Wait a little longer to pass judgement

A few weeks into the new season and it's time for our first international break.Whenever one of these two-week breaks comes along, players and managers say it has come at the worst possible time (even though they knew in advance that there was going to be a break).

A few weeks into the new season and it's time for our first international break.

Whenever one of these two-week breaks comes along, players and managers tend to say it has come at the worst possible time (even though they knew in advance that there was going to be a break).

If it comes on the back of a couple of victories, there are complaints about lost momentum. If there have just been a couple of defeats - as has happened with us this time - the cliché brigade rolls out the line that “we need to play a game quickly to get it out of our system”.

The truth of the matter is that everyone is in the same boat when these internationals breaks take place. Good teams don't stop being good teams and bad teams don't suddenly sort themselves out.

But it does give us time to sit back and take stock of what has happened so far this season. For the first time since we kicked off at Preston last month, Peter Grant has not had to make preparations for a weekend game, and everyone has the chance to look at the bigger picture.

So what have we learnt from the first few weeks of the season?

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Unfortunately, it is clear that we are still more than capable of looking rather ordinary.

A blistering 30 minutes against a League Two side and the first half against Cardiff aside, we've been watching the Norwich of old again this season.

And the results have pretty well matched the performances. We did beat Southampton 2-1, but without two bits of magic from Jamie Cureton and a linesman who couldn't see that the ball was over our goal-line, we'd have got nothing from what was a poor performance.

We were disappointing at Hull and Rochdale, and despite a decent first half last Saturday, we ended up losing to a Cardiff side that was average at best.

Even our opening-day point at Preston can now be looked at in a different light. At the time, it was hailed as a tremendous backs-to-the-wall defensive display against a not-bad team.

Since then, however, Preston have lost every time they have played, including against Morecambe at home in the League Cup. In the league, they have picked up a single point (against us), scoring just the one goal.

Taken as a whole, then, it's been a fairly underwhelming start to the season for us, and while it's early days, it's not much fun being in 20th position.

We still have a number of positions that need strengthening, with the centre of defence looking particularly vulnerable, and the injury to Jimmy Smith before he kicked a ball for us in anger has been another disappointment.

But it's not all doom and gloom at Carrow Road - not yet, anyway.

Although there are concerns about the lack of a goal so far from Chris Brown, he is playing well and there could yet be a decent partnership between him and Cureton.

The summer signings of Julien Brellier and Jon Otsemobor are looking like good bits of business, and there is no doubt that the quality we have at the club is far better now than it was a year ago.

We are also still in the League Cup (although I can't be the only one who is totally nonplussed by the trip to Man City in the next round).

But what gives me the greatest hope for this season is the fact that this league is so remarkably average.

While we haven't played particularly well so far, it's surely not going to take much for us to match the likes of Coventry, Bristol City and Scunthorpe, who are among the early-season leaders.

Meanwhile, teams such as Charlton and Wolves have been tipped for great things this season and yet are just three points ahead of us.

It works both ways, admittedly, and there is no reason why other teams can't put runs together and pull away from the also-rans.

But at the moment it's still pretty close points-wise, so let's take this fortnight off to recharge the batteries before returning next week determined to be the ones putting that run together.


Last weekend started in the usual way, with high hopes followed by the oh-so-predictable let-down.

You clock off work for the weekend with such a sense of anticipation, but once the action starts you are quickly brought back down to earth with a huge bump.

What makes it worse is the fact that you've paid so much to get in - and all you get to see is a bunch of massively-overpaid prima donnas.

Yes, I know that if you don't like it you don't have to go, but there's always some part of you that thinks this time might be different.

I suppose we did get a half-decent 40 minutes or so, but there was no reappearance for the second half and it soon became clear that that was all the entertainment we were going to get.

There were some fireworks afterwards behind the scenes - but so there should have been. A few rockets were certainly needed. And it wasn't just me - there was a real sense of gloom around the place as we headed home, stuck in the wretched traffic. I'm also told that Radio Norfolk was bombarded with calls from disappointed fans, grumbling about being let down. What a miserable start to the weekend it was.

And if Girls Aloud weren't bad enough, the next day we also saw Norwich lose to Cardiff.