David Hannant: Savage-gate is just the warm-up

Robbie Savage. Picture: PA.

Robbie Savage. Picture: PA. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Who'd have thought that at a time when Daniel Farke is leading our beloved Canaries to what looks like a comfortable promotion, that the person who has got us all talking is, of all people, Robbie Savage.

The unremarkable midfielder-cum-pundit got all the tongues wagging with his jibes about not fancying a trip to Carrow Road next season because, I quote, it's blooming miles from his house.

Given some of the truly bleak places he frequented in his playing days, you'd think a trip to lovely Norwich would be a welcome change of scenery, but that's a debate to have another day.

I don't know Robbie Savage personally, so I'm not going to launch a scathing personal attack or anything to that effect, but I'm not about to leap valiantly to his defence either.

However, the one penny I will throw into this already overflowing well is this: I'm not actually convinced Robbie Savage is filled with hate for Norwich City - he just has a persona to live up to.

Like so many people in his role, he's a provocateur. A Piers Morgan type whose job it is to try and rile people up.

Like it or lump it, but did his comments get you talking? Of course they did.

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Media personalities like him are paid to be controversial or "edgy" to deliberately try and provoke a reaction and make for entertaining broadcasts.

There are many types of broadcaster and that's the bed he's chosen to lay in. 

My approach to these things is, like many things in my life, inspired by my favourite television programme: The Simpsons.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I hark to classic era of The Simpsons at any given opportunity - and I'm going to do so today.

In the 1995 episode Treehouse of Horror VI, all of the town's billboard characters come to life and start running amok.

After destroying much of Springfield, the townsfolk realise the only way to defeat them, is to ignore them. Just don't look.

This, for me, is the ideal approach to the brand of inflammatory punditry to the likes of Savage produce - although I do obviously appreciate the irony in writing a column about it suggesting it best be ignored.

But in a way, I actually welcome this run-in with one of the national media's big-name personalities - as it's a nice warm up for the type of myth-peddling we're going to have to get used to next season, should the promotion deal be sealed.

It's a sad reality of supporting a medium-ish sized club that the kind of analysis we will likely receive as a Premier League club will be half-baked at best - other than obviously in our neck of the woods.

It's not an agenda, or a vendetta, it's simply a response to where the demand lies, so I don't begrudge it. But it is something we just have to live with.

When clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and the likes are supported by millions around the world and constantly under the spotlight, of course they'll get the lion's share of research, attention and analysis. I'm okay with that.

It just means that when we do get into the conversation, there's only enough time in the day for people to give us the slightest of glances.

As a result, you end up with myths, insights that barely scratch the surface and wild assumptions, designed to try and make pundits sound clued up, when really they don't know the half of it.

I think the main myth we're going to be having to bust this time is that ridiculous phrase people outside of Norfolk keep throwing our way - that we didn't want to stay up last time around.

What utter, utter tosh that was. 

Yes, we didn't spend big that summer, but you know another team that didn't spend big that summer? Liverpool - who won the title.

And the reason I bring up the Reds is that isn't it interesting how during their dwindling attempts at defending their title so many people are talking about their injury crisis.

Here's another great example of how commentators scratch beneath the surface of what's going on at the big clubs, but not what's happening to clubs like ours. 

We had near-identical levels of injuries in the same areas as Liverpool during that fateful season - but nobody mentioned that. We simply weren't having a go - it was nothing to do with having a full quota of defenders for a grand total of zero game weeks throughout the campaign.

Even if we have better luck next season and mount a challenge for a top half finish, we're likely to be hit with the same kind of tired cliches in the analysis we get.

Sure, we'll have our allies and there will be the odd person that does their research, but more likely it'll just be things like "aren't they doing well", before every slip-up is met with "are they being figured out?"

It's the exact same treatment every medium-sized club gets, but it's just a fact of football life and nothing to begrudge.

Personally, I don't mind being under the radar and try not to get too wound up by it.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy when somebody who does know their stuff gets the opportunity to show that off - although usually that only tends to come from people who have been bitten by the Norwich City bug - a Dean Ashton or Chris Sutton for example.

But when it comes to the others, the Carrow Road "ignore the noise" mantra is the one to go by.

Robbie Savage is merely the warm-up act, next season we'll be dealing with comments like his on a daily basis, so let's just not look.

Either that or he's just still salty about the fact his attempts to spoil that Derby game at Carrow Road for his mate Craig Bellamy fell flat, courtesy of a ricochet off Simeon Jackson's bum!

Farke right to champion wellbeing

Norwich boss Daniel Farke is the Premier League's 'hardest manager', according to 90min.com Pictur

Norwich boss Daniel Farke is the Premier League's 'hardest manager', according to 90min.com Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I've written so many times about my disdain for international breaks, but this one really does just take the mickey.

At a time when so many games have been crammed into so little time, it seems extraordinary to be factoring in international breaks at such a pivotal point of the season.

Of course with the Euros postponed until this summer, fixtures will always get congested in the international calendar, but next year's World Cup is happening months later than usual anyway.

Daniel Farke has spoken candidly on his views on the scheduling, particularly given the fact some of City's internationals will be playing little more than 48 hours prior to the Preston game.

And he's absolutely right to champion to mental wellbeing side of things, as well as physical wellbeing.

Clearly being flown around the world during a pandemic is stressful enough, without the added anxiety of rushing around to get back for your next domestic game.

The match should be moved, simple as that.

Alex Neil deserves another shot

City fans will always be grateful to Alex Neil for their Wembley day out. Picture: Paul Chesterton/F

City fans will always be grateful to Alex Neil for their Wembley day out. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Speaking of Preston, I was quite sad to learn of Alex Neil losing his job at Deepdale.

I can't confess to knowing too much about matters on the pitch at North End, but whenever I've seen them play City under Alex Neil they've looked fairly impressive.

Of course we're in a results business and they did appear to have lost his way, but it's still not nice to see a manager shot out - particularly one who I rate.

While things didn't end ideally for him here, I'll always hold him in high esteem for the job he did getting us promoted and we'll always have Wembley.

He was never really given funds to work with at Preston, so by all accounts didn't do the worst job.

I hope he's given the chance to further his managerial career elsewhere, now he's a free agent again.