Norwich City’s Swansea approach could reap vital victories
13:28 22 February 2013
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Like the sweeper system in football, trains running for lengthy periods without delay and white dog poo, handwritten letters are something you rarely see these days.
And fan mail is not the sort of thing I’m used to receiving in the post – the odd death threat, maybe.
So when Gary Saunders, from Lakenham, took the time to write to write to me with his views on Norwich City I was, as your cliché-ridden footballer would say, over the moon. And what’s more he makes some pretty fine points on the current plight of our club. Therefore I’ve decided to give someone else a say this week, so here’s what he had to say – along with my take on his points.
Thanks for writing, Gary, and it would be good to hear from other fans on the points he makes or matters City-related.
Gary writes: “As someone who lives and breathes all things Norwich City, I’d just like to make a few points.
“While I do like Chris Hughton for his signings and also his intelligence, his negative approach is beginning to grate with me. His lack of ambition away from home puts us under pressure to win the bulk of our home games.
“I see the Fulham game as one we need to win, with games against Everton and Manchester United to follow, I think the fans will start to get very nervous if the winless run stretches to 11 games.”
I don’t think Gary is alone in being frustrated at times by the perceived negativity of the play on occasions. On this subject I always hark back to the 4-3 Swansea victory and wonder why Hughton doesn’t go more gung-ho every now and then. Clearly Gary’s letter was written prior to Fulham, but I agree that lack of victory in the next two games will make fans very nervous. Rightly so, but our season will be determined by the games that follow the next two.
“We still have games against the struggling clubs to come, but in my opinion it’s not the stage of the season you want to play sides like that, when they are also fighting for their lives.”
Can’t say I agree, Gary. Yes, there’s always a team or two at the bottom whose form improves, but the teams are in trouble because everyone else keeps on beating them and that’s exactly what Norwich should be able to do. Would you really rather play the likes of Everton or Spurs as opposed to Reading and Wigan at this time of the season?
“Am I the only one who thinks Chris Hughton would be happy with 38 draws? If we were playing Preston away, I suspect he’d be happy with a point.”
Ironically I think 38 points would keep us up! This goes back to the earlier points.
“We got Luciano Becchio for £200,000 and Steve Morison? What a steal!!! Neil Warnock must be visually impaired.”
Totally agree and I think Becchio will score a few goals between now and the end of the season that will prove vital to survival. I notice that Morison hasn’t exactly gone down a storm with Leeds fans during his early days there.
“Javier Garrido: I’m not convinced by the defensive side of his game. I would be tempted to give Steven Whittaker a run at left-back. It wouldn’t be a gamble as he has played at left-back at previous clubs. I think he’s taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. Classy.”
An interesting point because many fans adore Garrido. He’s a player who either seems to be awesome or rank, as he was recently against QPR. I’d still like to see him back next season, along with another left-back to push him for a place. Whittaker has been brilliant when fit, but his injury record concerns me.
“Kei Kamara: Strange one for me, a right winger when we have Robert Snodgrass and Elliott Bennett. I think he can play in the middle so who knows? Big step up from the MLS, though. Interesting that Stoke had him on trial in December and turned him down. You would think a tall, strong forward would be tailor- made for them if he was any good. Time will tell, I suppose.”
Sometimes a player just needs to come in and shake things up, get the fans on their feet (if allowed, of course) and get things going again – and this could be Kamara. I admit I’m one of those who can’t wait to see what he can do. I’m also addicted to his Twitter updates!
“A big shout for Michael Turner. After a dodgy start he’s been impressive, not afraid to put his head in where it hurts. Well done, Michael!”
I think there’s a song (the words of which can’t be repeated here) which sums this up perfectly. I still think Hughton will go in for one more centre-back in the summer – and rightly so.
“The Murphy twins (Josh and Jacob): I have watched them many times for the youth team and under-21s. They are outstanding prospects, but they are not ready for first-team football. They are still boys and have some growing to do. The defensive side of the game needs some working on. I think our first sight of them in the first team will be coming off the bench in the early rounds of the League Cup next season. They are still some way short of Premier League standard.”
Whether these are the ones to do so remains to be seen, but it definitely feels like we need a couple of starlets to emerge from the academy. Often they can have a similar impact to the one that I talked about Kamara having.
• Really looking forward to this weekend’s game against Everton, a large part of which is probably down to memories of last year. It was a cracking game at Carrow Road, 2-2 with chances galore, in fact I remember writing at the time that with Everton hot on form this was one of the results of the season. Let’s hope we can summon up the same type of game on Saturday.
• On that subject, the big line-up talking point ahead of Saturday surrounds the potential deployment of two up top. Everyone seems to be certain that means Wes Hoolahan will make way for Luciano Becchio. However, how about a rest for Alex Tettey with Hoolahan remaining? We’d have the element of surprise, potential for lots of chances and I’m sure there’s enough defensive cover in the side to cope.
• I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the lack of goals being scored at the moment and whether being entertained meant more to fans than points. Well, recent comments from Chris Hughton certainly left us in no doubt as to where he stands on the issue. Speaking after the Fulham game he said: “For us there is only one statistic and one opinion that really counts and that’s the one at the end of the season. If we’ve managed to accumulate enough points to be where we’d like to be in this division then it’s been a good season.” That said, should our top-flight status be confirmed, I’d still like to see a few more goals next time around, please, Mr Hughton.
• I couldn’t attend the Fulham game, but I hear messages asking people to sit down didn’t exactly go down a storm with certain sections of the crowd. And who can be surprised. Here’s an idea. How about the club, who must have a database of all fans, write or email each one in the affected areas to let them know the club’s latest policy on standing in advance of the match – or maybe even garner views as to whether it actually bothers people or not.