Colman's v Warburtons, Paddy McGuinness v Stephen Fry, Delia Smith v Peter Kay. Norwich v Bolton match is not only a football match, it's a cultural clash of some repute...
And now, it's time for the quiz of the week...
I’m just too kind to the learned readers of Sabotage Times, I really am. Like a maverick teacher (think Jack Black in ‘School of Rock’, if for no other reason but our similar waist girth), I’m broadening your televisual horizons and introducing you to new and exotic delights. Assuming the reference in the title means very little to you (unless, like me, you devoured the weekend schedules during the late-70s), it’s from one of the greatest game shows ever created; ‘Sale Of The Century’. Ask your parents for further detail if you’re puzzled right now but, in short, it was hosted by Nicholas Parsons (a suave and sophisticated host who was smoother than a Rattlesnake’s scrotum) and involved contestants answering questions for money which they subsequently used to buy some shopping with. The excitement levels were ramped through the roof and Sale of the Century was a game show behemoth. Were it around today it would pinch ‘Red or Black’s’ kettle and take a big sh*t in it without Cowell even knowing – that’s how good it was.
Delusions of grandeur
‘But why include that in a Bolton v Norwich preview?’, I hear you ask. Well, the show opened with the immortal line “and now, from Norwich, it’s the quiz of the week”. Yip, that’s right. You’ve not misread that. You’ve not accidentally consumed some of the dope soup which Richard Pryor made at the beginning of ‘Stir Crazy’. The opening gambit of the show, the hook used to snare viewers for the next hour, did indeed refer to the fact that it emanated from the entertainment capital of the world – Norwich. And before the good people of Norfolk head west to find me and drop a cow on my boat, let me state that I’m certainly not proclaiming Bolton to be one of the most enticing and beautiful towns in the country – far from it in fact. But we’ve never put our name to a primetime game show in some fleeting flight of fancy. We could have done – I’m sure we could have shoe-horned ourselves into the opening credits of ‘Crackerjack’ when our very own Stuart Francis was host. But no – we chose to stay snuggled up under Manchester’s wing, safe and warm in our relative anonymity. And that’s how we liked it until the slew of Bolton celebs flung themselves headlong into the national conscience over the past decade. So, in advance of what will be one of the Premier League’s most anticipated encounters in years, let’s compare the relative merits of the two. I won’t add any comment to these – you can decide for yourselves who gains the bragging rights:
* Norwich has Cathy Dennis. We have Badly Drawn Boy.
* Norwich has Colman’s mustard. We have Warburtons bread.
* Norwich has Stephen Fry. We have Paddy McGuinness.
* Norwich has Billy Bluelight, renowned for his races against steam boats at the turn of last century. We have Mad Billy B*llocks, who stands by Chorley New Road and shouts at rush hour traffic.
* Norwich has Tim Westwood. We have Mark Radcliffe.
* Norwich has Delia Smith. We have Peter Kay. I would argue that Delia has made me laugh more over the past 4-5 years.
A pretty close run contest, I’m sure you’ll agree…
Cahill will relish the physical battle with him but if Paul Lambert has anything about him he’ll get Holt crashing into a shaky looking Zat Knight at every opportunity.
What of the game?
Quite simply, both teams need to win. Norwich desperately need their first victory whilst Bolton need to arrest the slide that has seen them concede 11 goals in the past 3 league games. Admittedly those have been against three of the best teams in the league but the general play, particularly in the capitulation against United, was a huge concern. Tomorrow will be a good gauge of exactly what Bolton can expect from this season. The big boys aside, home games simply have to yield 3 points, especially against the promoted sides – nothing else will do. Defeat is incomprehensible, especially as the next two games are against Chelsea and Arsenal. Whilst Owen Coyle has drawn a healthy amount of plaudits for what he has done for the club since leaving Burnley, this is proving to be the toughest period for him to date. Last week was utterly shambolic – will he keep the faith or wield the axe? I don’t believe he will make wholesale changes but I’m expecting one or two; potentially Ngog or Tuncay for Klasnic and Wheater for Zat Knight. The defence needs to hold firm – Grant Holt is a player I admire and a real handful (despite not having much luck so far this season). Cahill will relish the physical battle with him but if Paul Lambert has anything about him he’ll get Holt crashing into a shaky looking Zat Knight (if he starts) at every opportunity; a tactic which could prove fruitful if adopted. Bolton will start favourites and rightly so but this is far from a foregone conclusion.
2-1 to us. When it comes to goals, Norwich have proved as dangerous as Dale Winton in a UFC tournament thus far this season but we aren’t too hot at the back right now either. However, our attacking prowess should be enough to win the game. Goals from Petrov and whoever partners Davies up front (Ngog / Tuncay / Klasnic) with Grant Holt netting a consolation. Alex Ferguson to blame Kevin Davies for the recent financial meltdown and for ensuring his half time Mars bar is 20% smaller than it was 20 years ago. Delia to nail a few pints of Bank Top Flat Cap, head to the centre circle at half time and flash her growler to everyone. And the game to be last on MOTD.
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