There is a common misconception about modern-day footballers. Premier League ones especially. With the bloated financial rewards on offer and all the trappings that brings, the gap between those fortunate enough to have been blessed with the talent to thrill and the mere mortals who live vicariously through their exploits grows ever wider.

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Let’s not try to sugar coat it. Norwich City’s support has been short-changed this season. Plenty has already been said and written about what went wrong against Liverpool. Suffice to say it was symptomatic of a campaign that remains frustratingly stuck in neutral. Errors were made on and off the park by the Canaries and they were ruthlessly punished by a vibrant Liverpool performance capped by Luis Suarez’s brilliance.

City were guilty of individual lapses within a subdued and at times submissive display that got what it deserved.

But one charge you can summarily dismiss is that they do not care. Russell Martin did his duty with the media post-match and the pain was etched across his features for all to see. Martin is always an eloquent spokesman for the Norwich dressing room, yet even he struggled to comprehend just how lifelessly the Canaries had performed.

Martin and the rest of his team mates realise only too well how the game works at such a rarefied level. If you willingly accept the plaudits and the rewards you also expect the downsides that come with such fertile territory.

Being part of the Premier League merely serves to magnify the hopes and the fears of anyone with an emotional attachment. It is the most exclusive club in world football, and there are 72 rivals in the Football League envious of the Canaries’ place right now at the top table who would swap places in a heartbeat.

Martin’s career path is indicative of many within Chris Hughton’s squad. After failing to make the grade with hometown club Brighton he slipped into non league – balancing work commitments in the real world the rest of us inhabit whilst trying to revive a fading football dream. Hard years eventually followed lower down the circuit at Wycombe and Peterborough. Martin led Posh into the Championship and was then promptly sidelined at London Road before Paul Lambert rescued him.

Now he is an established Premier League defender and a Scottish international. His consistency in a number of positions since moving to Carrow Road has earned him a place in the affections of the Norfolk public and a longer term deal from the club’s hierarchy over the summer.

Martin has experienced plenty of lows along the way, which is why you can take it for granted he will do everything in his power to ensure he prolongs Norwich’s Premier League adventure. Nor he is alone. Martin’s story is echoed by that of Grant Holt, John Ruddy and many more besides.

Hughton’s squad care a great deal. Maybe not for the same reasons as those they represent; the ones who spend vast sums following Norwich at home and to all four corners of the country every weekend.

This great game we all love is their livelihood. They have families who rely on them, just like the rest of us. The ties that bind to Norwich City may not be passed down through generations, but the common goal is a similar one.

Relegated footballers are not prized commodities. A footballer’s career is so short, success so transient it is in their own blatant self-interest to ensure they do everything in their power to ensure days like Liverpool and Fulham do not become depressingly regular epitaphs in a season that started with so much promise under a new leader.

Hughton is experienced enough to know the buck stops with him. He picks the team, he drills them on the training pitches, he has to make the calls during the frenetic 90 minutes that follow. But his charges need to accept their share of personal responsibility.

Ultimately when they cross that line, they are the masters of their own destiny. They have a responsibility to the supporters and their manager, but the biggest responsibility is to themselves. To remind themselves every passing week of what still remains a long season ahead, just how fortunate they are, how far they have come and how much they do not want to go back there ever again.

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17 comments

  • Sorry to have to say it (& i have been following Norwich since 195859.)---but if you take your yellow & green glasses off---we have a side(& manager) good enough for the Championship. SEEN IT ALL BEFORE.

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    superfan59

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • I don't believe any true City fan would ever conceive of finishing in the top 3 again. What we want to see is an improvement on last season. Hughton's defensive lead tactics do not as yet appear to suggest it will happen. Essentially the vital games are against: Reading; Southampton; Villa; Wigan; Swansea; West Ham; QPR. Points picked up elsewhere is a bonus. But performances as lackluster as that against 'Pool is unforgivable, and will turn the home crowd off CH and will not help the players

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    Soglio Star

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Stoke, Sunderland and may be West Brom can be added to my list too.

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    Soglio Star

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Warkys_tash Foxtrot Oscar

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    Captain

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • I really wouldn't give Hughton till after Christmas. In fact start looking round now. It's actually very frustrating. He's a talented coach + we have a good squad (probly stronger than last season). The problem lies with his ability to motivate them. For some reason he can't do it + we ain't got time to wait whilst he trys. There is some evidence that he's way too casual in his approach to the job. He seemed very slow off the mark in the trasfer market + then bought players we either didn't need ( cos we were already covered in those positions ) or duffers.Been a fan since 1969 so could say I've seen it all before too Superfan !

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    Timbo

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • It's worth noting that being up for the premier league doesn't mean being capable of playing for man u or chelsea. There are 2 or 3 mini leagues that exist in the premier league; the top 6, about 8 middle of the road clubs and another 6 sides that may or may not finish in the bottom 3. Last season we finished respectably as one of the 8 middle of the road clubs. That was not a fluke, we were good enough to achieve it over the 38 games. The aim this season should be to finish either at the top of the mini league of the bottom 6, or at the bottom of the mid table league - either way we'd be safe. My point is that you can't look at the Premier League as one entity, there's too much disparity between the teams. We don't need our players to be able to compete in the premier league we need to be able to compete with the rest of the teams in our mini league. We should be in a position to do that if the manager lets them.

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    Gavin

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Agree with Erpingham. Give the man a chance he is finding his feet. Fulham was disasterous and should never of happened; however we've played well since. It's as if some supporters think we should be in the top five places, when we all know this year is going to be more difficult than last. Come on and get behind our lads - they need us.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Take off the green + yeller tinted glasses Erps ! You are sleep walking into the Chumpionship. Player buys that duplicate what we already have aren't good, no matter what the quality. We did not need any more midfielders ( unless they can bag 10 to 15 goals a season) or any more keepers. We needed quality strikers + we didn't sign them + now look..........we're short on goals... well no %^&* Sherlock ! PS: "Tractor" ? Interesting choice of screen-sig for a Yeller. Like a Rangers fan called "Tim" or a Celtic fan called "Billy". Doesn't really work mate....OTBC!!!

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    Timbo

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • give CH a chance ok 6 more games and then lets review the situation. SO lets be 'aving Chelsea on saturday

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    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • THE PROBLEM I SEE --IS WHEN WILL THE BOARD FINALLY BECOME AWARE OF WHAT THE FAN'S KNOW. I STILL HAVE NOT GOT OVER THE FIRST MATCH OF THE SEASON

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    superfan59

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Its all been said hasn't it? We had a wonderful 3 seasons from the 1st to the Premiership. Lambert knew he would be found out this season, so cashed in and jumped ship. Unless something remarkable happens, and I cant see Hughton achieving that, we go down at the end of the season....but from a business point of view....in a fairly sound situation. AND if we can hang on to our best players, we will probably do well in the championship, and the fans will be happy again.

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    Algarve Canary

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • At this point we still need 10 wins,which is likely to be the case after the next 2 matches,the longer the wait for the first win,the first home win,the greater patience is needed.There is goal threat across the midfield,the 3 main strikers have a goal on the board but it is the defence where improvements are needed.A clean sheet on saturday will be as good as a win.

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • I think everyone can analyse recent performances and read but being a city fan for the last 50 years the only consistent thing is the lack of consistency. Is now and always will be...

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    smalltownboy

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • All the fans ask for is effort, last weekend against Liverpool they gave the impression that they could hardly be bothered to run around, did not see much passion. Central defenders were very very poor, the goalkeeper does not seem to be on the ball at the moment and any shots that are not straight at him are being missed. Mid field were lethargic only the forwards and backs played with conviction. Hughton get it sorted.

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    goldie

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Gavin - interesting point, and a view I share. If you look at the PL table as it stands today those three mini-leagues that you mention are already sorted as far as the teams are concerned. All that will happen now are the teams will change position within those mini-leagues. It makes sense to me - although it might not to others!

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • Listen to you lot. The Liverpool game has gone. Get over it and look forward to the European Champions – Chelsea. The European Champions. This is a seriously heavy League, every single week. Just enjoy a team run along respectable financial lines trying to compete week in, week out, against team that aren’t. I am disappointed Mr Hughton has failed to get more out of a team that have arguably more talent than last season. But that is where Mr Lambert was in another class. He let his coaches coach, whilst he did his the motivational stuff and made some fantastic tactical changes during a game. Apart from the disaster that is Michael Turner, Hughton has not bought badly. Who cares how long you have been supporters. It doesn’t mean you know anymore. We had nightmare’s last season too, even worse than Liverpool and Fulham. Yes really. Just stop moaning, and get real.

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    Erpingham Tractor

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

  • That ex-Leeds midfield trio are really good players, really good Championship players

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    Warkys_Tash

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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