Can’t fault Norwich City’s effort, but we need results

Well, after a bitterly disappointing defeat, who would have thought that the fixture at Carrow Road on September 29 would be of the must-win variety, after five games without a single victory?

But that's enough about Liverpool.

We now need something – at least a point – out of Saturday's game so, so badly.

It's not that we realistically expected anything from St James' Park, but with Southampton in particular managing to get off the mark by profiting from Aston Villa's capitulation this morning's league table makes uncomfortable reading. At least QPR were unable to hold their lead at Tottenham.

Just three wins in 18 league fixtures now since that thrilling success at Swansea in February. You can't fault the effort from a new approach, but yet again we haven't been able to put away what chances we did manage to create.

Newcastle were deficient in defence, but we couldn't take advantage of long spells of possession.

There's no getting away from it. We went out and gave it a go and silenced the St James' Park crowd for long spells, but sides who are continually 'unlucky' are the ones who end up being relegated.

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If we manage only another two goals in our next five games we'll be in danger of getting cut adrift in the bottom three. But it's the 10-fixture mark when you can start to be worried – not yet.

And goals are the real problem with yesterday. Had we lost 2-1 or 3-2 then we would at least have the consolation that we'd finally managed to find the net again.

Supporters are going to find precious little comfort in a 1-0 defeat, albeit one away to a side who finished in the top six last season.

Perhaps Harry Kane and Chris Martin will impress against Doncaster on Wednesday and then be able to do something against Liverpool. Because Brendan Rodgers' players are going to be under an awful lot more pressure than us. It is a game we cannot afford to lose.

• Wednesday's game certainly won't be any kind of after-thought now. There's also the small matter that if we can beat a side currently 39 league places below us – all of a sudden – we are into the last 16. Which hasn't happened in the League Cup for 17 years.

True, a bye being followed by Scunthorpe at home means it hasn't been as long-winded a process to get to this stage as in past years – like away draws against Torquay and Rotherham in 2006 – so as yet there hasn't been any momentum built up or sense of a cup run being formed. But that's no bad thing.

Get through on Wednesday and unless we draw the likes of Manchester City away, the fact that the fourth round takes place after the visit to Aston Villa means that the prospect of Capital One Cup progress continues to be low key and no-one's hopes and expectations get raised too much. Yet.


So, has the golden age of Norwich City away travel ended, and will the level of visiting support return to that seen around five or six years ago?

The fact that Chelsea away has become the latest fixture for which tickets are proving much harder to shift than expected would suggest that. Perhaps the fact that only 1,750 or so tickets were initially sold for Stamford Bridge suggests that this will be the core away support for league games – it certainly ties in with the number at St James' Park yesterday.

Perhaps apart from the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and maybe Liverpool and Manchester City, all away tickets for the rest of the season will end up going on general sale now. The reasons are not hard to fathom.

There will have been many who went to away matches last season who did so as a one-off – we don't get to play league games at, say, Stamford Bridge that often so you make the most of it while you can.

So when it comes round a second time, they will have been there and got the programme and no longer be interested. And there will also be those who felt that last season was as good as it was going to get and didn't fancy what they perceived as being nine months of more of a grind and/or struggle this time around. Finally, there will be those would simply can't afford it. Chelsea might not have put their prices up this season, but �50 or �47 plus all travel and incidental costs adds up to one very expensive day out. And that's just one of 19 away fixtures.

If Fulham, Tottenham and now Chelsea sales have been slow, it makes you wonder what it'll be like for this season's less attractive fixtures – a midweek fixture at Southampton, for example.

As the Premier League continues to get ever more expensive, clubs in out-of-the-way areas with low population bases like Norwich are going to start struggling.

It's not like Fulham, who, if last season's sell-out against the Canaries is anything to go by, appear to have re-invented themselves as a football theme park for tourists visiting London. I've heard far more foreign tongues outside Craven Cottage than ever Old Trafford or Anfield.

Just how many of the remaining Chelsea tickets are shifted between now and October 6 will have a big impact on City away games later this season.

If there are many left over and other clubs operate a similar 'sale or no return' principle I couldn't really blame anyone at Carrow Road for deciding to ask for fewer than 3,000 seats in future.

Look back to five seasons ago. Apart from the opening day at Coventry and the visit to Portman Road, the highest travelling support was 1,790 at Birmingham.

Perhaps that's the sort of figure we're going to return to in the future.


'Inevitably, prices have increased for next season and yet this still represents great value for money whilst your season ticket remains the most affordable way to watch football at Carrow Road.' David McNally, January 2012

'The worst thing for me has been the way in which many supporters have been priced out of the game. Our game should be for all and should be truly inclusive.' David McNally, September 2012

In an area of the country where the annual salary is perhaps �20,000, I am sure there will be many Canaries fans hoping this view expressed on the club website last week means that there will be no repeat of an inflation-busting 10pc rise in season tickets or further hike for casual seats next year – especially if City are on the threshold of profiting from an even more lucrative television deal.

• And while I'm on the subject of ticket pricing, Aston Villa are at it again in terms of the difference between home and away ends.

If you're a City fan, tickets for our visit to Villa Park on October 26 will set you back you �39. For anyone other than an away supporter the cost is �23-42.

It's almost enough to make you get a seat in a home area, although whether you'll be surrounded by people chanting 'Paul Lambert's claret and blue army' or 'Lambert out' remains to be seen.


So, to the bottom of the Championship, and how unfortunate to see one particular side there.

No, not them – Agent Jewell is doing an even better job than Agent Keane at the moment, it would appear – but Peterborough.

Apart from two never-to-be-remembered League Cup ties in 1986, we've never met the Posh in any proper, competitive fixtures. Despite both clubs' many ups and downs in recent years we've still managed to miss each other.

Peterborough are the only club in the top two divisions who City haven't faced in the last four-and-a-bit seasons, so if we were to ever play each other at London Road demand for tickets would be huge.

Except I rather hope that doesn't happen, and that Peterborough start to pick up – and fast.

After all, the Posh continuing to stay in the Championship means that there is no way we can be relegated. We're just fated not to play each other.