westley – the Peterborough manager – for his very amusing “falling over” routine during the cup tie at West Brom. I’ve tweeted the video if you’ve not seen it.
• Prediction of the week
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: 2013-14 Leroy Fer joins Norwich – Norwich relegated. 2014-15 Leroy Fer joins QPR – QPR relegated. 2016 Leroy Fer joins Swansea.....Who would bet against an unwanted trio of relegations for the midfielder?