Chris Goreham: Norwich City fans might be saying a big thank you to Sunderland at the end of the season

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke has plenty of work to do before the Canaries face QPR on Wednes

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke has plenty of work to do before the Canaries face QPR on Wednesday night. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Here's a question for fans of the old TV quiz show Blockbusters; What 'P' is a well-known card game, a hit single by Take That and the most-used word at Carrow Road in the aftermath of Sunday's 3-1 defeat by Sunderland?

Well done to anyone who correctly buzzed in with the answer 'Patience'. The late great Bob Holness would be proud of you.

For those that don't remember 'Blockbusters', it was the 'Pointless' of its day in that it was a teatime quiz show which was good for morale because average viewers like me stood a good chance of getting a few questions right.

But it never seemed like a fair contest because it always featured a team of two students taking on a single opponent.

The odds were so obviously stacked against the poor lonely contestant that it was difficult not to really want that person to succeed, which brings us neatly on to Daniel Farke and his current Canary challenge.

The loss to Sunderland should not really have come as a surprise. All through a promising pre-season most fans had a nagging feeling that trying to blend so many new players into a new division and get them playing in a brand new style might be the sort of thing that cannot possibly be achieved over a few glorified training games.

The draw at Fulham and cup win over Swindon gave reasons for optimism that this work was progressing more quickly than many of us dared hope but the Championship enjoys pulling the rug from under anyone who dares to think that they might have cracked it.

Most Read

That's not to say that encouragement can't be taken from passages of play like the ones between the sorcerer and his apprentice, Wes Hoolahan and James Maddison, against Swindon and the fact that, despite being behind in all three matches so far, this new look Norwich have kept going until the end of games and they can't be accused of throwing in the yellow and green towel as they were on a few occasions last year.

Having said that, it would only be fair to mention that Sunday was just the second time that Norwich City have been beaten at Carrow Road in 2017.

Farke's home league debut ending in the same score as Fulham's impressive Good Friday victory.

It's a quirk that Farke and former caretaker manager Alan Irvine each have the scars of a City home defeat this calendar year to bear while Alex Neil doesn't.

Not many of the home fans would have him back now which shows why you have to be careful with cold, hard statistics.

It's the same with the 71pc possession that Norwich boasted on Sunday. This indisputable fact was undermined by some sloppy defending. That's a story that Neil and Farke could comfort each other with.

Let's not forget that Reading had more possession than Norwich at Carrow Road in April during a game which they lost 7-1.

The new head coach has impressed many with his willingness to change formations during matches, his handling of a delicate situation with Nelson Oliveira just one game into the job and a rousing speech to the media last week which proved that he already gets what Norwich City Football Club is all about and lends an insight into why sporting director Stuart Webber has been bold enough to call his man 'the best coach in the Championship'.

Sunderland and Norwich City have had a special relationship since the 'friendly' 1985 Milk Cup Final.

Sometimes true friends are the one prepared to point out your shortcomings, no matter how much it hurts.

Perhaps we'll be thanking our old mates for this practical demonstration of what needs to be done.


The Canary briefly lost its perch as the number one bird around Carrow Road last week when the now infamous goose appeared for a second half cameo during the win over Swindon.

The greylag entertained supporters with a couple of impromptu laps of the stadium to a rousing reception and gave us an opportunity to briefly bring a Test Match Special flavour to the BBC Radio Norfolk coverage.

How Norfolk's own Henry Blofeld would have enjoyed having such an unexpected feathered friend to distract from the business of describing live sport.

Other than a referee falling over, not much can steal the show at a sporting event quite like a sudden visitor from the animal kingdom.

For all the goals, blood, sweat and tears that Jonny Howson gave to Norwich City during his five years with the club, many supporters marked his recent departure to Middlesbrough by digging out the picture of the affable midfielder rescuing a stricken pigeon from the Upton Park pitch during a game against West Ham a couple of years ago as one of his stand out moments.

The goose may have flown obediently out of the exit eventually but Captain Canary mustn't get too comfortable because there is another rival on the Norfolk sporting scene.

King's Lynn Town kicked off their season last weekend with what was by all accounts an impressive 2-0 win over Gosport Borough.

It was an occasion made all the more special by the unveiling of an unheralded summer signing. Lionel The Linnet has been brought in at The Walks to help entertain what the club hopes will be some big crowds this season as former Norwich player and coach Ian Culverhouse embarks on his first full season in charge.

A look at the splash Hero the Hedgehog has been making during the World Athletics Championships in London with some of his antics will tell you that these furry mascots can get quite a name for themselves if they behave in the right way but if they learn anything from having a gander at our newest visitor to Carrow Road it is that knowing when to head for the exit and leave the sportsmen to it is a key skill.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter