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Ian Clarke: Crazy times just got a lot crazier at Carrow Road

PUBLISHED: 22:16 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 22:16 30 September 2020

Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia have been in the eye of the transfer speculation storm 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia have been in the eye of the transfer speculation storm Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

Well, where on earth does a Norwich City fan start trying to sum up the last week at our club?

Daniel Farke is backing Phillip Cocu to come good at Derby Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesDaniel Farke is backing Phillip Cocu to come good at Derby Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Ever since relegation was confirmed following that disastrous period after Project Restart, we knew our young stars would be in high demand from the footballing vultures.

Only the most crazily unrealistic supporter thought that all the members of our very own Famous Five would stay at Carrow Road for Operation Bounceback.

There were more than a few at the other end of the optimism spectrum who had it in their gloomy minds that the entire quintet would leave for the rich rewards of pastures new.

I was somewhere in the middle and thought maybe two would leave and then the exit door would be closed.

David Freezer spoke to Canaries ace Todd Cantwell in Germany during pre-season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesDavid Freezer spoke to Canaries ace Todd Cantwell in Germany during pre-season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

The hierarchy at NR1 have made it crystal clear that the club doesn’t need to sell any of its treasures, even taking into account the big number of new arrivals.

Sporting director Stuart Webber has been extremely vocal in setting red lines for his bargaining position over City’s prized assets.

He has not appeared fazed over standing up to everyone, from Liverpool to Barcelona.

Little Ol’ Norwich? It seems that tag has very much been drowned in the River Wensum.

Bournemouth celebrate their winner behind a rueful looking Max AaronsBournemouth celebrate their winner behind a rueful looking Max Aarons

Jamal Lewis headed up the A1 to Tyneside in a pretty straightforward deal.

I’ll repeat my wish that he flourishes and recovers from the nasty eye injury during the recent match against Brighton.

Paddy Davitt: Bumpy ride to deadline day



That’s where the term straightforward well and truly ends when it comes to the past fortnight or so.

Newcastle United's Jamal Lewis (right) leaves the pitch injured after being fouled by Brighton and Hove Albion's Yves Bissouma Picture: Lindsey Parnaby/NMC Pool/PA WireNewcastle United's Jamal Lewis (right) leaves the pitch injured after being fouled by Brighton and Hove Albion's Yves Bissouma Picture: Lindsey Parnaby/NMC Pool/PA Wire

The bizarre goings on around the apparent interest from Barcelona for Max Aarons seems like unreal twist in a football comic. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Through the circus, the young man has shown exceptional professionalism and commitment. His performances in the draw against Preston and the loss at Bournemouth had no signs at all of a lad who could have been on the verge of a move to one of the biggest clubs in world football.

I hold Max in such regard for the way he has handled himself.

On its own, the Aarons story – mixed in with the usual transfer rumours – would be a decent plot for soccer soap opera.

Stuart Webber is the man making the difficult decisions this summer.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdStuart Webber is the man making the difficult decisions this summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

And then along came the day of the Bournemouth game. My word...

As if two days of gale force winds and inch after inch of rain wasn’t enough, we found ourselves whipped into a frenzy from a new hurricane storm as the hours past.

First, on Sunday morning we heard about Todd Cantwell being linked to a £15m move to Leeds.

Was it enough money? Was it the right club for #derehamsfinest? Would an auction start for him?

Then news emerged that the local hero was not in the squad travelling to the south coast - and that it wasn’t to do with transfer speculation or injury.

Questions, questions, questions....

As the time ticked by towards kick-off in the battle of the relegated sides, there was another bolt out of the blue.

Emi Buendia had also been left out - and it was not related to the knock which had kept him out of the previous weekend’s match.

There was a growing danger that the crucial game would become a mere warm-up act to Daniel Farke’s post-match presser when he’d be asked about their omissions.

Surely no one had foreseen the candour the head coach showed in describing the reasons why they were left out.

Even though in my job I sometimes hear a bit more background to stories, on this occasion I have no extra knowledge at all.

My mouth was as wide open as the next fan’s at Farke’s explanation.

We haven’t heard from Emi and Todd so don’t know their side of the story.

Any regular reader of this column will know my thoughts on Todd.

As he’s from my home town, I’m immensely proud of all he has achieved and on plenty of times I have defended him amid criticism of his performances (and hair-dos).

Emi is one of the most gifted players we have been fortunate enough to have seen in a yellow shirt for many a year.

We know his temperament - and it comes with his talent.

On the surface and for so many reasons, a positive resolution to all this seems a long, long way off. I live in hope for a happy ending.

And if we see the talented duo performing the magic for us we know they’re capable of. it will be an almighty boost to our prospects this season.

OTBC

Good to see live action

I’m pretty sure that I have just come out of the longest period since I was a small child of not being involved with live competitive football.

There were times when I didn’t have a Carrow Road season ticket or injury prevented me from playing - and of course there are the annual gaps between seasons.

But I cannot recall such a great gap between cheering the Canaries to that amazing FA Cup victory at Spurs, which seems like a lifetime ago, and seeing Dereham Town bow out of the same competition to Canvey Island last week.

Being at a wedding prevented me from attempting to get tickets for the Preston game and our normal Monday night six-a-side league is still suspended.

It was great to experience live action and be among the 250-strong crowd at Aldiss Park. The result was a disappointment but it gave me a real appetite to be back in a ground. I hope the authorities can sort out the safe return of fans at all levels very soon.

Don’t mention slop to Klopp

There hasn’t been too much to laugh about this week, especially for Norwich City fans.

So I had to make the most of chuckling about our old friend (yes, I know) Roy Keane after his little spat with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

If you didn’t see it, Keane was a pundit on Sky for the champions’ 3-1 victory over Arsenal at Anfield.

As part of his post-match analysis, Keane said he thought Klopp’s men were excellent but felt some of the defending was sloppy.

The Reds’ boss certainly saw red when he heard the “s” word and a tense exchange followed in front of the live audience.

The former Ipswich manager (yes, I know again) tried to explain himself, but Klopp was having none of it.

The verbal spat had a mix of humour, tetchiness and awkwardness - but was great entertainment.

I don’t think a double act stand-up tour featuring the duo is on the cards anytime soon (although I’d pay to watch them!).


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