Note to the Ordinary One: Welcome to Norwich City’s world

Robin Sainty
Monday, September 26, 2011
12:37 PM

There must have been quite a few homeless simians in the Greater Manchester area on Saturday night, given the number of monkeys that City got off their backs at Bolton.

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The first win of the season, the first away win in the Premier League since the last century and a convincing performance without Grant Holt in the starting line up, something that was inconceivable to many.

Not only that, but John Ruddy’s injury-time save provided further evidence that we have a very good keeper on our hands.

Despite some howlers I’ve always rated Ruddy, yet he seems to have been scapegoated by some fans like Russell Martin was when he first arrived, so it was good to see both of them playing such an important part in Saturday’s win.

I would love to say that I was cheering the lads on from the Reebok’s stands, but in fact I spent much of Saturday’s game desperately trying to keep track of what was going on at Bolton via Twitter, while trying to show an interest in the penguins at Dingle Aquarium.

Now, Dingle is a lovely little town on the west coast of Ireland, and I like penguins as much as the next man, but as a method of self torture that method of following a game is pretty effective.

If your only way of finding out what’s going on at the match is by reading the random outpourings and expletives of fellow fans via a social networking site, particularly when you have an intermittent phone signal, it’s a nightmare. At 2-0 up and Bolton down to 10 men I was actually starting to relax and enjoy myself, but then word of the penalty broke, just as my signal went down yet again.

The next 10 minutes was a bit like the Schrodinger’s cat experiment, in that, until the phone connected again, I could imagine the penalty being both saved and scored. Of course, when I caught up with events again the nerves frayed and continued to jangle as the tweets became more and more anguished. That said, the elation when I realised that the game was actually over was overwhelming, and watching the full 90 minutes when I got back to England proved quite relaxing!

The world seems so different after a win, but the concession of yet another penalty gave us a record that we didn’t want, as the first side to give away a spot kick in five consecutive Premier League games.

While I don’t think we were hard done by on this occasion, I recently read an interesting article in the Mail by Graham Poll in which he talked about the subliminal pressure on referees to favour the bigger clubs.

I don’t like Poll, a man whose ego requires its own postcode, but it was an interesting point. What did, however, leap out at me was his criticism of the penalty awarded by Neil Swarbrick in our game against Stoke and the comment that “on that showing he will have to wait quite a while before refereeing at Old Trafford or Anfield”.

Clearly it is perfectly acceptable for rookie referees to cost us points, but not to mess with the footballing gods of Manchester, Liverpool and West London.

This sinister implication was further reinforced by the latest dummy spitting exhibition by the poor man’s Jose Mourinho, Andreas Villas-Boas. Apparently the Ordinary One has complained to the head of referees, Mike Riley, that incorrect decisions by a linesman at Old Trafford cost his side the game. Welcome to Norwich City’s world young man.

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