Even though Jon Rogers can’t wait for the season to start, sadly he has a niggling feeling that Norwich will get relegated unless something spectacular happens with the Carrow Road chequebook. Here’s why
The first game of the season is so close you can smell the plastic wrapping on the vast amount of DVDs being peddled by the club shop.
So close, you can start to smell Gary Lineker and his cronies’ condescending stench oozing from their pores.
But what do I expect? Honestly? This might paint me out to be a negative-nelly but…
In the same way that Burnley played with bravery matched with a passionate brand of football, ultimately they made more fans around the Premier League grounds than they made points. I think we’re going to do the same.
Don’t get me wrong, I expect us to have a “right good go”, to paraphrase the last Scottish manager we had, and I’m pretty certain the current Scottish manager will follow that mantra too. However, unless we sign a strong, talented, goal-stopping centre-half, and a strong, talented goal-getting striker, it will be a struggle this year.
And it should be a struggle. It should.
I want to remove myself from the passion and excitement without spouting a certain level of unjustified hot air about “we’re going be miraculous” or “we’ll be safe by Christmas” or “Alex Neil will turn water into Lucozade”. My head and heart have battled and I think we might not have enough to avoid the drop.
We have a lesser talent pool than most in that league, because we don’t have the financial backing other clubs have. Bookies have us as second favourites for relegation, and they are rarely wrong.
If you take the yellow and green glasses off, we have a team of ‘failed’ Prem players with the addition of one good Championship player (Lewis Grabban), alongside a couple of West Brom rejects and a £7m player from a team that was relegated. With a manager who lacks the experience. Or, popping those specs back on, we have a very focused, hard-working talented young manager who isn’t scared of anything or anyone, who has put a rod of fire into these players, and made us play with speed, expression and professionalism on the biggest and most stressful stage in football last May.
Still, I can promise you there isn’t going to be one time, not one, that I won’t watch every minute with my palms sweating, heart pumping, ready to scream into the air when we win as much as a throw-in.
And I’ll happily fall to my knees and pray to Wes that we stay up. There will be no one happier than myself if we do.
We clenched our fists with passion and tension so hard at Wembley, just so we could play with the big boys, but sadly, apart from Goliath, the big boys usually win.
Please rub my nose in it, chaps.
This article first appeared in the Eastern Daily Press on 5th August