Chris Goreham: It’s too early to talk about turning the corner...but at least City scored from one!
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Earlier this year I lost all my keys.
Front door, back door, garage – the lot. They all lived happily together in a big bunch on one keyring.
Over the years they had been joined by a few of those fobs that supermarkets hand out now to make sure you always have that all important loyalty card to hand.
There were also a couple of keys that had been part of the gang for so long that I was no longer sure which doors they opened.
As the realisation that they weren’t in my other coat pocket set in I searched frantically for them, this included revisiting every shop I had been to over the week.
It was getting to that point where I had to seriously consider giving up on them, changing the locks and sending away for a new Clubcard when, lo and behold, they turned up underneath an envelope on the kitchen side at a relative’s house.
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That was the last time I experienced a feeling of relief as powerful as the one that lifted my stomach when Norwich City finally returned to winning ways at the weekend.
As with most long and frustrating searches it all felt so simple once it was concluded.
Canaries fans have spent the majority of this season worried about the lack of goals coming from their side and pointing to all sorts of tactical flaws in the thinking of new head coach Daniel Farke.
The second goal against Sheffield Wednesday was beautiful in its simplicity. Timm Klose’s powerful header from James Maddison’s corner was the big moment in the game. It lifted the mood considerably, being only the fourth time that Norwich had scored twice in the same league match this season and just the second occasion at Carrow Road.
That it came from a central defender marauding forward to head home a set piece was particularly pleasing.
Klose had given an interview the day before the game during which he talked about the importance of players other than strikers helping to swell the ‘goals for’ column.
Farke’s Norwich always start with just one up front so it’s pretty obvious that putting all of the Canary eggs in either Nelson Oliveira’s or Cameron Jerome’s basket isn’t going to be enough.
Even if one or both of those players was to hit 20 goals a season City would still need others to chip in regularly if they want to achieve anything.
Up until now James Maddison has been the only non-striker exhibiting anything resembling a prolific streak.
From Steve Bruce to Malky Mackay Norwich City supporters have long been aware of the value of having central defenders who can throw their weight around effectively in the opposition’s penalty area.
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No formation, tactical approach or coaching philosophy rules out the possibility of a big lad heading in a corner or free kick.
It’s too early to talk in terms of turning points, one win over a Wednesday side that is starting to look like one of the division’s big underachievers this season does not lift all of the doubts that led to a few more empty seats than usual being visible at Carrow Road on Saturday.
With a trip to Leeds to come and crunch Christmas clashes against Brentford, Birmingham, Burton and Millwall, the next month will decide whether we spend the springtime looking hopefully upwards or nervously over our shoulder.
Norwich City may not have turned the corner but they have proved they can score from one which, after the last couple of months, is a crumb of comfort I am grateful for.
Now, where did I put my keys?
Making a meal of it
Televised football is nothing new and you would think that, by now, supporters would be used to the creative kick-off times demanded by the companies who have paid handsomely for the right to show such classics as Norwich City v Sheffield Wednesday to an audience of loyal monthly direct debiters.
However, on Saturday I spoke to lots of fans who had seen their regular pre-match routine thrown out of kilter by the 5.30pm start at Carrow Road.
We are all creatures of habit and know how to plan for a 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon kick-off or a midweek 7.45pm start. This teatime malarkey is neither one thing nor the other and the news that Norwich City’s FA Cup third round tie against Chelsea is also going to be moved to suit the BT Sport schedules brought a forlorn tweet from EDP reporter Dave Hannant, complaining that 5.30 kick-offs make “meal times a logistical nightmare”.
You spoke for all of us when you signalled that concern on social media Dave, I guarantee every Norwich City fan wrestles with that dinner dilemma on these occasions even if they are not prepared to admit it publicly.
I have known some supporters who refuse to go to anything other than the traditional 3pm/7.45pm kick-offs but being so vehement these days means missing a good proportion of matches.
Should Norwich City be fortunate enough to have returned to the Premier League by the 2019/20 season (don’t scoff – we won on Saturday so let’s at least enjoy it and dream for a bit) a whole new level of mealtime meltdowns will be inevitable.
The next Premier League TV deal will feature a series of matches that combine the most common kick-offs. These games will be played on a Saturday, which is at least something for the purists, but won’t start until 7.45pm. So do you stick to the Saturday routine or the midweek routine for such an occasion? These things matter to football supporters. The entire day is planned so that arriving for the match in time for the first chorus of ‘On The Ball City’ becomes instinctive.
It may not fit in with the image I like to portray of being a traditionalist but I certainly won’t be complaining if Norwich City are in a position to try out a Saturday 7.45pm kick-off in the Premier League in 2019.