Norwich City have never been relegated in a season ending with a 6 - and 11 other reasons to remain hopeful
16:46 18 February 2016
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Make no mistake about it. In quite a lot of ways things still look bleak for City.
...of the week
HERO OF THE WEEK: This week we’ve said farewell to Les King, a man who has done so much for a range of sports in our county. I had some happy times at games with the Norfolk institution who was rightly known as the King of Sport. My condolences to his family and close friends.
VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: When your team loses 6-0 at home and virtually ensures relegation, tweeting a picture of a £121,000 sports car isn’t a great idea. Joleon Lescott claimed it was a mistake and is sorry. I think he’ll have to work slightly harder to win back those he’s alienated.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Every time I watch Robbie Brady I see just why Alex Neil was so determined to get his man during the summer. The Irishman is calm, skilful, quick and as he proved on Saturday has a beautiful shot on him. At this stage I’d say he’s a good bet to be the player of the season.
FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Divock Origi must regret running into the Liverpool fans after scoring in the Valentine Day rout at Aston Villa. An over amorous supporter showed him a little bit too much love and he couldn’t get away! I’ve tweeted the amusing footage.
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: I said it in this column a few weeks ago and I remain convinced that Arsenal or Spurs will win the league. Both triumphed in the top-four Super Sunday showdowns and they look strong, hungry and in fine form.
The team have just one point in six league games, have the joint worst defensive record in the league – and the players have a lot in common with a bad dog walker (yes, they can’t hold on to a lead). I could go on.
Yet despite these reasons to be fearful as we prepare to kick off the 12-game season, I’m urging fellow fans not to give up hope for Lent.
I may be accused of being a straw clutcher but I’ve found 12 reasons to be hopeful – one representing each match left for the Canaries:
1 We are still out of the bottom three. It may only be on goal difference, but there’s a psychological significance to being above the line.
2 Villa look well and truly doomed. The victory over us may have offered a tiny glimmer of optimism – but the woeful defeat to Liverpool has squashed that.
3 Sunderland and Newcastle still have to come to Carrow Road. We’ve beaten our other rivals at home and should be able to carry that run on,
4 City have had their really bad run and others may have theirs to come.
5 Pressure will really be on Leicester in the next game. The Foxes have spent most of the season playing without pressure – but the heat is now on and that could help when we travel to the King Power.
6 Swansea still look in trouble. They are being sucked in and have trips to Spurs and Arsenal in the next two games.
7 Bournemouth are in the same boat (or hopefully sinking ship) as Swansea. Their minds may also be distracted by the FA Cup.
8 Alex Neil has vowed to attack. City have looked their best on the front foot and it’s encouraging that we’re back being positive.
9 Norwich have never been relegated in a season ending with a 6.
10 Neil proved a lot of people wrong when he clinched promotion last year and he’ll do the same to keep the team up in 2016.
11 City have scored more than seven teams in the league and the ability to find the net will be crucial.
12 I really think we’ll survive (and I am currently top of our predictor league).
Am I wearing yellow and green glasses? Maybe I am. But let’s stay hopeful. OTBC.
• FOURTH OFFICIALS NEED TO JUSTIFY THEIR EXISTENCE
Do you remember the days before fourth officials?
It’s been a while now since that extra tier of footballing bureaucracy was introduced and I’m struggling to think of what benefit they have brought to the great game.
The extra men in black (or whatever colour they wear) hold the board up to tell us how many extra minutes will be played at the end of each half and monitor subs when they come on.
They seem to spend the rest of the match just trying to calm down managers and try to ensure they stay in their technical zones.
Whenever I looked down at the touchline on Saturday, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was yelling at the official about every decision.
What did that achieve?
It seems to me that the man on the sideline has no powers to do anything except to type in numbers and hold up boards.
I actually feel a bit sorry for them. Their ears must be ringing for days after a game.
If they are going to stay in football and be of use, then put them in charge of some video technology which will help eradicate the errors referees are bound to make.
It would only take seconds to make judgments over penalties, sending offs and other key parts of the game.