May 23 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 10, 2012
Breaking news – it’s 106 days to Christmas.
Started your shopping yet? Don’t laugh – I bet some people have.
Well, I can reveal I certainly have not and it will be at least until after Sunderland visit Carrow Road that I will even think about it.
Yes, once December comes, the build up to Christmas can start.
But while I certainly won’t start too early, I also don’t want to get caught in that mad panic of dashing to the corner shop or garage or supermarket as it closes on December 24.
Surely presents should be thought about and planned and bought gradually through the build-up to the festive season?
See where I’m going with this? Yes, there are quite a lot of similarities between Christmas and the football transfer window.
We all know people who spend far too much and still can’t buy happiness come the big day.
Others chose not to open the purse and disappoint their loved ones.
Some charge around late on and get ripped off – and some get it right.
You can name the club which fits in to each category.
Lots has been written and debated about CH’s dealings in the summer – and many fans concentrated on the lack of “Christmas Eve” shopping for the really big name striker.
I won’t pretend I wasn’t hoping for a club transfer record-breaking deal to be announced for a tall, strong, young, fit, fast, free scoring, home grown frontman.
It remains to be seen how many of those boxes Harry Kane ticks – but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing him.
How many duff players have headed up the A11 from White Hart Lane over the years?
Even if the lad doesn’t turn out to be a goal machine up here, I still think City fans should be pretty satisfied when they look at the result of Chris Hughton’s business since he arrived.
Robert Snodgrass has undoubtedly been one of the best players outside of the Premier League for the past few years.
At 24 he is in the prime of his career and he will only get better as he adjusts to life in the top flight.
I have been very impressed by Sebastien Bassong so far.
He is a graduate of the famous Clairefontaine youth academy – a footballing production line from which the likes of Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, William Gallas and Louis Saha have rolled off.
If his partnership with Leon Barnett can continue to flourish, it will go a massive way to ensuring another good season. Five goals conceded in one game without him and two against in two games with him. Simple maths.
Alexander Tettey is another player with a decent international pedigree and of a good age.
Jacob Butterfield is an England Under-21 player and not a bad member of the “Midfield 12” in the 25-man City squad and will give the boss one of many options in the heart of the team.
Most fans I speak to have been encouraged by the performances so far of the former Manchester City defender Javier Garrido, who is on a season-long loan from Lazio.
I thought he was excellent at Spurs and his CV includes spells in La Liga, Serie A, and the Premier League.
I like Marc Tierney but if he can’t get back into the left back berth because Garrido is performing so well, then that has to be good for the team.
Mark Bunn is likely to warm the bench unless John Ruddy gets injured but I see why CH wanted strength in depth in such a crucial position,
We are yet to see former Rangers defender Steven Whittaker after his injury against his old foes Celtic but he has nearly 400 club games under his belt so has to be a useful addition to the squad.
Michael Turner arrived with bags of experience and the jury is certainly out on him after the opening day nightmare at Fulham.
But he wasn’t the only player who underperformed that day.
The big question remains about whether City will score enough goals this year – especially if Holty doesn’t prove as prolific as last term.
Five strikers should be enough and the others simply have to do the business when they get the chance.
So overall I’m pretty pleased with the summer of wheeling and dealing – and by the time the window re-opens after Santa has headed back to Lapland we will know whether CH has bought wisely.
• PARALYMPICS EXPERIENCE WAS A REAL INSPIRATION
I gave my hero of the week award to Bradley Johnson as I like to keep a City link as that is the main theme of this column.
I could, however, hand out hero medals to countless men and women who have really inspired me over the past few days.
I was really privileged to have been at the Paralympics on Monday and have also watched more of the action on TV. I was amazed by the whole Olympic Park experience and also so impressed by the quality of sport.
We were at the Riverbank Arena (not too shabby as a temporary stadium) for the seven-a-side football for sportsmen with cerebral palsy.
Brazil demolished America 8-0 and the Samba Boys looked mighty impressive.
Despite the great backing from the home fans, GB (who actually played well) were taken apart 7-1 by defending champions Ukraine.
After that we were treated to an amazing women’s match in the packed 12,000-seat basketball arena, with USA beating China in extra-time after a thrilling comeback.
All the Paralympics athletes I saw in the flesh and have watched on TV and heard on the radio don’t want to be patronised or pitied or felt sorry for.
They want to be given respect for their abilities and efforts.
They are a great inspiration to all of us.
As an aside, the atmosphere in the basketball was brilliant – but I’m not sure singing We Will Rock You (and doing the clapping) and performing the Macarena during breaks in play would take off at Carrow Road....
• Hero of the week: I admit I had my doubts about him and didn’t think he would feature as we have so many midfielders. But all credit to Bradley Johnson on Saturday. I thought he was immense and was a big reason why we came away with a very good point – and he could have secured all three. One of his thunderbolts will hit the back of the net soon. It’s really good that CH will have a headache about who to choose in the centre of the park.
• Villain of the week: I looked up the dictionary definition of villain and got “cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel.” Pretty strong stuff and I feel a bit bad putting Brad Friedel in this category as he seems a really decent bloke and a great ‘keeper. But someone has to get the boo boy gong – and at his age he shouldn’t be robbing Chris to pay AVB. Hiss....
• Highlight of the week: It’s not often that I say my highlight of the week is being proved wrong. I went for a 3-1 victory to Spurs on Saturday. Yes, I know I’m a traitor and I always find it hard to back the Canaries to lose. But I really thought AVB’s men would come out all guns blazing and turn us over. Fortunately neither was the case. I was very surprised by the lack of cutting edge from the home side and delighted by the continued improvement in the Canaries.
• Funniest moment of the week: I watched Saturday’s game in my local pub and there was a decent crowd in (vast majority were Canaries with a few stray Spurs followers mixed in). The feed we were watching was fully four minutes behind real time and so pretty much everyone knew about the key moments before we saw them on the screen. And the way we enjoyed the build up to the City equaliser knowing it was coming was hilarious. Not that the men in white would agree....hee hee.