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Norwich City marching to a new beat

08:45 12 January 2015

Neil, mark II, during his first game in charge of the Canaries. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON/FOCUS IMAGES

Neil, mark II, during his first game in charge of the Canaries. Picture: PAUL CHESTERTON/FOCUS IMAGES

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If first impressions count then Norwich City’s Championship rivals should fear Alex Neil’s arrival.

"If Bournemouth was the benchmark, then Norwich have nothing to fear in the Championship. "

Paddy Davitt

This was an epic statement of intent from the Canaries’ new young manager and his much-maligned set of players.

It is far too simplistic to draw parallels with another passionate Scot who prowled the touchline in these parts, that is hugely unfair on Neil himself, but his presence in the technical area for the final quarter of a tumultuous win had a galvanising impact.

Neil appeared in the midst of City’s darkest moment on the south coast after Jonny Howson had been red-carded for a lunging challenge on Yann Kermorgant. Ryan Bennett then departed barely eight minutes after his own entrance with a hamstring injury following an abrupt introduction for the sickly Steven Whittaker.

The 33-year-old’s response was to calmly move front of house to direct operations. Alex Tettey switched to an unaccustomed right-back berth. Russell Martin moved inside after a brief cameo on the flank to accommodate Bennett and Gary O’Neil bolstered a midfield now one light after Howson’s exit.

City erected a barrier and extended an invitation to Bournemouth to use the best part of 30 minutes to find a chink in the armour, to dislodge a brick in the yellow wall in front of John Ruddy.

They failed. Norwich’s number one never had a save worthy of the name in a defiantly cohesive offering that has been absent too often over recent testing times.

A point in such trying circumstances would have been a triumph but Cameron Jerome served up another instinctive piece of attacking brilliance to stun the Cherries.

Norwich had matched a side feted for their technical excellence and goalscoring potency; a squad under the astute leadership of Eddie Howe who had not been beaten at home in the league since September 16.

Perhaps only at 2-0 down against Cardiff away have City conquered such insurmountable odds this season. For Neil to find answers to such a complex equation the day after meeting his players was akin to taking your driving test on the M25.

The Scot was quick to praise the work of Mike Phelan and Gary Holt during an inevitably disrupted preparation, but there is no doubt Bournemouth will be seen as the start of his reign.

Yet City have suffered too many false dawns already to draw premature conclusions. Norwich will need the same intensity and sense of camaraderie for the rest of this season to force their way firmly into promotion contention.

There would have been something intrinsically flawed in the collective psyche of Norwich’s players not to have produced a positive, committed response to the seismic upheaval triggered by Neil Adams’ departure.

Russell Martin and his team mates have endured heavy criticism because, on stellar days like these, they emphatically prove what they are capable of.

If Bournemouth was the benchmark, then Norwich have nothing to fear in the Championship. They merely have to sustain a consistent seam of form to justify why Howe and many of his contemporaries speak almost in reverential tones about the quality and pedigree now inherited by Neil.

The Norwich manager faces many obstacles ahead. Not least the relatively abbreviated time left in the current January transfer window to leave his mark on the squad; to make decisions on those who have had limited opportunity to impress and to target new additions from effectively a standing start.

But he has already achieved one major objective. Neil appears to exude an inner confidence and self-belief, admirable traits embodied by his battling players at Bournemouth. The stench of under-achievement and enduring frustration evaporated with each passing minute of a pulsating contest.

It could easily be overlooked in the midst of second half tumult prior to a winning salvo, but Norwich had fallen behind early to the leaders after Marc Pugh and Matt Ritchie exposed defensive vulnerability.

Howe was adamant Norwich’s equaliser owed much to Michael Turner’s arm, which had diverted Jerome’s headed rebound into the path of Gary Hooper. He may have a case but Norwich had been full value for parity right up until Howson’s dismissal; the point at which a football match descended into a gladiatorial contest.

There was a wonderfully vibrant outpouring of emotion in the immediate aftermath of Jerome’s stunning match-winner. Only Ruddy remained at his post as the nine other Norwich outfield players surrounded the striker in front of a packed travelling support, who rose to acclaim the men in green and yellow. In that moment the unity was palpable. You could almost taste it in the south-coast air.

City need to harness it, nourish it and unleash it on Championship opponents for the rest of a campaign which now contains limitless possibilities.

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59 comments

  • Thompson got MOTM last night. As waclor says, both he and Toffolo looked very good. Certainly ones for the future. OTBC

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

  • Bush Road Hellesdon rules

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

  • non nobis domine at St Andrews. Ahhhh such memories!

    Report this comment

    rament

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I was watching Coventry v Swindon on the telly at the gym tonight and both Louis Thomson and Harry Toffolo were quite impressive. Thomson looked strong going back to defend then put in a great run to beat the offside trap before being brought down for a penalty. Last week I watch Preston v Walsall and Preston had a right winger whose name I think was Hargreaves or something and looked very promising as a replacement for Nathan. Of course we have cover in the Murphy Brothers. I wonder if anyone has told Alex that there are two of them or are they keeping that as a source for jokes when Jacob returns from that Yorkshire team whose name cannot be printed.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Okay I'll be the fall guy, don't mind a drop of custard on my rhubarb. And I was just baiting the hook with the young 'un, we get a few zealous footy-only pedantics. I give them plenty of room when there's some serious debate going down and taunt them when it's quiet.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Turning into a bit of a 'love in' on here ;-) Guess I'm just feeling left out ;-(

    Report this comment

    ole tommy buster custard

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • LOL...Yes as Lambo would also say, the bag-pipes were "exceptional"....

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • @Cutty, who is the young one? Was mid 60's Nelson Street

    Report this comment

    DorsetCanary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Dorset, the young 'un will start moaning er long, but there's no pressing news so; Brew was at the Wensum View and probably the Nelson in the 50's but don't know his real name.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Thanks Dc in my old age I am forgetful, This new guy AN seems to like youth as I have read so things look good .

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • iMac, we bought 19 yo Louis Thompson from Swindon, then loaned him back for the season. I think we have since loaned them Harry Toffolo for a stint too. Hopefully these two young guns will push for a first team place in a year or so.

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Alex, what we need z priority is a PL quality Right Back in this transfer window. Next, sort Bassong out and get him back, or, ship him out and get in a quality CB. This is what is needed before we go any further. Just follow these suggestions and the squad will be back on track - Good Luck !!

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Please remind me we bought a player last season and loaned him back to his club, I have forgotten who he was

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I see we are doing a bit of the old memory thing, well here goes. Lived in Langley Street (long gone, Langley Walk now I believe) it was just off Old Palace Road... First school believe it was Nelson Street then I believe it was Wensum View oh how the memory starts to fade, then family split and moved down South with my Mum... Hoping to get up and watch a game in Feb, no doubt there will be no chance of tickets for IT game... Last up for B'mth game.

    Report this comment

    DorsetCanary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • So Tony Andreu is on his way from Hamilton. 12 goals from Midfield and their best player. Sounds promising? INWT

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Why don't you guys arrange to meet up at CR one match day to put faces to user names? Could be the start of something good. I was at TGS

    Report this comment

    Canterbury Tales

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Re: Brew. Didn't BringOnFoggo drop some cryptic clues? Mind you, nobody could catch young Foggo on his day. Wing play and last minute goals or what.

    Report this comment

    Les Lee

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • " Much maligned players " ? N C F C have NOT been Maligned , they have merely been criticised for playing with insufficient skill and application , and for failing to live up to their billing , and often doing that against pretty ordinary opposition .

    Report this comment

    Bring on Foggo

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • No relation to Cutmores but family lived in Oak street and later in Barrack Street area.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Stew, I was at the Tech when it change to the Hewett in the mid 50's. MOG's are miserable old gits, SLOBS are Sloughbottom (park) old boys. Brew and I touched base on all three. Sharky was at the Tech sometime between you and I, and one or two others have commented on Jack Adams.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • …..cutty!.... you will have to explain those Capitals to me...Then having told me ... I will probably forget with the next breath.....We could draw up a list of schools that had the privilege of trying to force education upon us...I'll start :- CNS 44-46 (Re-homed)...Tech(Ipswich Road) 46-49...His Majesty's Armed Forces 51-53....In love and married 54 to date....and cutty I take it that you have no connection to Cutmores in Barrack Street!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Brewer might simply be in the Narfolk and Narwich with a simple complaint and there is no WiFi and you have to pay for a phone call or TV. My friend fell over in her garden and it took almost a week for her to get an X-ray and she spent three weeks incarcerated. Let's hope he appears soon.

    Report this comment

    Jim

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Sorry, but I had to laugh at Canterbury Tales' assertion that "the Board get it totally right with its selection of managers, albeit making some mistakes." Like Chaucer, he's right good at fiction! Roeder, Grant, Hughton, Hamilton, Gunn, Adams . . . totally right, some mistakes, really? More like totally wrong, few successes! I wonder who at NCFC are closest to some of Chaucer's characters: The Wife of Bath, The Franklin, The Knight, The Pardoner, The Summoner . . . One thing's for sure - in the main the Board does appear to live in medieval times!

    Report this comment

    jigs69

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Re Brew, Fellow Hewettonian, MOG and SLOB, can only repeat Steely's statement that he's gone walkabout. If he's been barred there are easy ways around it, although by his own admission he's not too computer savvy. Don't want to think about the third option. Had a couple of beers in his usual haunts but drew a blank.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Oz Canary in Tassie.....I wrote to Mick in Limburg about You Tube and told him to watch how AN took over as Howson was (unfairly) sent off. He sat on the bench with his arms folded and. as you say, walked off at the end. Neil is bringing Franki McArthur down with him so MP could well be offski. Can only have one boss. As for Canterbury Tales ( memories of O level English) at CNS yes we are all 'of a certain age' but living in Cyprus here spend most time teaching French and English and learning Turkish. Still find time for PU though. Think Bassong will stay now and become the CH we need........Just a feeling.

    Report this comment

    Bogaz John

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • If anything can temp 'brew' out of hiding it's.....Where does Elliott Bennett fit into all this?

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • 'stew', I hope you're not making a play for the alpha male role in 'brew's absence!

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • 'Morgan's_tight_pants', you comment that there seem to be less posts when we win. What do you want people to say? I can only take so many well done's. I should imagine by staying quiet most of us are saying, good stuff, keep it up but up the ante into the bargain. One bat doesn't make a summer's evening. (made that up, tired of the swallow thing).

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Oh well plaudits, congratulations and accolade; whilst welcome in moderation in grave danger of becoming rather overspent I suggest. Now back to reality and lots of hard work, disappointments, triumphs and eventually happier times ahead.

    Report this comment

    Regulador

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • …..Well waclor !....Plan 'B' has now become plan 'A'....Do you think that a new Plan 'B' is already in place?....and our CEO is at work behind the scenes once again?....just in case!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Yet another fine article from Paddy Davitt..My wish for a Manager fresh to the club with determination and drive appears to have been granted and for that I am grateful. If he can instill these qualities to the players on field improvements must follow. I wish Alex Neil all the very best for the future.

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    Mercia Canary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • …..OLD!..OLD AGE PENSIONER!, Canterbury! ...Far too much time on my hands, but very little else going for me now!..especially at this time of the year....Roll on Spring and the Greenhouse and garden will supplement that!....Keep the brain as active as possible by picking holes in one of my pleasures from more active days...Norwich City!.....Very little is new or being done for the first time...Enables me to make observations and offer a little advice, in I hope a light hearted way!....What's your excuse for wasting your life on these sites?

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I just finished Paddy's book. Not bad at all. It was a good read and kept me wanting to know what happened next. I suspect Wolston get into financial difficulties and have to groundshare with Nottinghampton. Am I right Paddy? Well written anyway.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I hope the "New Beat" means "Not getting beat". Enthusiasm is catching and Alex has that all right and loads of energy it seems. Good luck to him and well done to the board for taking a brave decision and for having a Plan B in place.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Morgàntp. Fewer Potts not less. Canterbury old stalwarts who no longer are in employment, not pensioners. What I alwwys find amusing is that the comments about players, board, or management don't change whether the old pinkun soap box or this board. Watling out and we never should have sold Ron Davies. For Hooper go back several decades and its Bolland who is the butt of comments. A good old fashioned win ground out on Saturday. I'll take another 15 of those.

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Brew? No idea. I still can't work out who are the small clique of regular posters on this site. Are you pensioners or young post graduate students? Too much time on your hands? Need to get a life? Help a local charity?

    Report this comment

    Canterbury Tales

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • .....Win..lose..or draw!.....there will be a small 'scotch' waiting for the players in the dressing room!....Sandwich cutty?..that's a bit upmarket!....surely you meant 's.a.r.n.i.e'! ....More serious though!....Do you or any other reader have have news about the missing Brew?.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I bet Paddy has a degree in philosophy, then Argent put him on a management training course. My guess is that he is a 'closet' novelist! Don't get me wrong. I think his pieces some of the best journalism I presently read. I have to remind myself he is writing about a local soccer team. He will go far. How old is he? Late twenties?

    Report this comment

    Canterbury Tales

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • p.s. note I didn't say sandwich. I know how some of your minds work.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • In football, like in most of life, reputation is very important, and once set can be hard to change, for better or worse. This win has done a lot to immediately cement a positive, winning reputation for Alex Neil. This will do a lot for moral at the team and with the fans. Hopefully it won't happen, but future slips will likely be taken far better, and unless we end up sliding down the table, if come the end of the season we've missed out on the playoffs I doubt that many will be calling for his head. Both Hughton and Adams started with losses, and sadly Adams never really rebuilt his reputation from that first game in charge and the opening day defeat. We had slips under Lambert, and at times it looked like both promotions might not happen, or that we might get relegated, but there were few calls for him to leave as by then his reputation was solid. Hughton got us to our highest placed finish in many years, but is still widely regarded as one of the worst if not worst manager we've ever had. Lambert could have stopped another year, relegated us like he nearly did Villa, and would have still been highly regarded. He'd probably have kept the job, and might have lasted longer than Adams this year had the bounce back attempt been going similar. That's what reputation does.

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    Chris Mugglestone

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Stew, I'd swagger any-way for a nice bacon butty. Maybe Delia should waft the aroma around Carra' on match day.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I like the thought of a bag pipe band playing at the Carra. We witnessed a whole new tempo to our play on Saturday. As I posted yesterday Whittaker needs to get to grips (not in the physical sense) with his role.

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    Egyptian canary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Like most, I would have to agree that PD has a good understanding of the English language, however, I would have to question his maths. Question: If following JC's goal Ruddy stays between the posts, how can the 9 other players surround him when one has been sent off? ;-)

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    rament

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • .....Serious stuff now!....Fabulous fight, win and three points against the league leaders!....Congratulations should go to all 4 managers involved during the events since our defeat at Preston....and to the CEO and his work behind the scenes!....Our new incumbent in the job was able to accept his applause, even though his contribution had lasted less than an hour!....With a full weeks work and input ahead of him, he may raise the teams output to levels where they could humiliate teams like Millwall , Huddersfield, and Birmingham by 5 clear goals or more!....The future looks very bright....even if we haven't a clue what he is saying!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • .....cutty!...are you sure it was not a recording of a pig caught under a 5 bar gate?....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • where is brewer??

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    harry mcardle

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • From the camera angle it looked as though Howson cleanly won a loose ball. Yes he then collided with the opposition but football has always been thus, there were far worse sliding tackles shown on live TV over the last couple of days with no cards being shown at all. I certainly think the club should appeal but would not hold my breath expecting it to be rescinded.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Will Norwich appeal against the Howson red card? Controversial decision -The Norwich response will be interesting.

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    Regulador

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Unlike most i really look forward to Monday morning and the reading of Paddy Davitt, his artistry of the English language is unsurpassed, but my has AN got him fired up could this just be the new messiah, i believe the next two games will make or break our season, six points and not only will we be in the mix but a lot of frightened looks from those above us, come on Alex don't let us down, we are Norwich and we deserve better. OTBC.

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    Colwyn Canary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Alex Neil breaths out infectious enthusiasm so let us all milk it while it lives. After all, for fine leaders it comes naturally.

    Report this comment

    Regulador

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • WOW - some excellent posts and great to read so much positivity after some of the drivel of the last few weeks and months - long may it continue!!!!

    Report this comment

    Mr Ed

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • anyone else notice there's less posts when we win?

    Report this comment

    Morgan's_tight_pants

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Anyone else see the highlights on NCFC YouTube channel. It seems Phelan walks straight down the tunnel at the end. It even looks like he's talking the Mickey out of AN just before that. To be fair the result would have pretty much been down to him and Holt. Good result but we've still got a poor defence and a need replacements for Turner, Martin and Whittaker. To many goals last season and this season have come from us needing a quality RB with pace.

    Report this comment

    Oz Canary

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • A fine piece of fighting talk from Paddy. Bagpipes are a bit like Marmite you either love them or hate them but for me they are to coin a Lambert Phrase, "Great" so lets bring them on next Saturday. We could be in for an exciting second half to this season and I would settle for a trip to Wembley at the end of it complete with a bagpipe band.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • PD writes excellent prose- worthy of a lofty academic! The most successful managers out of Scotland are almost unintelligible. I don't understand why the BBC doesn't use subtitles when they are interviewed. Judging by the interview AN gave on Saturday he should be a roaring success!! Hope this is not another false dawn. I think the Board get it totally right with its selection of managers, albeit making some mistakes. Better than appointing the gung-ho guys that want totally transfer freedom, only to put their clubs into huge debts. Our Board manage a sustainable business with lots of jobs dependent upon it. Posters here need to remember that.

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    Canterbury Tales

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • I was in the TA many years ago and we had a pipe band, they fired the blood up and we marched with a swagger, we moved from invisible to invincible. Wonder if you can sing OTBC to bagpipes.

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    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • My word Paddy he's certainly got you all fired up we'll be a wearing yellow 'n green tartan afor' long.

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    cutty

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • The last paragraph is probably the most important. Really looking forward to Saturday.

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    el dingo

    Monday, January 12, 2015

  • ..."descended into a gladiatorial contest" er... Yeah PD. I'm just happy we got a big 'ol hearty three points...!

    Report this comment

    Morgan's_tight_pants

    Monday, January 12, 2015

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