May 26 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 30, 2012
It seems I’ve finally found a plus point to the summer transfer window – it bizarrely ensures the new season’s preparations extend into the second month of the campaign.
• Being completely out of the summer’s football loop until Friday has been interesting – although I still feel I’m catching up. What did raise a smile was the idea of football taking on the Olympic spirit that so gloriously poured out of London and across the country. It’s a nice ideology – one that may see the Premier League’s new chairman with a London 2012 connection. But I think we’re all wise enough to realise it will never happen.
• Wayne Rooney’s “graze” required a bit of a double take to appreciate just how bad it was. It also seemed to come from a challenge as innocuous as Alan Pardew’s shove on linesman Peter Kirkup. I guess they’re called blades for a reason – but surely someone needs to have a look at preventing a cut that bad happening again.
• I’ve still yet to work out why Newcastle United fans keep using #NCFC as a hashtag for their club. There must be a reason other than fat fingers why it’s not #NUFC. I’m happy to be enlightened…
And that in turn allows my rambled predictions and opening gambits to the season seem a little less irrelevant than they otherwise would.
The simple fact is a whole host of Premier League teams won’t consider themselves ready for the schedule lying ahead until they’ve completed all the business they can and we’ve stepped into September.
From then, everyone knows what they are dealing with and where they stand – well, until January at least.
The stages of Chris Hughton’s career as Norwich City manager have been quite clear-cut so far – from feeling his way in, giving people a go, to having his eyes opened wider still at Fulham, before steadying the ship and taking a few transfer plunges.
It all leads the Canaries boss to the here and now – effectively the pursuit of a striker to ensure all the pieces he needs are in place for the rest of the year.
While some fans will no doubt be tinged with worry at City’s opening games – the capitulation at Craven Cottage and profligacy against QPR – there is plenty of time to get things right.
What has at least happened is the calibration of everyone’s expectations this season.
Forget 2011-12. For me, the logical target for City this season is sixth from bottom – putting the two sides Norwich were promoted with and the three sides that came up in the summer below them.
The number is fixed – but I’m happy to negotiate over the teams. Given Swansea’s stunning start to things, it may be necessary.
But even then, the 2012-13 season is really all about the bigger picture – the picture stretching into next season and beyond. Or in other words, into the new TV broadcasting deal.
Such jumps in riches come along at regular intervals – but every one seems too significant to miss out on.
From next season, every Premier League team will earn £65m as a minimum each season – the same amount shared by all 72 Football League clubs that season.
The top-flight deal is a huge increase on the one currently in place. The Football League’s deal is heading south – pushed along by the type of financial capping and safeguards that should be applauded.
Sadly, separated from the Premier League reality, they may only serve to make some problems worse.
So even I am happy to forget my aims for 15th. Survival, whatever the place, has more resting on it than simply another season of huge global exposure for City.
It’s too early to tell how well equipped Hughton’s men are to deliver – as much as Saturday’s showing was an improvement, both City and QPR will need to show much more as the season gets going.
At this point, the campaign’s potential is still huge. The squads still being moulded. But the goal – that was set a long time ago.