Jon Punt gets hold of a long handled spoon and thoroughly scrapes the barrel, looking for the positives to come out of 2016-17. He found 6. There may be more...
This campaign has obviously failed to live up to even the most pessimistic of Norwich City supporters’ expectations.
Anything other than a top 6 spot constituted failure, especially after the ill-fated comments from a certain former CEO of “promotion, promotion, promotion” at the now infamous Club AGM.
But at Along Come Norwich we like to think of ourselves as a glass half full kinda website, so here are 6 shining lights from a season that never really got going.
The Murphy boys step up to the plate
Josh and Jacob were in danger of embarking down the now perfectly cultivated pathway of promising Canary youngster into Lowesoft Town/Kings Lynn first teamer. Many academy products have excited, Ryan and Rossi Jarvis first tried to bring a sense of sibling success to Carrow Road, while various others have flirted with breaking into the senior squad. For every Craig Bellamy or Rob Green there’s many more who haven’t made the grade. See Little Bobby Eagle, Micky Spillane, Ian Henderson, Cameron McGeehan or even Tom Adeyemi and Korey Smith. The list of nearly men is almost endless.
The twins’ progress appeared to have stagnated in the shadow of Nathan Redmond, but the brothers have stepped up to the plate this season. Confidence gained from Jacob’s opening day thunderbastard at Ewood Park catapulted him towards more dynamic and direct performances early in the season but Josh too has performed when called upon, with a number of eye catching jinking runs and the odd goal to boot, including a wonder strike of his own up at Goodison Park. They’re by no means the finished article, but only senior football in yellow and green will see to that. Be patient, they’re two of our own and could be bloody brilliant if nurtured carefully.
Side note; their chant is silly, just look at the back of their shirts to tell which one’s which.
Cam’s still got it
Many questioned Jerome’s new 3 year deal upon promotion to the Premier League. That was fair had we been able to survive the drop, but he has proven Championship pedigree and Norwich would have been lost without him during this season.
Always willing to run the hard yards, regardless of his own personal form, CamJam is a legitimate pick for Player of the Season and would be guaranteed the Barry Butler if it was awarded on workrate alone.
So far he’s contributed 16 league goals to the cause, and all this while Oliveira was being selected ahead of him mid-season. He might miss a few chances, but he’s a thoroughbred at this level.
Changing of the guard
Being a Norwich fan over the last 18 months has been terrible. Social media adds to the sense of apathy, anger or hopelessness, depending on how you choose to channel your anguish. It’s caused widespread division among supporters, seemingly reasonable people have chosen to argue the toss over tactics, managers, owners, CEOs and most frustratingly Kyle Fucking Lafferty.
It was getting boring, so the board’s decision to jettison Alex Neil, while starting to embed a new footballing structure is pleasing. It recognises the challenges of modern football and more importantly gets everyone quickly back onside.
Webber’s broom of change has begun the spring clean, crowd ‘favourites’ have been released, freeing up large chunks of cash for the salary budget. The sad reality is this won’t all be reinvested, but we can all get behind the change of ethos.
We’re not Ipswich
Ok, I’ve written this season about the fact I don’t really hate Ipswich that much, but it’s still lovely to have a private chuckle at how badly things have gone for them, right?
For what it’s worth, Mick McCarthy has an impossible job. Oodles of debt, unrealistic fan expectations and a player budget smaller than Tyrion Lannister. The nice thing is though, however far Norwich have fallen, we’re just not them. Their self delusion at thinking they’re still famous (and we’re still shit) is hilarious and they’ve had it so bad for so long that equalising derby day goals are becoming Town folklore. I hate to think how they’ll react when they eventually beat us, but that day is years away, RIGHT?
RyBen’s was rumbled
Ryan Bennett was once a mystical beast, part unicorn, part Becchio, part Lafferty. His omission from the first team was often a mystery to those that had probably never seen him play properly, yet his exposure to an extended run of first team duty has finally drawn a shining light on the fact he’s just not very good, apart from at heading a ball, which he doesn’t seem overly willing to do most of the time.
This is a debate we need not have anymore, he’s been released and no-one can argue over whether he was given a sufficient amount of chances to prove his worth.
Russell Martin’s beard
It is almost impossible to dislike Martin as a gentleman and a professional. Ok, you can get a tad frustrated at a trademark Russ rouses the rabble rallying cry, but as a bloke he’s marvellous.
Now our Russ hasn’t really been great this year, although arguably he’s been our best defender (VERY SLIM PICKINGS KLAXON). Isn’t his beard dreamy though? I could get lost in it for hours, and if Wymondham Police station hadn’t imposed that restraining order I bloody well would have.