Norwich City’s Premier League plot line takes a new twist

City fans and players should follow West Broms Carrow Road lead at Craven Cottage. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images City fans and players should follow West Broms Carrow Road lead at Craven Cottage. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Monday, March 24, 2014
8:00 AM

Alex Tettey’s instinctive brilliance was the latest twist in a Premier League plot you suspect would be rejected as too far-fetched.

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Norwich City left the south coast the previous weekend burdened by a lengthy crime sheet and fresh concerns over their top flight future. Every charge was answered emphatically against a Sunderland side who exhibited all the frailties and self-doubt so evident in City’s most tortured moments. Therein highlights the conflict and the contradiction that has raged for most of a campaign now firmly back in Norwich’s control.

The lows have felt truly sickening. Heavy defeats at Manchester City and Liverpool were not unexpected reverses, but it was the scale of the beatings and the limpness of Norwich’s efforts that magnified the concerns.

City’s work during the intervening period suggested such defensive breaches had largely been eradicated until recent away days at Aston Villa and Southampton revealed an enduring brittleness, allied to persistent difficulties in front of goal, that at the very least meant a fraught final passage over these coming weeks and, at worst, a descent to the Championship.

The highs have been sporadic and as Tettey’s sublime match-winning volley demonstrated, laced with a surreal quality. The scale of the euphoria that enveloped the Norwegian in the immediate aftermath of his landmark Premier League strike was matched by the most wonderfully spontaneous outpourings from Chris Hughton and the rump of his squad scattered on the touchline. That will be an abiding image of a testing campaign should Norwich finally capitalise on the positive uplift from such a dismissive display against the Black Cats.

City’s support played their full part with a cacophonous noise that rose whenever Sunderland threatened to disrupt the pattern of home dominance during the second period. By then the game was already up for Gus Poyet’s side. The Uruguayan was out-thought by Hughton and his players were out-fought.

Poyet magnanimously feted Hughton’s decision to deploy two strikers as ‘brave’ and that courageous seam was woven into this victory. Norwich’s willingness to press high up the pitch was the perfect antidote to the cautious, reactive concessions of territory and space which can be justified against the best but merely leave Hughton open to criticism when his side face opponents of commensurate status.

Sunderland’s intent to build patiently from the back was stifled by the urgency Jonny Howson and Tettey pressed to disrupt the Black Cats’ passing rhythm. Seb Bassong and Joseph Yobo squeezed the hosts’ backline to condense the space and set the tone for a contest played almost exclusively in the visitors’ half prior to the interval.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel appeared to relish the closer proximity of Johan Elmander and the support of wide players in Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan afforded the freedom to forage and probe with Norwich firmly on the front foot.

City’s forward motions felt comfortable, their intent aggressive and their execution clinical when all too often it has been predictable, laboured and wayward.

Hughton was criticised after making five changes against the Saints, yet he had the same conviction to repeat that failed experiment.

Elmander has increasingly found himself castigated as the poster boy for all City’s ills; the playing embodiment of his under-fire boss. The Galatasaray loanee has not scored the goals to ease Norwich clear of the congested Premier League scrap, but in that regard he is in good company alongside van Wolfswinkel and his own meagre output and Gary Hooper’s difficulties to replicate his productive pre-festive spurt.

Hughton has never made any attempt to disguise that fact, yet Elmander - at least to his detractors - epitomises the safe, cautious, measured approach of his manager.

The Swedish international entered the field of play at St Mary’s the previous weekend to a poisonous backdrop from a significant minority of the travelling support frustrated by the pitiful nature of Norwich’s efforts. Against Sunderland he left the Carrow Road pitch to a standing ovation. Elmander was a pivotal actor in the drama. His instant control and awareness rolled in Snodgrass for the first goal before his work ethic harried the Black Cats’ central defenders for the turnover stunningly despatched by Tettey.

The former Bolton man retains a value within Norwich City’s squad but to measure his effectiveness purely in goals is to overlook his career path to date. The Swede clearly needs the right conditions to flourish and in that regard he is no different to the Canaries.

They proved once more against a sorry Sunderland they can be residually effective at home but those question marks will remain until they can replicate winning performances on the road. To regress at Swansea this coming weekend or Fulham next month would serve only to perpetuate the cycle that has trapped them in the lower echelons to this advanced stage of the season.

As City’s match-winner, Tettey, readily acknowledged in the build up Norwich possess a squad of talents who should realistically harbour greater ambitions.

85 comments

  • I think that sums it up pretty well. Overall a much more enjoyable weekend than may over the past 7 months, but acknowledging that there is still a lot to do. I was hoping for a Disney-like transformation where we could stroke ther ball about as we liked and score at will. Well....

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Agree regarding the squad. Thats been my main issue with Hughton this season. We as fans will always say "should have done this" or "should've done that"....but fact for me is the squad we have is clearly better than the results we've achieved. We've gone from Steve Morison & Aaron Wilbraham(ovic) to Gary Hooper & RVW. Graham Stuart to Leroy Fer and so on. I can see where the board is coming from in what they expect. We as a club are never going to be more than a mid table side at best. I firmly believe we are better than living in fear, looking over our shoulders though. I genuinely hope im wrong and we go get a draw or win at Swansea. Its the only way Hughton is going to shake this tag off him.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Jesus is passé too, sharky. And what has God ever done since he created the Universe in an idle, aberrant moment? At least we`ve got Mustard TV on Freeview Channel 8 now, so we can catch up on self-combusting potatoes. Normally they only catch fire when frying to dryness in a chip pan. But in Partridge\Mustard land, these 88% moisture tubers catch fire for the right people! New Channel has been endorsed by Alan Partridge and David Cameron. Aka Ridiculous and Ridiculouser.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • It is still a big concern that we have misfiring strikers an almost total lack of goals from that area.

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    Albert Horton

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • It is still a big concern that we have misfiring strikers an almost total lack of goals from that area.

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    Albert Horton

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • How do you measure progress GPL? The board says it is progress just to keep out of the bottom three. This despite the knowledge that we end the season against four of the better teams. The season before Hughton relegation did not hang over our heads the way it has in the past two seasons. Sio far this season the three strikers have scored seven goals ie they are yet to reach the total Grant Holt alone scored last season. Is that progress? Sorry but we look like losers under Hughton. For too many games the players just don't turn up. The tactics are poor and the approach to scoring goals and winning games is lily-livered. If mankind made progress at the same rate as Norwich under Hughton, the wheel would still be centuries away and Hughton's stolen Big Mac would be 100% dinosaur meat.

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    waclor

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • your right Bryan Hamilton is the only one i'd have back ;) legendary.....not!

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    Mattias333

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Agreed, Sharky. It's as pointless getting misty-eyed about Holt as it is about Terry Allcock. Both legendary and talismanic figures for the club, but every dog has its day and both have had theirs. Holt might have lasted one more season if Hughton hadn't abandoned him on his own up front, but he was definitely slowing up. Lambert only borrowed him from Wigan because he didn't get a chance to say goodbye properly.at Carrow Road. Unless Benteke and Agbonlahor both break a leg, Holty is only going to make the odd cameo appearance, like he did against Norwich when he was a pale shadow of his former self. Time to move on.

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • stormy - spot on. it seems ambition is severely lacking. i said the same thing a few months ago with people saying "oh, its Norwich what do you expect?" that way of thinking won't get the club anywhere both with the club, the manager, the players and the supporters. what's wrong with having ideas above our station instead of the under 12's sunday league manager mentality of "oh well... we lost, but at least everyone had a touch of the ball." it'd be nice to see us go away to Swansea and take it to them, but like everyone else, niggling in the back of my mind I can help but think that won't happen...

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    Morgan Hewitt

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • oldtimer, I wasn`t suggesting Pilkington should have been picked, I was just wondering where he was! Not on the bench. He seems to be on his way (for free, of course). He`s not interested any more, I suspect.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Hallelujah! Matt is back. Tan line enhanced by a week in the Caymans and batteries fully recharged. Brewer was pulling his hair out, as were those guys in the front row of the "Sitting\Standing" seminar which you missed. Stewpyd, I think you'll find that Stephen Hawking is manager of Cambridge Utd. Like his brother Chris, Steve is the subject of numerous spelling errors: Hughking, Hawton, Hasbeen.....to name but three. At the risk of upsetting that happy clapper of indeterminate gender (LYB), I share Stew's concern that Crouton will go all coy against Swansea, drop Wes and play Johnson as an extra (and unnecessary) defensive midfielder. I don't think Olsson will be able to bomb forward as much as he did on Saturday and he'll need the legs to get back to stifle Swansea counter attacks which they're good at (unlike Sunderland). Olsson gets the Barry Buler gong for me, Tettey gets goal of the season, and Becchio (described rather fittingly by Divot as "the rump of the squad") gets the the prize for "Best Player in a Supporting Role". And finally, Brewer should win the wind up radio to go with his wind up keyboard. All yours, Mattias, you've got some catching up to do. Wijs Acterste.

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • I really didn`t know that, Pierre ;-) My post must have been one of those `monkeys with a typewriter\works of Shakespeare` jobs. I wonder what Samantha thinks? Probably concentrating on crossing the road safely.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Good to see that Divot has brought one of his favourite words back from the periphery - `detractor`. I hope Wes doesn`t get the chop, though I see I`m not alone in worrying about the possibility\probability of that happening - Hughton has `previous`. I suppose that makes me a dissenter, young Patrick? Then, what do you expect from the lower echelons? I wonder if they`ll ever get Padster off that fence? Got to keep the Inner Circle at Carra happy, whilst also pleasing his avid readership. It might take surgery. Perhaps he`s in with a chance of the Janus Prize for Journalism?

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Reading through the posts it comes clear that there are so many opinions, extreme, moderate and some downright rude. Whatever is opined it boils down to one thing "whatever will be, will be" aka Fate, if it is written in the stars then that is what will happen. Perhaps we should get Russel Grant or Mystic Meg to be seconded to help and advise the board and management. I can hear you mocking this idea but many years ago I was driving along dissing Meg's powers and a pigeon pooped on my windscreen, spooky or what, from then I became a believer and regularly read their predictions, which may vary but the stars line up together every so often, a bit like the teams performances, so the more input the better. There are bigger forces at work than you realise, look at Stew with his voodoo dolls.

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    Gibbo

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Longtime match day folk will know I'm one of the pro-Hughton guys and despite a stressful season, I still think he's good for us. Why? 1. He signs good players: Bunn saved our season when Ruddy got injured and spent half a season out, Olsson, Bassing (more last season than this to be fair!), Yobo, Whittaker, Tettey, Redmond, Fer... Ricky and Hooper were both exciting buys and could still come good - its not the first time we've had a striker struggle in their first season for us! Elmander is the unsung big man up top to hold it up, he's a good foil for a.n.other. There are more, but that should make the point! 2. Weirdness with Wes and Becchio notwithstanding, the players like him and play for him. It would have been so easy for the players to have taken the easy option and turned on him, but they've stuck with him and fair play to that. 3. I know we haven't had the best of seasons, yet there are a number of games this season where our performances have deserved better results. So although its frustrating, I see progress and the prospect of better next year. If our strikers had popped away a few of the many, many chances we have created sometimes this season, the mood and league position would be so, so different! 4. Hoots took Birmingham to Europe and performed well there - give him time and he'll do the same for us! 5. He's done all of this on a comparably limited budget (comparable to the other perm teams that is). 6. Mattias333, you do realise that 2 of your dream 3 of Tettey, Howson & Fer in midfield were signed by Hoots, right? And Howson was only with us from January before Lambert bailed, so arguably his progress is more down to Hughton than Lambert... 7. I trust McNally to make the right call. He was spot on to replace (great bloke and complete Legend) Gunn with Lambert. And when Lambert moved on, Hughtons record looked an ideal match - and we got him. And finished above Lambert's Villa! Not bad when such a tough act to follow! I think he'll do it again this season as well. And (although I was crossing fingers and fearing the worst), I think McNally was right to stick with Hughton when it got tough as well - look at the state of the baggies, cardiff and fulham, plus palace and sunderland have faded badly are in big trouble - e.g. Sunderland may have games in hand, but 6 of them are against the top 7! So to finish up this very post - yeah its been a disappointing season, but the signs of progress are there and strikers scoring goals will change everything for the better - OTBC!

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    jenger

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Jenger, long post well written. I posted a long reply but it has got lost. Basically I do not agree at all. Bunn was an expensive and just about adequate stand-in but Rudd would probably have been just as good. Hughton's lack of confidence in young players cost us Steer. The strikers do not have many chances but would have more with a more adverturous approach and Wes in the team. He shackled Howson last season to the point where he was effectual. The players frequently DO NOT play for Hughton eg Villa and Southampton away Fulham at home etc etc. Small budget because the board do not trust his judgement, hence no spending in January. Success with a previous club is of no consequence to Norwich. The man cannot get the best from players by motivation nor tactics. he does not believe that Norwich can compete in the EPL and seems out to prove himself right. Listen to his interviews. He states the obvious because that is all that he sees. Sorry going backwards, he must go in May.

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    waclor

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • In NCFC's Annual Report, year ended 30\6\13 it simply states the main objective for 13\14 season is to stay in Prem. A further objective is to increase revenue but that is subject to league position and merit awards. Page 9 of the main report records that the cash flow forecast to June 2015 takes in to account the club's status being either PL or Championship, both being manageable. This being the case it is understandable that those running the club, while no doubt preferring to remain in the PL, are not too flustered about what we fans see as the worst happening.

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    Lincs Canary

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Mathias and oldtimer, to name but two, have gone all soft and gooey over the Hoot. It's only because theyve been starved of good football for two seasons that theyre grateful for the crumb that was Saturday's first half.

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    Cecil

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • All my attempts, on all appropriate boards, to welcome back Mattias have been blocked by Archie. Even in this new, much abbreviated, format Matt`s a great read. If you have an hour or three to spare ;-)

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Stew you worry me, to have such a vitriolic attitude toward CH cannot be healthy, have you got a doll in his image into which you regularly stick pins. Your pie in the sky hypotheses are clouded by the taint of hatred, my mum used to say" IF your bum was hanging out of bed would you get out and push it in again", it is such an overused word.

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    Gibbo

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Tut Brewer, Janus looks backwards and forwards,for example at New Year ("January"). Not "two faced" at all...

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    Pierre

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Oh cecil. you are so wrong. Read my post and you will see that I said that one swallow doesn't make a summer. Yes, I was impressed with the performance after the rubbish we are continually served, but I maintain that Hughton rates alongside Hamilton, Rodent, Grunt and Gunny in terms of useless managers we have had here, and it would take two seasons worth of good perfomances to make up for the two years of dross that he has served up to us long suffering fans. He and his so called coaching staff will never be Prem quality, and I sincerely hope that McNasty will do the right thing and get rid of them post haste at the end of the season. If we manage to stay in the Prem it will be in spite of Hughton not because of him.

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    oldtimer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Btw, it is truly amazing that one rare, decent performance and a deserved win against a poor side on the day, makes Hughton OK again. He`s King Midas in reverse for our football and the converse for himself. He should leave at the end of the season. Brum might like him back?

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Mattias, I completely agree that our squad is better than what it has achieved this season. I'm not convinced that it's better than what it has achieved taking into account bedding in from the massive changes in personnel over the summer and the horrendous number of long-term injuries we've had this season.

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    LittleYellowBirdie

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Still convinced the issue is a replacement. Like Mr McNally said "you have to be careful that change isnt just for the sake of change". That isnt me standing up for Hughton, its just the fact the next manager has to be the right one and tick all the right boxes. Im not convinced the right manager is out there at the minute and thats why the board hasnt acted sooner. Had the right man been out there at a club or without a club they'd certainly have acted sooner, rather than waiting for their hand to be forced on the next "must win game". Lots of opinions on who should and who shouldnt be manager of NCFC. For me Im yet to hear one name that we actually have a chance of landing that i'd want at NCFC. In my group of Lower Barclay ST holders a few are very vocal in wanting Neil Lennon. Just doesn't inspire me with confidence to be fair. Tactically flawed and not convinced he would do better than Hughton. The typically Norfolk folk (alright buh) see it as simple as being Malky and only Malky who will make everything ok. Yes I agree he would unify fans....in the short term, but from what I saw of Cardiff in the Championship and this season in the PL I honestly believe the style of football will end in fans discontent like the style we are seeing under hughton is causing. Of course other names are banded about like Di Matteo, Clarke, Laudrup but they all have their own stories and procons etc. The board are smart, they know how vital the next appointment is. The last thing they or the club needs is to be looking again in 12 months time for a new manager with added factors like another shed load of money spent in the summer on new players etc.

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    Mattias333

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • .....and you have friends in high places Sharky!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • ......or even "Barry BUTLER".

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Motivation is a fickle beast. I felt that for most of the time that Lambert was here, that was mark of his teams' performances but now he seems to have the same problem at Villa. Is it possible that the tide is turning here, or is it just a flash in the pan? We will see soon enough.

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    Swiss Canary

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • I sort of take my hat off to jengerGPL for their unflagging support for the status quo. Continuity in the increasingly mad world of football is becoming ever more rare and some of the sackings this season have been rash and premature, i.e., Clarke at WBA. The time to change managers is critical and a panic move rarely works although there are cases such as Di Canio last season. His subsequent permanent appointment was asking for trouble of course. The board will have a big decision to make in May as he is either sacked or given the funds to build further. I would suspect that there are mixed opinions in the boardroom but I guess we'll never know. Has CH learned anything from this season that he will use (if given the chance) to make another season less miserable? Can he ever be the boss to make City great to watch again. I still don't believe he can be but with quality additions to the squad could probably achieve another survival season (if (BIG IF) we survive this one). Replacing him with the right man may take some time and would limit time for squad strengthening in the summer. For me, it's still got to be done regardless of whether we stay up or not. OTBC

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • One half of decent football, one thunderbolt goal and we're all Hughtonistas.

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    Cecil

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Also correct me if im wrong but didnt our central midfield consist of Howson, Tettey & Fer away at Stoke earlier this season? Away from home (and for a majority of home games) that be my starting central midfield combo. Not a knock on Johnson but everyone knows my opinion on his lack of technical ability and just how often we lose the ball with it firmly at his feet. Tettey, Howson & Fer is the way forward for me. Superb trio there!

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    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • 'stew' my likeable canary chum. I think it's time to drop the deliberate Houghton's, you've made you point.

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    Lobbo

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • All this Hoolihan idolisation worries me a bit. he is not our Messiah. He had a great game on saturday but he has had equally poor ones. Swansea I am sure he will play again and against West Brom but against Fulham I am hoping for Fer to be back because midfield stregnth will be required and I would drop Wes for that match, even if he does play out of his. skin for 3 matches in a row. The final 4 matches I am hoping to see Fer Howson and Tettey together because therin lies out forseeable future midfield

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    GPL

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • …..The managers name should be spelled H. EGO. UGH.TON to reflect the opinion he has of himself!.....and LYB ..Whos this fellow Hawking you are harping on about?.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • At the start of the season, stormy, Bowkett's target was to finish at least 10th, which actually was quite ambitious. Of course, it may still be possible, in which case we'll be stuck with Hughton, dreadful football and more nail biting for at least another year. But fail to achieve that and Hughton must surely be sacked, otherwise what's the point in striving for continuous improvement and setting targets?

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    jigs69

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • I sort of take my hat off to jengerGPL for their unflagging support for the status quo. Continuity in the increasingly mad world of football is becoming ever more rare and some of the sackings this season have been rash and premature, i.e., Clarke at WBA. I just believe they are backing the wrong horse (or donkey) in this case. The time to change managers is critical and a panic move rarely works although there are cases such as Di Canio last season. His subsequent permanent appointment was asking for trouble of course. The board will have a big decision to make in May as he is either sacked or given the funds to build further. I would suspect that there are mixed opinions in the boardroom but I guess we'll never know. Has CH learned anything from this season that he will use (if given the chance) to make another season less miserable? Can he ever be the boss to make City great to watch again. I still don't believe he can be but with quality additions to the squad could probably achieve another survival season (if (BIG IF) we survive this one). Replacing him with the right man may take some time and would limit time for squad strengthening in the summer. For me, it's still got to be done regardless of whether we stay up or not. OTBC

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Jenger, long post well written. I posted a long reply but it has got lost. Basically I do not agree at all. Bunn was an expensive and just about adequate stand-in but Rudd would probably have been just as good. Hughton's lack of confidence in young players cost us Steer. The strikers do not have many chances but would have more with a more adverturous approach and Wes in the team. He shackled Howson last season to the point where he was effectual. The players frequently DO NOT play for Hughton eg Villa and Southampton away Fulham at home etc etc. Small budget because the board do not trust his judgement, hence no spending in January. Success with a previous club is of no consequence to Norwich. The man cannot get the best from players by motivation nor tactics. he does not believe that Norwich can compete in the EPL and seems out to prove himself right. Listen to his interviews. He states the obvious because that is all that he sees. Sorry going backwards, he must go in May.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Some of you don't half spout a load of rubbish. The same old names too. Credit where credit is due; we played brilliantly and the result was well deserved.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Lincs Can, I too fear\believe the Board will stick with Hughton. They know `dissident` Season Ticket holders will take up the full allocation. If a few don`t, there will be plenty of people eager to buy their Saturday afternoon passport to playtime. Anyway, who`s to say that the blunders, as exampled by RvW, are all Hughton`s fault? He is partly culpable, maybe, but perhaps not the main culprit. He knows where the bodies are buried, hence he`s safe? For another season, anyway. Caveat:- "probably". You never know.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • GPLjenger, I hope Community Care is working out for you.

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    Cecil

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • .....Wes will be dropped next game....Houghton cannot come to terms with anyone else getting a bigger 'Press' than himself ...He has cost Norwich City millions of pounds with his team and tactics selections.....with the players on our books we would have finished much HIGHER in the table if he had got it right!!....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • If you think, Matt's article is...shall we say...comprehensive, you should have seen it before Archie redacted it.

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Can I have a pint of whatever you've been drinking GPL? It's obviously good stuff if you think these largely pathetic displays are progress. If we do avoid relegation it will be despite Whotun not because if him. And if this clown is building a house, then RVW is the outside khazi + Elmander is a dumped mattress in the back garden.

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    Timbo

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Albert agree. It's all very well to say that Elmander played well but is not a goal scorer, and RVW works hard...but doesnt score goals. We need goals from our strikers - plain and simple.

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    CanaryWest

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • .....and you have friends in high places Sharky!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • jenger, long mail but I don't the progress under Hughton and I don't see it coming anytime soon. I do however still have faith in McNally to finally make the right call although exactly will make it on the board isn't totally clear. David sacking from Forest today highlights the perils of a rich foreign owner yet again. Delia has always said she will sell to the right owners and until she finds one, I'm more than happy to be a shareholder along with her. OTBC

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • While I still feel long term their is no future for Mr Hughton im man enough to give credit where credit is due and Saturday he deserves credit for finally going for it, in a home game we are more than capable of winning. What I mean is, for months and months and months I've said Howson & Wes Hoolahan CAN play in the same side. Fair enough if your playing Chelsea, Man C etc...then drop Hoolahan but against a key rival in the league standings playing the likes of Wes offered more in terms of creating chances while not losing anything in the middle because we dont require 2 Defensive midfielders in Johnson & Tettey. Tettey was superb on his own, as was Howson in linking defence to attack. Without that link we will of course see the endless hoofed balls forward. More credit must go to Elmander who saturday put his body on the line countless times and IMO had his best game in a NCFC shirt. However I see comments bellow complaining that he isnt a goalscorer. Hes never been a prolific goal scorer and never will be but if he can perform like he did saturday more often it will go some way to justifying why he was brought in on loan.Just like him though, we as a team must do it consistently. If we go to Swansea and simply no show like Southampton and many many many many others it'll be nothing but another false dawn under Hughton and the good work achieved this past saturday will be forgotten. Must say Olsson was superb saturday playing the old Adam Drury role where he had no natural winger helping him. Gus Poyet spotted it and made changes early to try exploit it but Olsson stood up to everything chucked at him superbly. Also a point I made recently was how important it is to have competitionin every place on the pitch as it will bring the best out of players. Russell Martin is a good example. Been ery off form and deserved to get dropped recently, however 1 game out and he came back sharp as ever. Only thing I would have done slightly different saturday was sub Snodgrass. Not for playing badly as he played very well (although he was helped by Sunderlands Alonso being the only left back in the league who didnt know Snoddy likes to cut in!) but because he was on a yellow card and I was positive he was going to get a second yellow had the game gone on much longer. Bardsley is bang average as well & Redmond being given more time would surely have seen him giving him the run around as he did for the few minutes he got. Get a result (draw or a win) at Swansea it'll go along way to securing safety. I have us staying up on 36 points which does not including any points against Swansea so anything in that games a bonus to me.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Absolute rubbish that we are not progressing. The ones who are not progressing are the ones who changed their manager. be careful what you wish for. it is not easy to be a sucessful manager in the Premiership. We may not be playing sparkling football but we are achieving or objectives to stay in this league and the longer we can do that the more funds we will have to improve the team. The 6 teams who changed their manager are in the bottom 6. Thats 6 managers that are potentially failing since they came in so what makes people think we could buck that trend and find a manager who would do any better

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    GPL

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • That's also what worries me, b arclay. We can turn in the odd good performance (and it was good on Saturday). But up to now we haven't been able to put two together back to back. And as you say, will Hughton once again revert to type and drop either Hoolahan or Howson for the next game? His plan to play a defensive game hasn't worked but will he be bold enough to continue to play a more positive game and have a go? One thing I did like to see on Saturday was Snodgrass switching wings because he is much more effective when he's playing on his natural the right side.

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    malaga flier

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • .....and you have friends in high places Sharky!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Thank you Barking, took a leave from the site after all my other lucky charms didnt work. I decided to make no comment until we won....well that lasted a long time! Saying that we were due our monthly win. Moving house was the legit reason for absence. ;) GPL I genuinely hope by the time im standing (Row U for my 6th trip!) at Craven Cottage we have Leroy Fer back and the midfield is Tettey, Howson & Fer. Thats the dream for me. It really is!

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    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Albert agree. It's all very well to say that Elmander played well but is not a goal scorer, and RVW works hard...but doesnt score goals. We need goals from our strikers - plain and simple.

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    CanaryWest

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • As one of Hughtons biggest critics let me be the first to say that Saturday was a revelation. Although one swallow will never make a summer, the decision to press high up the pitch, and to play Elmander was inspired. As for Tetteys goal, well I, and several other fans are still shell shocked. On the down side, RVW was absolutely awful in front of goal again, a point not missed by the MOTD commentator, and to be honest, at the mo he couldn't trap a bag of cement if he was standing on it. That said, we will see what transpires against Swansea, a revert to type maybe, drop Wes and play a damage limitation game, or actually try to do what we did last year and beat them. Oh, and Brew, I think you would have to agree that "sick note" Pilkington hasn't done anything positive since his latest return from injury and who would you drop for him anyway?

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    oldtimer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Stew, I'm not sure how you can make that statement so categorically. If you can, then I strongly recommend popping down to Cambridge and meeting up with Stephen Hawking. He's very interested in parallel universes and would leap at the chance to talk to someone who can see into them. ;-)

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    LittleYellowBirdie

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • I see you point GPL. I love Hoolahan & fully appreciate what he brings to the table. However as I always point out their is games where he isn't suitable. Some away games and games at home against the big boys my chosen midfield would be (and always has been as regular readers will confirm) Tettey as DMC with Howson and Fer ahead of him. Games at home against the likes of Sunderland though we require a luxury player like Wes. He can still do what no other player can do and thats make a chance out of utterly nothing. Its vital he plays in the right games though. For example, away at Palace on a truly shocking pitch against defenders like Delaney who just wanted to kick him was totally the wrong game to play him IMO.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • The last thing I want is for us to be relegated, but I don't care if we win every game that's left, CH must go, This season has been pitifull and as a manager he's pitifull.

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    Rottsrool

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • .....Sharky!...he has got himself into a right 'muggers buggle' and doesn't know what to do next for the best....Can't you use your influence in some way and sort him out?.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • So often N City have promised much and not delivered. Can they actually win two games on the trot? Would it be too much to expect a striker to score a goal ? They way the season is going, the magic 40 point level may be on the high side . One more win and a couple of draws may keep City safe. If so, may the owners and board have a new concept for next season. Ambition. Staying out of the bottom three is not good enough. It is hard to conceive of any other entertainment business management being given such a remit. Think small and stay small. I am sick of being in an annual relegation battle.The mega millions received from the Premiership must be put to better use.

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    stormy

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • .....have you been enjoying another cocktail party at Carrow Road Sharky?.....I'll bet you had a posh glass!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Dont disagree to a point GPL but the objective stated by the club was to be far away from looking over our shoulder at relegation all season. Mr Bowkett even went as far as saying he expects us to achieve mid table mediocrity easily, with McNally also following up on two seperate occassions with similar lines. Chances are we may we achieve that come May time (similar to last season) but what I believe the board were looking for was achieving that placing long before the end of the season and without the fear of relegation lurking behind us for a majority of the season. While in reality to me surviving is always the minimum goal I expect with the money we have to play with compared to others I do agree with the board that we should've be able to achieve far more than we have this season, and most certainly shouldnt be looking over our shoulder at potential relegation as much as we have. Lets see what happens at Swansea. Will we have finally turned that corner and proved we are making progress in the right direction at last.....or will we simply no show and give Swansea the easiest 3 points of the season like we have for other teams? The fact i've wrote that very sentence numerous times this season worries me we may not have. Here's hoping either way buddy, i'd be utterly thrilled with a draw, as its a draw I dont have us penciled down getting.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • As thrilled as I was with the win on the weekend, I still can't see sufficient evidence of progress to justify keeping the manager beyond May. To illustrate; 201112 NCFC 47pts 201213 NCFC 44pts 201314 NCFC 32pts with 7 to play. Even the most positive of the commenters on here, can you see us reaching 40pts this season? let alone exceeding 44 or 47! I could go on about goals scored, substitutions, what the board have said, style of football, transfers, etc. But for me the negatives certainly outweigh the positives; clean sheets, staying up, transfers (Inboth on account of some of them not quite hitting the billing), being nice? winning when on face value it appears last chance saloon. Just my opinion, I don't! But hand on heart, who really wants to watch more Hughtonball next season?

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    Walter

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • I was at Southampton. We were awful. I wanted Hughton gone at Christmas time. He makes mistakes and I wish he would admit it sometimes. The team he put out there had no chance. Was it a bit of psychology knowing he would pick the men he dropped the next week. Credit where its due for a few games we have been better. Our home form 8th in the league. Away 19th. Dont mess with the team and we will be ok. IMHO

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    sharky

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Sharky, we trot out the same old vitriol because we have the same old (useless) manager. A week ago everyone was out for his head. One win against a very poor team and some will start to think that maybe he is ok really like they did after the two late wins last season. Norwich will not progress under these three clowns and we either progress or go down. Early Summer is the time to Hoof the Hoot and it must be done.

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    waclor

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • oldtimer, you were evangelical in your praise. 'Inspired' you said, 'a revelation'. Thought you were having a road to Damascus experience. Glad to see youre still a non-believer.

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    Cecil

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Connections Stew..... connections from the past. Still cant spell Barcelona. ;-) If only Snodgrass could cheat in the same way that they do. Get my drift?

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    sharky

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Sharky I fully realise that Grant Holt, Paul Lambert and Norwich were a good fit, right people right place right time. I also realise that that time is over. However when you three replacement front men have scored so few between them, it is not progress. In addition there is no leadership to replace that from Grant Holt. It is the poor replacement rather than the fact that he has gone which I, to coin a Hughton phrase, rue.

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    waclor

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • ..and Cecil, Spurs wasn't bad, nor was Man City. Or Chelsea earlier on. Or Man U at home. And we didn't get done 4-1 by Stoke.

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    Pierre

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Mattias, thats why it has been a disapointing season for you then because not once this season have we had Tettey, Fer and Howson on the pitch together due to injuries to all of them at differing times in the season

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    GPL

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Cecil - Certainly not gone soft for Hughton. Long term I still dont think hes the right man to take the club forward. Muddle through a season, losing countless games to key rivals and getting destroyed on the regular away from home maybe, but certainly not gone soft for him. Just repeating what I feel like I keep saying, that if we can go into a 2nd game with some consistentcy maybe just maybe we really are turning that elusive corner....however im fully prepared for it to just be another false dawn and we totally no show at Swansea giving them 3 easy points. Wait and see, I personally hope im wrong. To Mr Jenger I applaud you, your post made one of my typical posts look short! Do disagree on many aspects of the post though but thats life, everyone has different opinions. To say hes signed good players your correct, but you cant base a whole arguement on whether hes right for us or not based on that. Bryan Gunn signed Grant Holt, Bruce Rioch signed Dennis Bergkamp. Does not mean they are perfect managers, just means they managed to sign a blooming good player! ;) Are the signings down to him or are they down to Ewan Chester and the scouting network? Or even both (my choice). If transfer signings are totally down to Hughton like ive said many times, why he'd sign two strikers that dont fit the system hes used at Newcastle & Brum (and trying to use with us) is madness. I personally like RVW & Hooper alot. Two strikers with quality light years beyond what we've ever had and im positive under a different manager they'd be scoring for fun. That leads me to another point. While I dont disagree the players like him, I wouldnt say hes getting the best out of them. All to often we no show and get utterly turned over. There is a difference between being where we are through losing with fight and being where we are an simply no showing many games and getting rolled over. Wouldnt say Hughton took Brum to Europe but he certainly did well keeping them in a competition that nobody actually takes seriously for the most part. Cant take that away from him, but he assembled a squad that fitted the style of play he wants to play. (i.e - an old fashioned target man). I dont believe the hype saying Hughton is gone whether we stay up or not. Personally if we stay up I cant see the board getting rid. Chances are due to how close the table is we may stay up and end up mid table. While we would know how close we came to getting relegated to the rest of the world would going insane at McNally (Again) for sacking a man whose side finished mid table etc.

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    Mattias333

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • That should read finding the back of the net, not sure what is going on with the keyboard today!

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Jenger, long post well written. I posted a long reply but it has got lost. Basically I do not agree at all. Bunn was an expensive and just about adequate stand-in but Rudd would probably have been just as good. Hughton's lack of confidence in young players cost us Steer. The strikers do not have many chances but would have more with a more adverturous approach and Wes in the team. He shackled Howson last season to the point where he was effectual. The players frequently DO NOT play for Hughton eg Villa and Southampton away Fulham at home etc etc. Small budget because the board do not trust his judgement, hence no spending in January. Success with a previous club is of no consequence to Norwich. The man cannot get the best from players by motivation nor tactics. he does not believe that Norwich can compete in the EPL and seems out to prove himself right. Listen to his interviews. He states the obvious because that is all that he sees. Sorry going backwards, he must go in May.

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    waclor

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • DJF, I am not at odds with anyone who thinks there are good football reasons for replacing CH. How will that come about? If we stay up the board and McN will feel vindicated and provide him funds to strengthen the squad. So who wants relegation to ensure it's Hoots out? Not me. And how do we know relegation will lead to a new appointment? As for taking time to decide who to chose, that has not yielded us too many successes since Delia moved in. Who would you have back of Worthy, Rioch, Hamilton, Grant, Roeder, Gunn, Lambert? Short list of one I'd say.

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    Lincs Canary

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • 'bollards' , your point.. your point !!

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    Lobbo

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Spot on AH, had it not been for the midfielders finding the back on the not once again, notably Snodgrass a player many still want dropped from the team, then we may well have lost this game. After all Ruddy pulled off two outstanding saves to keep them at bay. I would consider changes for next week, Hooper would start up front for me but the big question is do we persist with Elmander or switch Wes to the second striker roll.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • I too am in the Pro Hughton camp Jenger and have never waivered because despite some bad performances there have been good ones. When someone has a bad game he has no qualms in dropping them, even team Captain Bassong. Our progress is not rapid but there is progress. Like the story of the 3 pigs, he is building his house from bricks. Not sticks are straw that can be blown down. He is just waiting for the next delivery of cement which will come when the next tranche of TV money comes along

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    GPL

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • While I still feel long term their is no future for Mr Hughton im man enough to give credit where credit is due and Saturday he deserves credit for finally going for it, in a home game were more than capable of winning. What I mean is, for months and months and months I've said Howson & Wes Hoolahan CAN play in the same side. Fair enough if your playing Chelsea, Man C etc...then drop Hoolahan but against a key rival in the league standings playing the likes of Wes offered more in terms of creating chances while not losing anything in the middle because we dont require 2 Defensive midfielders in Johnson & Tettey. Tettey was superb on his own, as was Howson in linking defence to attack. Without that link we will of course see the endless hoofed balls forward. More credit must go to Elmander who saturday put his body on the line countless times and IMO had his best game in a NCFC shirt. However I see comments bellow complaining that he isnt a goalscorer. Hes never been a prolific goal scorer and never will be, thats not his role but if he can perform like he did saturday more often it will go some way to justifying why he was brought in on loan.Just like him though, we as a team must do it consistently. If we go to Swansea and simply no show like Southampton and many many many many others it'll be nothing but another false dawn under Hughton and the good work achieved this past saturday will be forgotten. Must say Olsson was superb saturday playing the old Adam Drury role where he had no natural winger helping him. Gus Poyet spotted it and made changes early to try take advantage of it but Olsson stood up to everything chucked at him superbly. Also a point I made recently was how important it is to have competitionin every place on the pitch as it will bring the best out of players. Russell Martin is a good example. Been very off form and deserved to get dropped recently, however 1 game out and he came back sharp as ever. Only thing I would have done slightly different saturday was sub Snodgrass. Not for playing badly as he played very well (although he was helped by Sunderlands Alonso being the only left back in the league who didnt know Snoddy likes to cut in!) but because he was on a yellow card and I was positive he was going to get a second yellow had the game gone on much longer. Bardsley is bang average as well & Redmond being given more time would surely have seen him giving him the run around as he did for the few minutes he got. Get a result (draw or a win) at Swansea it'll go along way to securing safety. I have us staying up on 36 points which does not include any points against Swansea so anything in that games a bonus to me.

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    Mattias333

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Howson and Hoolahan are the Duracell twins and will run any midfield. The question is does CH do his usual trick and drop Wes?

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    b arclay

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Lincs Can, I too fear\believe the Board will stick with Hughton. They know `dissident` Season Ticket holders will take up the full allocation. If a few don`t, there will be plenty of people eager to buy their Saturday afternoon passport to playtime. Anyway, who`s to say that the blunders, as exampled by RvW, are all Hughton`s fault? He is partly culpable, maybe, but perhaps not the main culprit. He knows where the bodies are buried, hence he`s safe? For another season, anyway. Caveat:- "probably". You never know.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Difficult to know what to say here amongst people who trot out the same old vitriol week after week. I glad the manger picked the team I suggested apart from RVW. Who played probably his best game for us. We are what we are. THE CANARIES, Not Barceloner

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    sharky

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Mattius then maybe it is Bowkett and Mc Nally who needed the reality check. he probably expected better because w paid out about 30 million on transfer fees but even clubs like Cardif and Hull are dwarfing that level of investment. Clubs like Hull Norwich Palace and Villa will stay up because their managers all have premiership experience. Mid table will be achieved by Norwich I believe but to expect it by March is totally unrealistic on what is still one of the smallest budgets in the league. i do honestly believe we are getting better as a squad. Consistency is not and that is my only gripe but to be honest if we were 9th there would be some saying we should be 8th and if 8th some would say we should be 7th. I think we have the seccond smallest budget and one of the smallest capacity grounds and i think we are doing well and I for one am proud of what our club has achieved

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    GPL

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • I am in the "this squad of players are better than their league position" camp. Surprised however that some posts still saying Hughton on borrowed time till end of season. Have read nothing from McN or any of board to support this. Have I missed something? Also the board have given CH all the funding they can afford, so no lack of faith. RVW took most of it last time round. Man C, Man U, Chelsea, can afford to make £9m mistakes, clubs like NCFC need to get it right. Sorry to further depress the Hoots out campaigners but my reading of the situation is the board will stick with their "safe pair of hands", even if we go down. If you want to compete in the Prem you need finances in addition to the easy tv money that everyone receives. Is Delia ready to move on?

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    Lincs Canary

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Waclor totally agree. Would love to be a fly on the wall in the boardroom.

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • I for one have never critised Elmander to the point that seems to be the theme over recent weeks, this last couple of games he is playing in the roll that he plays for Sweden... the only difference is he is not playing with a great striker, so sometimes he has looked a lonely figure, the last couple of games he has run at the defence, and as a big chap not easy to push off the ball.. OK CH has maybe seen this, or slowly worked it out... took long enough... now we need a decent striker... Wolf... well.... Hooper, sits to deep, he may, work out that Becchio sits on the bench, it's laughable really 31 games in and STILL don't know his best 11.

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    OLDYELLA

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • TK, just from what I heard on Radio Partridge and saw in the pitiful highlights from MOTD (why did they give more time to the goalless 2nd half??) I`d replace RvW with Hooper and leave the rest well alone. Ricky from the bench as required - or Becchio? I wonder if Chrissy`s afraid to pick Luciano in case he embarrasses him by performing well and - Heaven forbid - actually scoring? Still, he`s reinstated Hoolahan now, so maybe it`s not too hard now, Chrissy? Where`s Pilkington? Where`s Mattias???

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Holt Holt Holt!!!! forget him. He was on for Villa for 15 mins and had one touch. Totally out of it now. Great for us but just as memory. COYY

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Monday, March 24, 2014

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