Finally time for Norwich City to kick a ball in anger
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
In terms of their accuracy as a method of predicting future events pre-season friendlies are on a par with sifting through the entrails of chickens.
Remember the 2009 pre-season? Bryan's Gunn's League One team strolled through it unbeaten with a draw against Manchester United and wins against Championship Palace and Premier League Wigan, yet capitulated 7-1 at home to Colchester in their first league game. From a player's perspective, friendlies are a necessary evil; a means of getting game miles in and doing enough to catch the manager's eye while avoiding injury.
That's not to say the defensive errors on show against an impressive Hannover should be overlooked, reminiscent as they were of far too many occasions last season. On the positive side City, with largely the same defence personnel, but without the imperious Timm Klose, had the third best defensive record in the league in City's last Championship season and they will need to at least repeat that achievement as well as converting more of their chances.
However, such considerations have been largely overshadowed by the week's transfer activity, an area where the club, in all honesty, sometimes do themselves no favours.
After the interminable courting of Sergi Canos, the attempt to sign Ross McCormack started to resemble the gestation period of an elephant, only for the deal to collapse as Villa stole in.
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While Alex Neil made it clear that all the media speculation was generated from the Fulham end as they tried to provoke an auction, the failure to land a target the manager clearly valued highly after apparently spending a week playing hardball over a fee was not the news fans wanted days before the first game.
With Martin Olsson's agent very publicly declaring his client wanted a move (although the cynic in me wonders why this burning desire only surfaced after West Ham started looking for a left back) any feelgood factor around Carrow Road was dissipating like mist in the sunshine by Wednesday morning.
- 1 Risk of flooding in parts of region as storms slowly move in
- 2 Man taken to hospital after cardiac arrest at beach
- 3 Eagle-eyed plane spotter saves pilot's life
- 4 Incredible aerial photos show scale of Latitude Festival
- 5 Trains cancelled due to flooding - and more heavy rain expected
- 6 Former hunting lodge for sale for £1.695m with huge lake
- 7 City ready for Cantwell and Aarons end game
- 8 Norwich Bus Station building closed due to Covid ping
- 9 Never mind the limo - aspiring farmer rides tractor to prom night
- 10 'Do your bit to slow spread' - plea as Covid hospital admissions remain low
However, the arrival of Alex Pritchard, a player who many of us have coveted since his dismantling of City in one of Neil's first games in charge did wonders for improving the mood, although few would doubt that another striker is absolutely essential and will hopefully be arriving in the near future.
On that score it's also important to remember that the transfer window is open for another three weeks, and whilst in a footballing utopia where money was no object the squad would be completed a fortnight before the first game, the reality is that the market is still gathering pace and will continue to do so until August ends, and only then can we really judge how well, or badly, City's recruitment team have performed.
City's recent opening day record is pretty awful but I still can't wait to get to Ewood Park this afternoon. It's a new season and hope springs eternal!