City boss counts his blessings

Canaries boss Peter Grant says he is one of the luckiest men in the world as he prepares to kick off a football season for the first time as a manager.


Canaries boss Peter Grant says he is one of the luckiest men in the world as he prepares to kick off a football season for the first time as a manager.

Grant sends his team out at Preston this afternoon for game one of another massive season in the club's history - and admits there will be no excuses should City fail for the third time in a row to be genuine force in the Championship.

This time it has to work, although the punters have stacked the odds against both manager and players: the bookies rate Grant as a 12-1 shot to join the footballing scrapheap that claimed nine Championship managers - including his predecessor Nigel Worthington last October - last season and for the team to finish mid-table at best.

Grant has shown half a dozen players the exit door this summer, three others have left of their own volition, while another seven have join the canaries crusade - but despite finally building a team in his own image, he refuses to blame his predecessor for City's failings last season.

“It was my team from last October and continues to be,” he said. “Yes, there are new faces in and yes I would like to have the full complement available, that's all I ask for, nothing else.

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“But from last October it has been my team. Beginning of this season it's my team. Until I lose my job it's my team. That is the way football is, I don't look for excuses and blame somebody else for what happened before.

“I don't care who else's team it was, it's my group of players, whether it was someone else who had bought them doesn't bother me because that would be making excuses for the results we had and I am not one for making excuses.”

A sickness bug affecting a handful of first teamers and the loss of star player Darren Huckerby through injury means the season has come a week too early for Grant, but the Glasgwegian admits he will get the same buzz as he did in a playing career that spanned 19 seasons.

“We managers are the luckiest people in the world,” said Grant. “I know we get a lot of stick, a lot of criticism. It's great when things are going well, that is part and parcel of the job, but it is tough as well - it's a lonely place at times.

“But I felt the same as a player. When you weren't playing well you felt the same way - you just wanted the season to start, you wanted to have a good season as an individual and you wanted your team to be successful.

“As a manager you want everybody to be successful. You want to see the club and the supporters having the benefit of having good runs and exciting everybody again.

“You take that all on board yourself - as a player you were much more selfish, you were only concerned with yourself playing well and hopefully the team would do well on the back of that. But you are always excited - I am excited every week about the games.

“We are in a very fortunate position and who knows how long it will last - it could be our last day. Every time you go out you have to try and enjoy it. I love it - but whether I enjoy it is a completely different answer.

“It is the start of the season. All managers go in with great hope and with great trepidation as well - I am no different. We all want to get off to a fantastic start.”