Fight on or raise the white flag is the stark choice for Norwich City

Norwich City's Nathan Redmond shows the strain of Premier League defeat at Fulham. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City's Nathan Redmond shows the strain of Premier League defeat at Fulham. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Monday, April 14, 2014
7:30 AM

That nauseous feeling the lights are going out on Norwich City’s Premier League adventure was magnified by the wave of euphoria which engulfed Craven Cottage.

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Fulham’s players stopped short of an open top bus tour of the ground but the scale of the celebrations at the end underlined how big a win this was for Felix Magath, and the desperate conflicting forces it inevitably unleashed on Neil Adams’ squad.

Hugo Rodallega slid fully 10 yards on his knees from the centre circle to dive on top of his delirious white-shirted team mates. The Cottagers’ home support smashed their clap banners for all they were worth. In the midst of the maelstrom sat John Ruddy on his own in his penalty area; processing the same dark thoughts felt by those 3,000 plus in attendance behind the opposite goal and many more far beyond this idyllic setting by the Thames which induces the most sour sensation for the Canaries.

Adams and the rest of his dejected players acknowledged the voluminous backing from their own before making a swift exit. They were unwanted gatecrashers at someone else’s party.

Norwich had played with a bravery and a refreshing attacking commitment that was a credit to the work both Adams and his coaching team had imparted in a ridiculously abbreviated build-up period.

But City’s profligacy was again the root cause of their undoing and no managerial change or different personnel in the technical area can directly address that issue. This latest sample can be filed in the same category as the league trips to Cardiff and West Ham, when Norwich’s dominance of territory and possession carved out a stream of missed opportunities.

David Stockdale’s personal crusade against City continued with a stunning reflex stop to thrust out a right-arm as the rest of his body contorted across his six-yard box in the opposite direction in denying Ricky van Wolfswinkel a first goal since the opening day of the season. That one act encapsulated the Dutchman’s frustrations in a Norwich shirt. The movement and the predatory sense of anticipation propelled him perfectly onto Martin Olsson’s driven cross. The volley and the connection were technically proficient but he found Stockdale in obdurate mood again, just like their own personal duel in the FA Cup third round tie at Carrow Road, when he conjured a save former boss Rene Meulensteen likened to Gordon Banks’ famous stop to deny the great Pele.

How the course of Norwich’s season may have differed markedly - both for their club record signing and Chris Hughton - if his close-range header back in January had clinched the cup win City merited.

Adams’ line-up was bold in selection and approach. Van Wolfswinkel was afforded the type of support he will have long craved, with Nathan Redmond operating centrally and Robert Snodgrass at the point of a midfield diamond. It looked comfortable, it felt right and for long spells of a contest fuelled by an intensity befitting the fraught context, Norwich exerted an impressive degree of control. Yet they fell to a striker in red hot scoring form and a glimpse of Lewis Holtby’s set-piece sorcery.

City had struggled to contain Hugo Rodallega all afternoon inside their own penalty area, but they were punished just the once. Once was all it took.

Adams left a scene of devastation in the away dressing room to rightly praise his players’ efforts and sound the trumpets for an epic finale that would justifiably carve out a niche among the likes of Coventry, West Brom, Wigan and Fulham in remarkable feats of survival escapology.

The Cottagers won four of their last five games under Roy Hodgson in 2008 to send Reading down on goal difference on the final day; but such incidences remain in the consciousness of football followers for their sheer scarcity.

Norwich have already been consigned to the Championship, if you accept the majority view, which correctly surmises they must overcome either one of two Premier League title challengers, the dethroned champions at Old Trafford or the FA Cup finalists and serial Champions League qualifiers Arsenal to enginer a safe passage.

Adams and his players are the only people who matter now. It is irrelevant what anyone else thinks in trying to solve a puzzle where the only guarantee is unpredictability as the pressure and the tension mount.

If they harbour the same misgivings and deep reservations prevalent outside the bubble then City’s final quartet of Premier League games will serve as a painful and brutal reminder of the type of player and the type of club they will only view from afar for the foreseeable future.

A future that would contain a tangle of unpalatable scenarios and shocks triggered by a sizeable financial shortfall in revenue streams.

None of that is for Adams or his players to concern themselves with. They have a herculean task of their own to accomplish. They either fight on or raise the white flag, and even that may not be enough without stumbles from their rivals.

The triumphalism of Fulham’s players and fans at the final whistle suggested the Cottagers felt they had inflicted a mortal blow. Adams’ priority is not a tactical plan to stun a rampant Liverpool, it is to dredge a response from such deep despair.

44 comments

  • Prosaicism brought on by Prozac MB?

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    Shimbo

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

  • 1967, Bolland and Heath 1-2 Man U v NCFC The next season Man U won the European Cup with the same squad. Never, never give in. Remember Bobby Fleck giving the pool defence the run around? NEVER GIVE UP!

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    Yellowfirebird

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

  • The only match that we have an outside chance of getting a win is the Arsenal match. I can't see us winning an away match at Man United, and winning or drawing against Liverpool or Chelsea may be too much to ask. I only hope that Fulham, Sunderland and Cardiff are hopeless in their next few matches because they are still below a mediocre Norwich side.

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    NYC-Canary

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

  • Great to see my cyberstalker back, in the guise of `Shimbo` this time. Prosaic person.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • How refreshing it was to see tha Adams team entertain us on Saturday. Good on him and good on them for turning it around that much in just a few short days of training. The players attitude was visibly different, both in the way that they played and in the actions of Snoddy, Redmond, Ruddy and others at the final whistle. They were gutted that their immense efforts hadn't paid off - and for what it's worth in my opinion they were unlucky to lose or at least draw. Even Fulham's manager said as much. I heard Gerrard's remarks in the huddle at the end of yesterday's game as it came across coherently on the sound track. Someone WILL stop their run of wins before the end of this season, and if Neil Adams gets the lads up for it for Sunday in a similar way to last Saturday, I'm hoping it'll be us who create the surprise and spoil their partying. I'd love to see Linaker, Shearer and especially Hansen forced to squirmingly give praise to City if we do it. BRING IT ON! THE SEASON'S BY NO MEANS OVER YET. THINK POSITIVE. KEEP THE FAITH!!!!

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    Honest Injun

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Just can't see where the points will come from. We will be steamrollered on Easter Sunday... gulp!

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    wallybrain

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • "Liverpool's season" preordained - so that's why he is called the Mad Brewer. Any other conspiracy theories MB?

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    Shimbo

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Great posts there as ever, Mattias.... and Dan, pretty much agree with you on Wes & Hoopurrr, - as for RvW chucking strops, well.....Understandable - I'll bet he regrets ever signing for NCFC. He's lived the nightmare regardless of who's "fault" it is. That apart, at the final whistle of the WBA game, we were down and buried. After Sat at FFC, and a truly positive performance, there is at least the possibility of a small miracle, but most definitely, the recapture of dignity and pride. And Graham Rice - it IS most definitely Hughtons' fault, if he KNEW he would be out of his depth - that's just plain dishonest. The fact is that he demonstrated that he was not up to it, and as for a man-manager who motivates his players - look at the 'tunnel cams' - looked like active dislike of his players!! - We are SO much better off without him, irrespective of the final outcome of this season.

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    Hants Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • "While there are games there is hope." And no white flag, Hoots took it with him.

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    Lincs Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • RvW had the service he had craved for all season, but still disappeared for long periods of the game and when a simple squaring of the ball was needed, he played it backwards to a Fulham player. When rightly substituted, to freshen things up in attack, he once again threw a strop. Unless he has a damn good reason he shouldn't play again, his attitude could make things very difficult. So Hoopers recent performances leave a lot to be desired, he has at least scored more goals than the other strikers put together and as many on here have said, it's a results business. Norwich need to pick a striker(s) and stick with them. I felt that the Wes-Hooper combination looked the most promising all season in the few times they've played together. Those two need to start - especially as Wes is not very strong and is too easily shrugged off the ball by big players who are defending for their lives. He's ineffective when we are chasing the game. If the Wes-Hooper chance at villa park had paid off just before the Benteke goal, it would have been a romp for city. It was one moment that proved that those two should've played together all season and that had they have done, they'd certainly made one hell of a partnership.

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    Dan

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Let's remember that we tend to get our better results against the "better" teams. Also if Arsenal have lost 4th place by the last game of the season are they really going to be giving 100% when they have a cup final coming up? I know it's better to stay up on merit but it's clutching at straws time.

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    Flying Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Bring them on - we couldn't have four better games to end our season on. Do this right and we'll be remembered for all time - not just in Norfolk but in all four corners of the globe.

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    aeleven

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Just like Mattias I was at Fulham on Saturday and don't think we could have asked any more from our boys in Yellow. Neil Adams had only five days to work with them, but from what I witnessed the team put in a much more confident and spirited performance than of late. Snodgrass was immense. Yes, I'm worried as we all are, however lets not forget we are still 2 points clear and there are potentially a further 12 points to be had. Getting a further 4 is not beyond us, even with the opposition we have coming up. OTBC!!!

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • I wonder which of the Sweet FA`s `Wunderkinder` is down to referee the Liverpool match? Has the official been named yet? Don`t expect any favours, folks.... this is `Liverpool`s season`. Preordained. I hope I`m wrong, as long as it`s not Chelsea instead. That only leaves the MancCs! Btw, I don`t think Adams will get the job permanently (whatever that means). But he has a big role at Carrow Road - he knows all about the young talent we have coming through. This could be the way forward now. No more journeymen or geriatric loanees.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Spot on Brew, I was also shouting at the box, demanding a red card but in truth he is not the only striker on form at that club so even his dismissal may not have saved the day for us. All we can ask for is that our team goes out and does its best, if we can upset the apple cart then it would counter balance some of the embarrassing results under the previous manager that is for sure.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • A lot of our players raised the white flag against WBA so let's hope for a change this Sunday for Neil's sake do I hate to think what the final score will be.

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    leslie cater

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Judging by the way The Thespian Referee, and chosen child of the Inner Circle, Clattenburg, let Suarez get away with 2 further bookable offences, and denied ManC 2 clear penalties, there are instructions from `On High` that this is to be Liverpool`s season. I wonder why that might be...?

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Seems there is an overwhelming desire for Adams to get the job permanently, in PL or in Championship. I take the opposite view. if we stay up i want an experienced Manager because if we do stay up then no doubt we are going to be able to afford some more bigger named players and you cannot have a manager with a lesser status at the club than the players. Ask AVB about his stints at Chelsea and Spusr and i am sure you will find that was his shortcoming. If we go down you need a ruthless manager with Championship experience and Adams aint got that either so for me his appontment has to be a stop gap

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    GPL

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • I'm not worried if we don't beat Liverpool this weekend. We will have opportunities to get out of this mess in the other games, and I really can see us getting something against the likes of Chelsea and Man U

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    Powers1902

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Liverpool may come to us just a little bit over confident, which in turn could be their down fall. Yes there's alot of pressure on us to win, but there's probably a lot more on them, maybe just maybe we could pull off a shock result this weekend.

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    alan

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • I think we will stay up. I've said it before and I still believe that now. We won't beat Liverpool, they're too hot right now. But I think a draw vs either Chelsea or Utd followed by a win against the Gunners will see us safe for another season, despite CH trying his best to see us through the trapdoor. OTBC

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    Powers1902

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Realistically we are probably going down but judging from Saturday we will go down fighting for which we should thank Neil Adams and his team, not their fault they were brought in too late and handed mission very very difficult. We saw enough on Saturday to see that life under Adams could be a lot more exciting for Norwich fans. Tactical awareness coupled to attacking intent make for entertainment and belief. We should expect to see a very different set up against Liverpool but the same or higher intensity. The willingness to make changes to system during a game was also a refreshing change. Clearly I would love us to stay up but if we don't I console myself that if we go down that is probably Adams best chance of getting the job on a permanent basis. That I would love to see. The thought of some of our young guns (Rudd, Loza, Murphy(s) et al ) being given the time to develop into fully fledged Canaries in the championship is not an entirely unpleasant one.

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    dumpcanary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Anyway thats my rant about the ranters. Luckily not many about. The writing may be on the wall but IF (the word is IF) we go down we go down fighting and with our heads held high under Adams. I was pleasantly surprised by Adams. Took some balls to change it like he did. Not just by leaving the loan players out but with the formation he choose. Doubt anyone thought he'd do that. Players responded to it as well. Certainly not done his chances of getting the gig long term any harm and eased my fears that he'd be out of his depth. Bring on the big 4. OTBC

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    Mattias333

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Ah and there we have it. Knew this encounter was coming. Was asked my opinion on the game by a few chaps at work, to which I said it was a vast improvement on what hughton served up each week and us fans knew the players gave it their all and showed we understood that....to which then the local "I know everything about NCFC but never EVER go to a game" chap chipped in with "it was cr*p, Maccanally (why cant people say his name Correct its MCNALLY) said he wouldnt sack Hughton unless we entered the relegation zone, now hes got Adams an thats where were going as we have no chance getting anymore points this season." This is also the guy who was a massive Hughton outter, now hes moaning because we got rid of him. Cant win! Makes my blood boil when people who dont attend the game think they can preach to the masses. Of course he chipped in with other pearls of wisdom like "RVW is rubbish" blah blah blah. End of the day on RVW under Adams sat we actually got the ball in the box, which is something we NEVER did under Hughton. If that continues and RVW still doesnt score then ill hold my hand up and say he was a waste of money, but if you dont put the ball in the box where a fox in the box likes it, he doesn't stand a sporting chance of scoring. RVW isnt a central midfield bruiser but under Hughton he had to drop so deep that when he didnt win a challenge in the centre everyone throws their hands up and complains. Let him do his thing in the box and then we will see. Im glad these kind of fans dont attend games because right now we need everyone behind the lads. If there is something truly wrong and you've given that person all the time in the world to correct it then have a grumble (like with Hughton) but Adams has been in the door 5 minutes. Get behind the bloke. The Fulham game (despite with errors still from the likes of Johnson, RVW etc...) was more than encouraging. While I think the damages already been done, NCFC are never more dangerous than when everyone has wrote them off. Bring on the big 4! OTBC

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    Mattias333

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • As (nearly) always, I agree with TK. We don`t want dodgy Malaysian megalomaniacs, oily oligarchs or Boston-born baseball businessmen with a fixation about the colour of `Sox`. Glad you spotted my new positive stance, Southsea. It`s down, in equal parts, to the departure of Hugh Trollderwood and Dubai Canary`s fine example - plus provision of his Personal Pollyanna Potion. I shall be eternally grateful to him. My mentor, my Saviour. Really! ;-) OTBC. IDCIT.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • I feel sorry for the traveling fans, they do not deserve anything they have seen over the past couple of months, to cap it all they had to pay for it. If by a miracle they escape relegation then is it going to be the same next season, almost definitely. Its time to regroup in the championship and play attacking football in the way Neil Adams set the team up on Saturday. In a way it was like a throwback to the Lambert days.

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    Retep

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • You must be having a giraffe Solvenia. Paul Lambert did a fantastic job getting us out of League 1 and into the Prem, but the wheels were already coming off when he left. Going back for seconds is certainly off the agenda and I still believe that it is David McNally who really turned this club around. I think we need to have a good hard look at the current management team before bringing in another crew. They have certainly given us a big improvement already, even if we are still shy of the goals we need. It will take some time.

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • personally if we beat Liverpool on Saturday and stop them winning the title and we stay up it will be better than winning the European Cup, OTBC. THIS is our cup final on sat

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • PaulWho, reference `the hand of Hughton`, what was also interesting was the omission of Hughton`s 3 loan players from the squad. Time for truly committed players only? Although Yobo has indicated he`d consider staying (allegedly), is that likely? What has Gutierrez brought to the party, other than a lengthy injury absence? Elmander, of course, has had plenty of involvement, but has he really produced that much? Other than looking a dead ringer for Holty, at least from some camera angles! You`re right there, dave123 - it`s time for `Heroes`. It`s not over until Montserrat Caballé has intoned. PS, thanks once again to DubaiCan for helping me achieve the blissful condition of an optimist! OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Lets all stand back and get off the back of the board and McNally. I for one prefer to have an English owner rather than get taken over by a mega rich international who noes not care one iota about the traditions of English Football or its fans. McNally made one brilliant choice for manager and got one wrong in hindsight, however, choosing the right man that will work wonders is no easy task and if we are not careful we will be back to the likes of Doon caster, is that what fans really want! I do however agree that selecting ex players often leads to disaster but NA was appointed because many fans were calling for him to be given the job so now we have our way, get fully behind the man and the team. Yes we are most likely down but we will live to fight another day, even if it is in the Championship, OTBC.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Totally agree Matthias and Brewer good to see you a little more positive - great tweet from Elliot Bennet shown on MoTD Saturday night - '...Names on shirts and crests aren't everything - Footballers are human, there's still 4 games to go' - 4 major Cup ties! - While there's games there's hope guys and we are playing much much better OTBC

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    Southsea Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Morning Mad. POTS personally will go to Snoddy I believe. However I will be voting for Olsson. In my opinion while he hasnt been amazing (nobody has this season) he has been the 1 player who has consistently played well all season + putting off his surgery got him some extra points with me. Had Howson not got injured i'd have thought he'd be getting it.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • What a prospect, Liverpool hungry as a wolf for the title and we are about to be cut off at the last chance saloon. It is reminiscent of “Rocky”, perhaps I should write a new film script franchise called “Ricky”. Once again Mark Clattenberg failed to do us a favour by not giving the “Teeth of God” a second yellow for a shocking dive against Man City.

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • I'm afraid this sorry state will continue endlessly. You have to pity Chris Hughton; it was not his fault he was appointed to a job in which he was out of his depth. Blame rather those who have appointed a succession of failures. These are the people who should go. The point is that the important word in the title 'Team Manager' is the word 'Manager'. It is ludicrous to base your choice on a former player, however good in the past, and hope he can manage. This is a long shot. Rather seek out a motivator and planner, who can bring out the best in his men. I would expect that the current team, properly motivated and organised could beat any team in the Premiership

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    Graham Rice

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS WILL HE COME BACK----FORGET HIM----ANOTHER MANAGER WHERE THE GRASS WAS GREENER ETC;

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    superfan59

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Given that Villa fans have turned on Lambert what chance of the Messiah coming back, if it overs Mcnallys dead body even better. McNally must leave and Delia must get off the Board for Norwich to progress. You heard it first guys from the Prophet

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Just beat Liverpool next Sunday .......and become instant Heroes!

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    dave123

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Who`ll you be voting for as PotS, Mattias... Robert? I bet it won`t be our club record signing (thanks for the reminder, Padster). Poor old RvW - he can`t buy a goal. That save by Stockdale was outstanding. By every aspect of the game, we should have won that - except for scoring. I still think there`s a glimmer of hope. ManU`s squad are not the beasts they once were, and Ar$enal`s priorities may lie elsewhere (hopefully). Chelsea and Liverpool do seem to be two bridges too far. This would be the Great Escape, if only....

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Good comment as usual mattias 333 and snap. Personally i think we are down(thanks to Hughton)BUT hope we keep N.A.----give him a few bob--let him get rid of the wasters we have & lets see the team that he builds. Looking forward to next season already.

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    superfan59

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Utterly gutted. 6 trips ive made to Fulham & 6 defeats ive seen. Off memory I think ive only seen 1 goal in all those trips too (didnt go to cup game), and that was blooming Wilbrahamovic. I wont go on & on about the game itself as I think everyone whether you were there like me or at home watching on tv(laptop) will agree it was a massive improvement on what Hughton served up game after game. Quite frankly we would have rocked up to the cottage and lost 3 or 4-0 with Hughton at the helm. Adams brought the fight & desire we've all be screaming out for, because after all it wasnt the losing so much under hughton that concerned me it was the manor in which we lost. One finally point though, this season ive been very critical of a certain Mr Snodgrass. On saturday I dont care what anyone says he earned my respect & then some! At full time after most the players had quickly clapped and strutted off, he & Nathan Redmond (who was in tears) simply stood in front of us away fans and gave one of the most heart felt applause i've ever witnessed. Im sure it matters to all the players, but those two lads gave their all saturday and we gave them exactly the same back. I feel alot better knowing players who feel exactly how us fans do. Bring on the big 4. If we go down, we go down fighting under Adams and thats all we can ask for! OTBC

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    Mattias333

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • The hand of Hughton was obvious several times in Saturday's game. Although Neil's influence made them more adventurous, quite a few crossing or shooting opportunities were lost, clearly in the hope that the perfect chance would come along.

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    PaulWho

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Forget the white flag, let's raise the Skull and Crossbones!

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    Lobbo

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Seriously, since when was surrender an option?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, April 14, 2014

  • Norwich 2 Liverpool 2 Man United 3 Norwich 1 Chelsea 2 Norwich 0 Norwich 2 Arsenal 1 Final Tally 36: Fulham you WILL need 2 wins and a draw from your last 4:

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    Robin Sydney

    Monday, April 14, 2014

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

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