- Klopp relishing 'perfect' occasion
- Gill confident of keeping Rooney
- Blackburn appoint Bowyer as manager
- Europa winners to get Champions spot
- Coventry bidders given deadline
- Assistant boss Phelan leaves Man Utd
- Stoke make contact with Hughes
- Lambert warns Benteke on transfer call
- Mazzarri named new Inter Milan coach
- No Whyte-Green link over Rangers
Love! It Does Funny Things To Us…
Love does funny things to us. Whether it’s a love of Grant Holt that, when handing in a transfer request, the reaction of some grown men was to act as if they’d been involved in a teenage break-up as they felt such a strong bond to the should have been England striker. Or perhaps it’s a love of John Ruddy, so much so, you’d sit through an England match just to cheer him on! The total passion and affection that fans have for their clubs will see them laugh, cry, cuddle strangers or sing in quite terrible keys over the coming months as tomorrow sees the return of the Premier League, plus the Football League.
3PM tomorrow will spell the end to what could have potentially been a very uncertain summer for Norwich City fans. Taking our minds back to late May, after a strong 12th placed finish speculation had been rife about manager Paul Lambert’s future. Aston Villa had been sniffing around, resembling vultures around a carcass. It wasn’t a pleasant few weeks and it was sucking the joy out of an excellent season. After failing to commit his future to the Canaries, Adam Drury’s testimonial came about and was preceded by a very strong public outburst by Lambert – who took great exception to Sky Sports’ Stuart Jarrold’s questioning.
It seemed Lambert wasn’t off, he did further interviews to back up his comments. Though as that week drew to a close, he’d tried to resign and before we knew it – he was being unveiled at Villa Park.
Sticking with the theme of love making us do funny things, on paper – leaving Carrow Road where he was adored, to go to Villa who had finished below City and on that final day of the season looked certain relegation material – was quite a barmy decision by Lambert. But his love of himself and desire to further his career, I make him sound so vein but I’m sure you’ll see what I’m getting at, made him act so strongly. He wasn’t getting his own way and saw Villa as a step up from City, therefore he forced his way out. For a number of Canaries, Lambert will not be top of their Christmas card list though nevertheless he achieved quite stunning things in his 3 years and that part of his reign will be fondly remembered.
But away from the Scotsman, dropping a little down the map we find ourselves a Northerner. Grant Holt. As the speculation bubbled and spat in an unfriendly media froth around Paul Lambert, Holt stunned City fans as he handed in a transfer request. It came from nowhere and Canary fans were left in the dark as negotiations between Holt, his agent and David McNally were played out in private. Adam Drury’s testimonial game came and went, with the yellow army doing their utmost to back Holt. But on the day that it all came out Lambert was off, Holt took to twitter to confirm he wanted out as well!
Kicking us when we’re down seemed appropriate.
From legend to public enemy number one, how the mighty had fallen! Though how little of the true story City fans knew. Lee Payne, Holt’s agent, came out on radio to try tell his client’s side of the story but it seemed we were getting nowhere. West Ham fans on twitter were adamant the big man was theirs. It seemed another 3 year partnership of constant highs had come to an end, that being Grant Holt and Norwich City FC.
With the Canaries managerless, McNally’s priority was understandably bringing in a new boss. Chris Hughton found himself the man tasked with continuing Lambert’s good work. He told us getting Grant Holt to stay was priority, he talked a good game and seemed more than suited to the Carrow Road hotseat. Though as the Hoot deservedly took a holiday, after a gruelling season with Birmingham, Norwich fans with a fragile disposition got themselves all in a flap!
But the news came, the brilliant John Ruddy, or should I say England’s John Ruddy signed a new long-term 4 year contract. With the option of a 5th year once that concluded. Russell Martin signed on, Andrew Surman signed on and one beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday the 3rd of July 2012 there was a press conference. Two new signings were unveiled to the media, Steven Whittaker from the team formerly known as Rangers and Jacob Butterfield, Barnsley’s talented young midfielder who certainly looks a bargain once he’s back to full fitness.
But there, on the end of the table was Mr. Grant Holt. Hughton had done it, he’d got him to stay on a new 3 year deal.
The summer continued to get better, in came Michael Turner, a big, friendly giant of a centre back. He was followed by Leeds’ Robert Snodgrass as Norwich continued to nick all of the Elland Road club’s decent midfielders. The latest signing of Javier Garrido looks astute, the full-back signing on from Lazio for the season – providing competition for Mad Marc Tierney!
Despite the encouraging signings, there are still doubts from a few after pre-season has seen City short of goals. That’s love of the club I guess, desperately wanting their team to do well. But if anyone should know pre-season means nothing, it has to be City fans. Let me remind you of August 2009, an unbeaten pre-season whilst toppling Premiership Wigan Athletic. League 1 Norwich City went into their first game of the season full of confidence. What followed as a 1-7 home defeat to Colchester United. As the teens say, ‘awkward.’
But the time for talk is over, let the passion shine through and the yellow army are sure to be out in force tomorrow afternoon as they visit Craven Cottage – starting their season away at Fulham.
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