Time to get that smile back on your face, Norwich City fans
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It will be good to get back into league action today after an international break that seems to have gone on for ever. We've all had way too much time to dwell on the events of the past fortnight, and a pall of doom and gloom seems to have descended over Carrow Road.
It's all very strange really when you think of the extraordinary achievements of the past six months. It's only just over three months since that wonderful Wembley final, my best ever day out as a City fan. But supposed failings in the transfer window and the sale of a popular player seem to have made all the euphoria evaporate.
The bloke in my paper shop reckons City fans are only happy when they're moaning, and maybe he's right, but are there really any grounds for those moans?
Let's look at the facts. At the time of writing Norwich are 14th in the fledgling Premier League table. Compare that with, for example, Stoke City. I hear the Potters have a tremendous feelgood factor surrounding the club right now, as they have apparently transcended from a survival club to an established Premier League club. They have announced their arrival in this select group with the 'marquee' signing of Xherdan Shaqiri. A glance at the league table reveals that they are actually in the bottom three, four places below City.
Admittedly there was a poor away performance away to Southampton during this period. This is something City fans haven't experienced for a long while, but if we get miserable every time City lose away in this league we might as well give up supporting right now. Alex Neil will have learnt several things from this performance, not least something all City fans have known for a long time: that players and managers may come and go, but City always have a Southampton away type performance in them. We move on.
The other thing, of course, is the sale of Bradley Johnson. He was the nearest thing we'd had to a talisman since Grant Holt. But to coin a fashionable phrase, it was hardly a 'marquee' sale. I've been following City for long enough to remember the sales of Kevin Reeves, Craig Bellamy, Chris Sutton, Robert Fleck and Dean Ashton, to name but a few. Each at the time was our most prized asset, our jewel in the crown, but you can hardly say that about Johnson. If we'd sold Nathan Redmond the accusation that little ol' Norwich are a selling club might have been justified. It's a measure of how far we've come that these days we have several key players we wouldn't want to lose.
We also seem to have come up trumps in the managerial stakes. A year ago very few of us had heard of Alex Neil. Now he is receiving plaudits from around Europe. A measure of his success is how seldom you hear Paul Lambert's name mentioned these days. Throughout the managerial spells of Chris Hughton and Neil Adams it was on everyone's lips. Not any more.
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I don't suppose we'll ever know what happened on deadline day and how close we were to securing our alleged targets, but it's easy to forget we successfully obtained the services of Robby Brady, Dieumerci Mbokani, Andre Wisdom, Youssef Mulumbu, Matt Jarvis and Jake Keane. We also made Graham Dorrans' loan deal permanent, which is starting to look like a masterstroke.
So cheer up everybody. A lot of clubs fans would love to change places with us. OTBC.