The penny looks to have dropped for Norwich City winger Josh Murphy
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Every football fan has got those “I was there” memories.
Seeing Norwich City get promotion at Hillsborough in my first away game in 1982, going mad when Brucie got THAT header in the Milk Cup semi in ‘85 in my debut in the Barclay, winning at Wembley a few weeks later and then returning to the home of football three decades later for the play off final.
I could go on and on...
Being on the sofa in my living room relying on radio commentary and Twitter to follow league cup games at Watford in September 2013 and at home to Charlton in August 2017 isn’t quite in the same league of unforgettable Canary moments.
But it may be that those two matches almost four years apart have more significance than is immediately obvious.
The game down at Vicarage Road was the evening when the majority of Norwich fans first woke up to the undoubted talents of a very young Josh Murphy.
He had been part of the FA Youth Cup winning team earlier that year and he came on as sub to replace Bradley Johnson that night as an 18-year-old. Josh fired a terrific goal which inspired the Canaries to fight back from 2-0 down to win the tie 3-2.
Lots of water passed under Carrow Bridge between then and Tuesday night when (in head coach Daniel Farke’s words) Murphy was “brilliant” in again being the catalyst for a League Cup victory.
I remember the excitement after the Watford win. A star had been born we thought, especially as he was twinned with another sparkling gem.
I will readily admit I haven’t always fully appreciated the Murphy jewels.
Plenty of times I have sat in my pew in the top of the River End and shouted to both the boys to be more direct.
We get a very good view up there and you can see the wide open spaces which have so often been ahead of Josh and Jacob. There has been the chance to gallop on and take on a full back. On lots of occasions both brothers have stopped and cut back rather than going for the jugular.
It may well be that the management team has told them to do that. I may never know.
I wish Jacob all the best in the new chapter of his career up north.
By all accounts his monthly pay cheque is several times bigger than it was. Given the chance, he has the potential to thrive in the Premier League.
I’m far more interested in his sibling and so hope that his performances during the disappointing loss at Villa and against Charlton will become the norm.
An on-fire Murphy is just what City need to help get the stuttering season really going.
Of course the defensive frailties remain a concern.
So much has been said and written about this in recent days, weeks and months. Farke and Stuart Webber must get it sorted or we’ll never move forward successfully.
While tightness at the back is essential, we also want a spark of excitement at the other end.
All the great City teams I remember down the years have had someone who has provided the X-factor - and that is the phrase Farke has used to talk about Josh.
“He was brilliant and we know his potential,” was the head coach’s simple verdict at the end of the cup match.
Murphy was looking good in pre-season but then picked up a knock which put him back.
He seems to be getting his confidence back and displaying that swagger and rhythm that we want from our wingers.
He said himself he loves the number 11 (the shirt number he wore during the FA Youth Cup triumph).
“It’s the classic left winger number and that’s me,” he said a few weeks ago.
He has set himself a target of 10 goals and 10 assists for the season.
Three goals and a helping hand for another in the last game and a half represents a decent week.
We all know that every time Josh finds the net and has a decent game that comparisons will be made with his brother and there will be talk about him becoming the next big money departure.
Work in progress is becoming a common phrase around Carrow Road this campaign. I think it remains very apt for Josh.
But I so hope he can continue to shine. He is a great lad who loves the club. We love him and homegrown talent is always great to cherish.
Tuesday’s cup victory was a much needed tonic. I’m pleased Farke is making the cup a priority.
That momentum needs to carry on at Millwall on Saturday so we can go into the international break in good heart. OTBC.
We love players that appreciate fans
Footballers have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
Like most of our defenders, Christoph Zimmermann has hardly had a perfect start on the pitch so far this season and we want to see a lot more from him.
However, I have to say I love what I hear from the big man.
It’s easy to say nice things about the fans but I sense he genuinely means it.
He got lots of attention when he posed for pictures and shook hands with supporters after last week’s 2-0 win over QPR.
CZ said: “I think there were 26,000 in the stadium. Compare that to my last season and 3,000 was a good crowd.
“I am enjoying it and we shouldn’t take it for granted that we have this massive support. It is a little way to say thank you.
“For a night game I am sure there were many children who were supposed to be in bed by that time.”
Great stuff and is the sort of attitude that will make him a real favourite.
I’ve moaned plenty of times about the people/computer (or other being) who put together football fixture lists.
We’re facing the ridiculous situation where City have to travel to Middlesborough and Sunderland on Tuesday nights and Cardiff on a Friday evening later this season.
Lots of thoughts about the away fans there then.
What I also can’t understand is why we twice have two league matches at Carrow Road within four days of each other and have a period of three and a half weeks without a home match.
Where’s the logic there? Yes I know we’ve moved away from those halcyon days of Saturday 3pm home game one week and Saturday 3pm away the next (and so that quaint sequence went on).
TV producers call the shots and need to get what they want for all the billions they pour in.
Even taking the inconveniences caused by live broadcasts into consideration, the fixture list is a mess.
Let’s hope one day they can get it right.