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I'm ready to throw myself into whatever Norwich City have to offer this season

PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 July 2017

Yanic Wildschut has staked a claim for a starting place at Fulham this weekend thanks to his form in pre-season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Yanic Wildschut has staked a claim for a starting place at Fulham this weekend thanks to his form in pre-season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Rejoice! Pre-season is over. Everything is normal again.

This time next week Norwich City fans will be mulling over the events of the first fixture. It’s unacceptable to be anything other than optimistic on opening day, but let’s face it, we’re away at Fulham. City haven’t won there since 1986, and we have won just twice on the opening day in the last 16 years. Thank heavens it’s not televised.

I will be honest – I don’t like pre-season. The players seem to return to their clubs incredibly early. I’m not ready to hear anything about football in the first week of July, when the cricket season is barely halfway done.

I like taking a break from it – I know there will be many freezing afternoons at Carrow Road to come, many uncomfortably crowded trains home to endure, and many disappointing performances to sit through.

The time away lets me recharge and be ready to go through it all again.

Then there are the dreaded friendlies. I’ve been to many of Norwich’s pre-season games in the last decade or so, but I made the decision after a 2-0 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012 never to attend another one.

There’s something about the lack of a competitive element that just renders these games unwatchable to me.

It was after tuning into an obscure channel I’d never heard of to watch Newcastle play a pre-season friendly a few summers ago that I also decided to embark on a hiatus from football in every year that there wasn’t a World Cup or Euros. That means I haven’t watched any football since the Champions League final in the first week of June.

This summer, if the Canaries had been playing a friendly game in my garden, I wouldn’t have made the effort to walk over to the window for a glimpse of Mario Vrancic attempting to dribble around the washing line. Those who followed the squad to Ireland and Germany, I salute you.

This week, however, I can indulge myself in all that football has to offer once more.

This year there is a genuine sense of excitement about Norwich City. I have never known a summer of change like it. It’s so refreshing to see the same old names moved out and replaced with fresh, exciting talents.

I would be a lot less excited about the kick-off had the likes of Steven Whittaker, Graham Dorrans and Ryan Bennett still been among the ranks.

I will readily admit that I have never seen any of the new signings play, and I’d only previously heard of Angus Gunn, James Husband and Harrison Reed before they arrived at Carrow Road.

But that makes it all the more interesting for me – I won’t be getting that feeling that I’ve seen it all before. Especially as the team will be led by a new manager as well.

I applaud the work the club has done to get rid of the deadwood. I might have liked to have kept Jonny Howson, but as soon as I heard that he had demanded to leave then the case was closed in my mind.

There is no room for players who do not wish to be here.

The transfer that most surprised me was that of Jacob Murphy. To see him heading to a Premier League club with City banking an eight-figure sum raised an eyebrow.

I just can’t see him getting too much time on the pitch on Tyneside. Nothing I saw of Jacob last season made me think he was ready for the top level, and I think he could have done with at least another season in the Championship.

But the deal is done. It’s ok, though, we still have his brother – and I reckon Josh is the better player.

The stage is set, the curtain rises, we are ready to begin. The very best of luck, Mr Farke.

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