Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is the following for Norwich City Football Club

Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan. Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan.

David Powles
Thursday, December 19, 2013
9:03 AM

Dear Santa

You don’t have to bring me socks for Christmas this year. You can send the shower gel and deodorant gift pack to someone else.

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Norwich City captain Sebastien Bassong was one of the big success stories for the Canaries in last sesaon's transfer market. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City captain Sebastien Bassong was one of the big success stories for the Canaries in last sesaon's transfer market. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

That’s because all I want for Christmas is related to my beloved Canaries. If you could please make the following happen I promise to be nice not naughty all year round - and I’ll even stick another sherry by the fireplace for when you pop round on December 25.

ENTERTAIN US

City fans are in what can be best described as ‘a bit of a funk’ at this moment in time. The atmosphere at the last few home games has been sterile and it takes little for the fans to get on the backs of players and management. Yet our Premier League status and position in the table would probably make a lot of opposition fans question why? Rightly or wrongly I think supporters want to feel more entertained for their money and while I’ve not come away from Carrow Road feeling short-changed in recent weeks, some clearly do. What better then than a few high-scoring thrillers over the festive period?

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton is taking nothing for granted against Swansea City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesNorwich City boss Chris Hughton is taking nothing for granted against Swansea City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

MAKE SUBS COUNT

One of the key strengths under Paul Lambert, was to realise that 14 players can make a real difference to a game, not just the starting 11. I’m not sure Chris Hughton and his team aspire to this notion. All too often Norwich’s substitutions come too late in the game and seem to be in response to a negative situation.

END AWAY DAY BLUES

Last year’s game at Sunderland (our opponents this weekend) was one of those all too rare occasions where Norwich came out all guns blazing away from home. City went 1-0 up, but then a Mark Bunn sending off scuppered the plans, although Norwich battled out a decent 1-1 draw. What a great early Christmas present it would be to see Norwich play the same way again on Saturday, and with some belief in 2014 that we can leave Carrow Road and still afford to try for a win.

SAVE WES

The team-sheet on Sunday left me as disappointed as I have been in recent weeks, due to the omission of Irish wizard Wes Hoolahan. Clearly the inclusion of three central midfielders was designed to nullify Swansea’s passing, but I’d argue that at home the tactics should be more offensive than that. After single-handedly running the first half against Crystal Palace, Hoolahan must seriously be wondering if it’s time for a move elsewhere to get regular football. It’s the least he deserves - I just wish it would come here not somewhere else.

FREE THE SHACKLES

The fairly bog standard 2010/11 2-1 away victory against Derby County during the Championship promotion season has always stuck in my memory. The reason is I can remember being blown away that day by the performance of the midfield, containing Hoolahan, David Fox, Andrew Crofts and Henri Lansbury. During that game the four of them were everywhere, repeatedly swapping positions with ease to flummox the home side. If one went forward, another stayed back. If one went left, another slotted into their position. At times this season it’s been frustrating that the midfield has not been more versatile. We’ve seen more signs of that in the last few weeks, in particular Nathan Redmond and Hoolahan at Palace and the midfield four against West Brom away. More of it please.

A FIT GARY HOOPER

What a stunning start he’s had to his Canary career. A real old-fashioned gaol poacher, but willing to work hard outside the box as well, as was shown with his dismantling of Ashley Williams to create a chance against Swansea. Keep him fit please Santa.

ALONGSIDE A FIT RICKY

No doubt we are about to hear the usual platitudes of Ricky Van Wolfswinkel’s return being akin to ‘a new signing’. However, I do agree that his lay off may turn into a positive in that the pressure on him to score instantly may be lessened thanks to Hooper’s emergence. We should only judge the Dutch striker on his second season, as history often shows it can take a while for foreign recruits to adapt to our game. I can’t wait to see Hooper and Van Wolfswinkel up top together.

MAKE HIM CAPTAIN MARVELLOUS

On his best days Sebastien Bassong is one of the best centre backs in the league - but all too often his lapses of concentration come at key moments and lead to goals. On Sunday for the Swansea goal he looked like he was trying to be too clever and let the ball run through to John Ruddy. This is probably why his career at Spurs didn’t really take off. Fix this one fault, however, and we have a top class player on our books.

CENTRAL STRENGTHENING

If the cheque book is coming out in January Let’s sign a central defender to push Bassong and Michael Turner and a central midfielder for cover.

THAT ELUSIVE CUP RUN

If Hughton wants to know how to pull the fans out of their aforementioned funk I’m pretty sure a decent FA Cup run would do the job.

IPSWICH TOWN SUCCESS

Yes, you read that right, I want Ipswich Town to go up. We miss the added spice of our twice seasonal battles.

PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL

We all like a moan about Norwich City, but the Premier League is clearly still the place to be. A year in the Championship might excite City fans, but you can be certain more than one wouldn’t. That’s my final Christmas wish, I do hope you can fit all this in my stocking.

Thanks Santa

David Powles

MERRY CHRISTMAS! There’s so much sport on the agenda over the next few weeks I’ve been given a mid-winter break by the sports editor. With that in mind now seems the perfect time to wish you a great Christmas and New Year. And while I’m feeling warm and fuzzy, thank you for reading me in 2013, I hope you feel interested to do the same next year.

17 comments

  • Did Mrs H. wash Chris' jacket on the wrong programme or are they sold with that pathetic monochrome badge?

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • LYB, as usual, it is you who are shallow. Being entertained is of primary importance for if football were not entertaining why would you pay to watch it? Therefore the more entertaining it is the better the return on your investment. If you care more about the result why not stay indoors and watch Sports Report?

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    Cecil

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • The more fluid midfield stands out - players working as a unti, moving around, covering each other but in so doing giving each other the opportunity to get forward. One winger with a remit to swap sides also seems the way forward if we are avoid ov er exposing the defensive midfield cover.

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • .....and one last thing please Santa, please convince that nice Mr Levy at White Hart Lane that he really needs a Spurs old boy to take over from AVB. Someone who will ensure that his team do not get hammered away to Man City or give five goals away to Liverpool. Ah. O dear just shot myself in the foot there. back to the drawing board......

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    waclor

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • All I want is me two front teef

    Report this comment

    B Inners

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Unlike some of you traitors, I know where my loyalties lie, and that's with NCFC. I will never wish any sort of success for 1p5wich, even if it did mean a return of the derby. The longer they mull over that 5-1 trouncing the better

    Report this comment

    stephen davis

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • LYB, I think there is an alternative that could allow Wes to be played. That is to go with a 4,3,1,2 formation, it would mean leaving Redmond on the bench but I think Wes has shown in the past that he is in fact better at supplying telling passes to a front two. Redmond could then come on to replace Wes with 20 minutes to go. With Olsson and Whittaker playing the wing back rolls it would also allow crosses in from the wing and playing Fer Johnson & Howson across the midle should also give us a chance of keeping plenty of possession. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Cecil -that reminds me that one good wish for NCFC is that we can be saved from the madcap club owners. Those at Cardiff and Hull seem hell bent on destruction.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Friday, December 20, 2013

  • Subtle, I like.

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    Lobbo

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Don't want Ipswich in the Premier League - like being above them!

    Report this comment

    Powers1902

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I much prefer these more personal articles, written from the journo's point of view. Nice to see they're not afraid to criticise, as well as praise.

    Report this comment

    MancCanary

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Wow, that article was pathetic.

    Report this comment

    ncfc boy

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • MM is ready for Christmas delivery, if anyone wants him. He's the 6th to go this season...

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    Cecil

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • What I'd really like Santa, is when you've dropped all your presents off, deliver THE SACK you had them in to Calamity Chris's house.......PS: A Yeller wanting the Binners to get promoted..??? I've heard it all now. Personally, I'd like to see them playing local derbies against Sudbury FC in the Fisons' Pigsty Manure league..... OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • so, just to sum up, you want us to be entertaining, play with loads of forwards, and win some high scoring matches whilst marching irresistibly into the top half of the table. Excellent, Can't think why Hoots hasn't done it before now.

    Report this comment

    jeromeg

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I want Ipswich up as well for the derbies...but you forgot the 6 points and a swift recovery of our ghoul difference.

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    JimBob

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Funnily enough, I agree about Ipswich being promoted. Derbies add a lot of entertainment to a season. This general thing about the football not being 'entertaining' enough is an incredibly shallow attitude though. Football can and should be entertaining, but it's a secondary concern to getting decent results however they can be most effectively obtained. Recognising that Wes is a good player is fair enough and I think everyone's happy to see him on the pitch, but it basically has to be at Howson, Fer's or Johnson's expense. The first two are playing superbly and Wes can't really do an effective defensive role as well as Johnson, so that rules him out without one of those being injured.

    Report this comment

    LittleYellowBirdie

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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