Earnshaw statement would mean nothing

This time last year, I wrote in my EDP column about all the speculation surrounding Dean Ashton. Back then, ahead of the club's FA Cup third round tie against West Ham, I wrote that transfer windows were “a very real and unhelpful distraction to clubs, players and supporters who are trying to concentrate on progressing in the League”.

This time last year, I wrote in my EDP column about all the speculation surrounding Dean Ashton. Back then, ahead of the club's FA Cup third round tie against West Ham, I wrote that transfer windows were “a very real and unhelpful distraction to clubs, players and supporters who are trying to concentrate on progressing in the League”.

In January 2006, all the speculation surrounded Dean Ashton and Robert Green. And now, in January 2007, with Darren Huckerby having agreed to an extension of contract in spite of huge interest from other clubs, all of the speculation surrounds the Championship's leading goal scorer, Robert Earnshaw.

I have received many email appeals from supporters imploring us to issue a 'not for sale' statement to quash the speculation. But in reality, all that any statement would do is to intensify any such speculation.

Shortly before their sacking of Les Reed, Charlton issued a statement saying that there would be no further managerial change at the Valley this season. Just hours later, Reed was sensationally sacked and Alan Pardew appointed.


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Making any predictions or definitive statements about what will or will not happen is pretty daft in football. Whilst we very much value Robert Earnshaw and would like to keep him at Carrow Road, the fact is that no one knows whether he or any other City player will still be with us at the end of January, this summer or next season. That is the very nature of transfer windows. And while we can go about our own business to try and bring in new faces to freshen up the squad, there is simply nothing we can do to prevent other clubs bidding for our players. Or other managers creating mischievous and unhelpful speculation on the back pages of the morning papers for that matter. That's football!

t CUP RUN IS SO VALUABLE

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It may be true to state the FA Cup has lost some of it's 'magic' with the multi-million pound Premiership and Champions League nudging the FA Cup down the priority list for some of the country's biggest clubs, but for the majority of football supporters, including me, it remains relevant, exciting and 'romantic'.

The 'romance' of the FA Cup is there to be seen each and every season. This time last year we all witnessed Manchester United being held to a goalless draw at the hands of Conference side Burton Albion on a sand covered pitch, giving the non-league side an extremely lucrative replay and memories that no-one associated with Burton will ever forget.

This season we find ourselves in the spotlight as we look forward to our visit to Tamworth's Lamb ground on Saturday. No-one in Norfolk is under any illusions that the BBC TV cameras are there for any other reason than to witness Norwich City fall flat on our face by losing to a non-league side - remember Hereford, Wimbledon and Sutton all achieving exactly what Tamworth will be seeking to do this weekend.

Surprise non-league victories; 'bigger' clubs falling foul of muddy pitches and wonder strikes by journeymen players against the world's best players are all part of the 'romance' which makes the FA Cup unique. A good run in the world's oldest and best club cup competition is worth a great deal more to clubs and supporters than just the financial rewards that accompany it. It represents the very dream that is football - something that in this money-dominated era of sports commerce, is all too rare.

The FA Cup is a fantastic competition and one that everyone at Norwich City is preparing for thoroughly as we seek to improve our less than impressive record of recent seasons.

Let's hope this weekend brings its fair share of shocks and thrills, but not at our expense.

On the ball, City!

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