So who needs enemies, Neil? – Norwich City’s boss’ rotten run of luck continues
- Credit: PA
Poor old Neil Adams. Makes you wonder how many mirrors he's shattered of late.
There was the embarrassment of the Italy tour, when City ended up playing a pub team rather than something more akin to the type of opposition needed to stir the loins ahead of a new season - hardly his fault.
Then he lost Robert Snodgrass, although City were more than amply compensated by Hull City, while the departure of RVW on loan to St Etienne was perhaps a case of getting rid of the elephant in the room.
But if Neil thought the baggage was behind him, along came an inept performance at Wolves coupled with a naughty tweet from Anthony Pilkington which appeared to suggest that Neil's assertion that he wouldn't play at Molineux because he was carrying an injury was incorrect and that he had been fit all along. It was a case of something smelly hitting the fan. It also raised the question of whether players should tweet – and whether they should be quite so open about things. Should they break the omerta of 'what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room' in the name of good old honesty?
In a sport where dressing room spirit is seemingly a major factor in how a team performs, it does seem wrong that a player should step out of line in such a way. The fact Pilkington's brother then took to twitter the following day suggested all was not well between the Pilkington boys and Norwich City Football Club. Here's what brother Danny wrote: 'How's my bro not get in this squad crazy! Adams saying they look solid defensively got opened up at will off league 1 winners #clueless.'
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Not exactly going to help that team spirit is it? Problem is, no matter how good a player is, once the division between him and manager has begun there is a massive problem. Thankfuly, Pilkington is on his way to Cardiff and City will recoup a decent sum of around £2m.
Of course, Neil's problems and Mr Pilkington's comments might just have gone away had City been better against Wolves. It would have helped had Martin Olsson not got himself sent off. It really doesn't do anyone any good when senior players undermine their manager by their actions.
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The Wolves game was always going to be tough - big club, just promoted facing relegated Norwich at their place. What Adams needed was help not hindrance, allies not enemies. Clear a bit more dead wood and things will start to look better.
'Fashionably late again'
The football season starts today, apparently. The Premier League has been blowing its own trumpet all week, thanks to its sugar daddy Sky TV, and we were all supposed to sit up and listen.
Today's Premier League offerings include Stoke v Aston Villa and West Brom v Sunderland. Yup, greatest league in the world.
Truth is, it's all relative. I watched Derby win 2-0 at Carlisle on Monday in the Capital One Cup and thought their football was excellent: they pass it well and quickly.Entertainment isn't guaranteed in football, which is perhaps why we invest so much time and money waiting to see what happens.
And to conveniently relegate the Football League and the non-league set-up just because it's day one of the Premier League which is supposedly 'excitement guaranteed' is not only arrogant but quite patently untrue.
'Grace, that is amazing'
I know there are dedicated athletes all over the shop, but a story about Grace Leech, from Great Yarmouth, caught my eye. If only because it was one which disproves the theory that all Year 8 pupils – Grace is at Flegg High – spend every spare minute on a computer either playing games or clogging up social network sites.
Grace is a swimmer, a member of the UEA City of Norwich Swimming Club which she joined full time earlier this year. She makes the 40-mile round trip to the UEA Sportspark in Norwich six times a week, leaving home at 4.30am for a 5.30am start during the week to enable her to get back for school. Then she returns to the pool straight after school, often clocking up three hours' swimming a day.
Mum and dad Ian and Katie say they are 'immensely proud of Grace'. And so they should be.
She isn't the only one, but she is a great example of a young person enjoying her sport. Good luck to her.