After six years away Norwich City are back in the big time. Unlike their beloved neighbours Ipswich Town this fans doesn’t see why the Canaries can’t stay a while.
Pre season: Good, bad or ugly?
On the whole good, although we did lose away to Palace. If I do get dispatched to Hell, I’m positive the skeletal oarsman will row us up to Selhurst. Well, row us down the Thames first before taking a London Bridge train to Norwood Junction. There’s no joy there for us. There’s something not quite right about that place. Bad juju.
Hopes for the season:
To dig in and stay up. If we finish fourth from bottom, then it’s conga time. The club needs to move on, and develop the ground. The capacity in the Premiership should be nearer 35,000, 30,000 at the very least, with an increased away section. This ground development can’t happen unless we can stay put upstairs.
Our support has actually been growing, which is odd considering the generally tepid fare we’ve been served over the last ten or twelve years. So, with the momentum of the back-to-back promotions, we really have to capitalise on this opportunity and finally meet the demand for tickets. The Ipswich derby game, for instance, (should that ever happen again – ha ha) should be nearer 35,000, than 27,000. And matches against the bigger Premiership clubs will sell out.
Fears for the season:
That we simply get worn down and enter a long, losing streak. The Derby County ‘no win’ season looked morose. I don’t think they even released a highlights DVD. Although there is a massive gulf between the EPL and the Championship, I do feel that there’re points to be had. Blackpool almost survived and Bolton have been up for a while now. Wolves, Stoke and West Brom have improved. It’s going to very, very hard, but the squad is buzzing, and the manager is superb.
Absolute bare minimum you’ll accept
I’d like to think, at the very least, we could win a game. No Norwich fan will be surprised by relegation, but we’re a compact club on the quiet, and at the moment who knows, maybe we can at least match the likes of QPR and Swansea. We have our fair share of moaning fans, but the support is incredible from a city with just a 130,000 population. Birmingham City would need to get 90,000 a week by comparison (taking into account Villa).
I can safely say that our sights are not set on the Champions League places. Breathe easy Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Fixture you’re most looking forward to?
The first win. I’m too old to get excited by fancy football and superstars, I just want my club to get the points wherever it finds them. If we can beat Bolton, then that’s more important to me than losing 6:0 to Arsenal, thank you very much.
Got the right manager?
Yes we have. Paul Lambert will have to adjust to this level, just as most of the players will, but he does seem to have this determination that isn’t always evident in every manager. You get the feeling he hides away in a dank basement, with walls covered in newspaper cuttings and charts and yellow stickies, trying to find the perfect winning formula. He’s not here for cigars, casinos and fur coats. Reminds me a lot of Martin O’Neil (can you imagine MON in chinchilla?)
By Christmas you’ll be…
I think if we do have any success, it will be early on, so (fingers crossed) lower mid table? Our start is not too scary, although a quick flick through the fixtures does take the wind out of your sails somewhat.
Player you’d most like to sign?
Daniel Pacheco from Liverpool (on loan). He joined us towards the end of last season and was an inspiration.
Which player should we look out for?
He’s only just joined us from Brighton, but I think winger Elliott Bennett could make a name for himself. He looks quick, clever and confident in front of goal. It will also be interesting to see if Wes Hoolahan can make it at this level.
Which player would you love to ditch?
Anybody who doesn’t want to be here, and it isn’t prepared to fight.
Opposition hate figure?
We’ve been out of the loop for so long, we don’t really have any Premier League beefs. The fans have had a hatred of Wolves for a few years now and like everyone else, historically Manchester United always seem to get the cheeks reddened (goes back to a notorious riot in the early 70s when they pulled our ground to bits). As for players… God knows.
Tell us something we don’t know about your club?
We refer to our rivals Ip5wich as the ‘bin men’ after a legendary episode of the 80s antique-inspired TV treachery known as Lovejoy. In ‘Bin Diving’ (Series 2 Episode 3) bin man Warren Clarke spends the entire episode wearing a dirty Ip5wich hat he finds in some rubbish.
What won’t happen this season?
I can safely say that our sights are not set on the Champions League places. Breathe easy Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal. Maybe next year. What I really want to avoid is a fair play entrance to the Europa League. That would just about finish us off.
On The Ball City. The oldest club song in English football to be written by the club itself. Apparently. I could be wrong.
Where will you finish?
Any other news?
We’re currently 12th (alphabetically). So, that’s not a bad start in anyone’s book.
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