And this year my awards go to...

It's been another year of ups and downs (mainly downs, unfortunately) at Carrow Road, although things have been looking up recently.As awards seem to be 10-a-penny these days, I thought I'd join the bandwagon over the next two weeks.

It's been another year of ups and downs (mainly downs, unfortunately) at Carrow Road, although things have been looking up recently.

As awards seem to be 10-a-penny these days, I thought I'd join the bandwagon over the next two weeks.


Peter Grant's departure - followed by the appointment of Glenn Roeder - was the turning point of our season.

We were plummeting towards League One under Grant, and despite the high hopes I had for him early on, it was plain to see that it wasn't working. By the time he left, he had turned us from a poor Championship team into a dreadful one.

It is important to remember the good points about our former manager, though:

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t He fell on his sword rather than waiting until the bitter end. If he'd stuck around until he was pushed (and don't forget that our board has a track record of inaction in times of crisis), our position could have become irretrievable.

t While some of his signings have turned out to be duff ones, he was responsible for bringing David Marshall, Jamie Cureton, Mark Fotheringham, Luke Chadwick and Darel Russell to the club.

tHe persuaded Dion Dublin to stay for another season.

tA lot of the rubbish that we found ourselves lumbered with at the end of the Nigel Worthington era was shipped out. Don't underestimate the scale of the work needed to sort out the squad that Grant inherited.

Having said that, the claim by the board that Grant was an “unlucky” manager was clutching at straws. Grant wasn't unlucky - he just wasn't very good.


I'd love to know who the player was who wouldn't come to Carrow Road because he didn't want to be away from home on Boxing Day.

It reminded me of the sob stories we hear from footballers and managers around the country every year about how the Christmas period is a tough time for them because they've got to work while everyone else is enjoying themselves.

I suppose they have a point. After all, the only other poor souls who have to work over Christmas are people such as the police, the armed forces, weather forecasters, air traffic control staff, care-home workers, pub and hotel staff, airport staff, security staff, firefighters, clergy, doctors and nurses, journalists, gritting-lorry drivers, taxi drivers . . .

And few - if any - of those people earn anything like what footballers do.

It's a myth that players have a tough time at Christmas. And as far as I'm concerned, the lack of desire shown by that mystery player suggests that we've had a lucky escape. We don't need that kind of attitude around here.


The Hull fans whose small-town mentality got the better of them when we visited the KC Stadium in August were a class apart in the idiot stakes.

They belonged to the Cup-a-Soup variety of fan - the sort that says “Instant idiot - just add alcohol” on the packet.

Normally when you see the police running towards you with their batons out, you start to worry about what you're in for (and no, I don't have a guilty complex). On this occasion, though, they were coming to our aid as a group of Hull fans thought it would be fun to run at us.

We'd just lost the game, so goodness knows what they'd have been like if we'd won.

To his credit, Hull's stadium officer later wrote to a Norwich fan offering his “sincere apologies for the duress that you and any others that were with you were put under by a mindless few Hull City supporters (if you can call them that) whilst leaving our stadium”.

He added: “Since the game, I have viewed the CCTV footage from the area and I'm satisfied that the perpetrators were the six that were ejected from the stadium earlier and who tried to whip up support of others.

“When these persons were ejected, police officers obtained names and addresses and passed their details on to us. I can now tell you that all six have been banned indefinitely from attending all events at the stadium.

“This makes the total number of club bans now 64. It is a record we're not proud of.”

It was a nice apology, but the numbers speak for themselves.


I'm pleased to see that the half-time entertainment has been changed recently - it's now the tried and tested crossbar-challenge.

But earlier in the season the whole thing was a complete farce.

I'm sure most of you are far more intelligent than me, but no one near where I sit had the faintest idea what was going on.

I suppose that might say more about those of us in the Snakepit than it does about the half-time entertainment, but it wasn't the most spectator-friendly event.

The low-point arrived during the Bristol City match, when teams of home and away fans both failed to do whatever it was they were trying to do, and the score ended 0-0.

There then followed a tie-break, with the question: “What is Norwich's next home game?” The answer was Ipswich.

You might have thought that such a question would put the Norwich fans in pole position - particularly as they were allowed to give their answer first.

But no! They got it wrong. The Bristol fans, embarrassingly for us, knew the answer, so it was they who picked up the free Flybe tickets.


I must have heard the Radio Five Live news and sport two dozen times last Saturday on the way back from Scunthorpe (not helped by the fact that we had to hang around in my mate's Seat in the middle of the picturesque fens while some posh friends of ours waited for a tow truck to arrive and pick up their broken-down BMW), but there was one item on the radio that I didn't tire of hearing.

Steve Coppell was talking about referees following the controversial winner that his Reading team had got against Sunderland earlier in the day.

Okay, so on this occasion Coppell had been the beneficiary of the decision, but he made the extremely valid point that if players made as few mistakes as the officials did, England would be world champions every four years.

On Sunday evening, though, I was amazed to see Sky Sports' Andy Gray - who takes himself way too seriously - banging on about how the linesman had made the wrong call, even though various television replays and whizzy reconstructions (not available to the officials at the time, mind) had shown that the ball HAD crossed the line.

Gray's argument was that although the decision was the right one, the linesman couldn't have seen it properly and therefore he shouldn't have allowed the goal.

There are enough occasions when the officials make a complete hash of things - who can forget the farcical display by Lee Probert during our defeat by Derby in March, for example? - without going on about the times they get things right when they should have got them wrong!

Gray needs to chill out. Football is supposed to be fun.