Preview: Norwich v Cardiff

With the Welsh on their way Jon Rogers speaks to Steve Garland,  a Cardiff City Supporter and ex-Norwich Media team employee, so he knows a lot about both. We discuss who he would Snog, Marry, Avoid, car boot sales, and calls their manager 'Trolls.'

The uncommon point down celebration.

The uncommon point down celebration.

Jon: So, Cardiff are coming to the City - Are you looking forward to both teams singing ‘Come on, City’...both unaware they are encouraging each other?!
 
Steve: Always a weird one, I agree. Hopefully, work permitting, I'll be one of the few hundred chanting it from the away end on Saturday, which will be a weird experience... You've got that big screen I always wanted now I hear?! 
 
Jon: It’s awesome and it turns quicker than Leon Barnett ever did. So, wow’s the beginning of the season been so far for the Bluebirds? Gonna win the league?
 
Steve: It's a weird one for us Cardiff fans. After 15 years or so of a club on the rise, the last few seasons have just been a bit... meh. With the cash injection the club received to change their colours to red and get promoted to the Premier League in 2013 now seemingly over- from the outside, sustainability now looks to be the main aim. I think most, especially after the start of the season, would be happy with a mid-table finish. Heck, before the signing of Rickie Lambert on Deadline Day, I would've been happy with us just staying in the league. 
 
So with expectations checked somewhat, win the league? I very much doubt but a play-off push, courtesy of some Trollope magic, would be fantastic. 
 
Jon: Trollope Magic? Reminds me of my 20s. How would you describe your play?
 
Steve: Cultured? As the arrival of Russell Slade at the club signaled the end of our cash burning days, the team has resorted to a style of football more attuned to Newport's finest Tony Pulis... Early days under Paul Trollope suggests a positive return to the deck for the Cardiff City Stadium, but it remains to be seen if that can persist if the results don't come. Still, with Peter Whittingham on the field, some champagne football can always crop up from time to time.
 
Jon: The Transfer Window closed...Norwich fans were bitterly disappointed by no signings on the last day - as last day signings are at least a billion percent more exciting than any other time. How was your window overall?
 
Steve: Our transfer window is what I can imagine Norwich market to be like if pork baps were on offer for 20p a go... Yep, the car was parked and boot opened outside Cardiff City Stadium as we tried to off load the last of the high earners brought in during the Malky and Solskjaer days. Adam Le Fondre (Wigan), Federico Macheda (released) were both let go, despite being great striking options on paper and us, well, not having a striker, while ex-Norwich boy Tom Adeyemi headed for Rotherham on loan and Fabio left for Middlesbrough. 
 
Perhaps the biggest loss was felt when long serving goalkeeper, and another Norwich link, in David Marshall left for Hull and a more than deserved second bite of the Premier League. Marshy has been incredible for us, coming back after the disappointment of the play-off final defeat to Blackpool, he pushed his way to be named by a lot of pundits as the number one 'keeper in the PL in our (collaborative) relegation 2013-14 season. Watching him week in week out that year, it was an honour he undoubtedly deserved. To be honest, my only question when he left before the deadline was 'Why not sooner and why Hull?' I'm of full belief that he could have cut it at a top seven club after his initial Premier League campaign with us.
 
And finally, a positive... The last minute left field signing of Rickie Lambert, could be a season defining moment for us. The difference between play-offs and mid-table, mid-table and relegation... Delete as you will. The move for Joe Bennett was also a shrewd one following Fabio's departure.
 
Jon: Kyle Lafferty was in talks with you during the window....but talks sadly (for us, and probably you)broke down...Disappointed?
 
Steve: At the time, massively yes! We'd got rid of so many strikers, it looked destined that Pilks was going to be doing his makeshift role up front again until January at least... Like a twenty-something in Cardiff on a Saturday night, I'd have taken anybody. 
 
Fortunately we ended up signing Rickie Lambert from left field so in the end think we got the man we need for our current situation. 
 
Jon: He would have done a job for us. Last 20 minutes, something different. Let’s talk about Cardiff's great links with Norwich....The three main one’s are, of course, Bellers, Malky, and, Leon Barnett. As much as I'd love to do a Snog, Marry, Avoid but....instead, what other memories do have of Norwich Cardiff relations?
 
Steve: Don't forget the King of Spain as well! 
 
It's always been a special one for me since I joined Norwich to work (for the Press team) in 2010... And then typically they went head-to-head for promotion that season. I'll never forget that night in Pompey, elated to have been promoted professionally, but the fan inside of me gutted Cardiff missed out. That was quickly shrugged aside though as that promotion with NCFC is still to this day the most enjoyable year in the field thanks to some of the fantastic people I worked with at the club then. 
 
Talking of which, in the four meetings I worked on opposite sides of the club press box divide, it always made for some great inter-club banter – still miss that to this day. 
 
As for the others, don't get me started on Malky, but all have served both clubs fantastically well. There does seem to be some weird draw between the two clubs however, despite the 4 and half hour commute between them, the latest of course being Paul Trollope, now our manager and former first team coach under Chrissy Hughton. 
 
Having worked with Trolls at Norwich, I really do wish him well with the Bluebirds... He really is a top bloke. It's clear to see it's a tough job, but from what I know of him am confident he can help to stabilise the club but also help us to an eventual return to the top flight. 
 
An NCFC/ CCFC, Snog, marry, avoid?
Snog: Simon Lappin, 
Marry: Leon Barnett, 
Avoid: Malky Mackay. 
 
Jon: I’d snog Lapps too. Who are you scared of in the Norwich team…and who are your danger men?
 
Steve: Probably left field this, but the Murphy twins. Those lads are on the road to fulfilling all the potential they showed when they romped us to FA Youth Cup glory in 2013. Fully convinced they have everything in their locker... And together they can terrify our full backs, not that, that’s likely purely due to selection this weekend. When you add the fact that Josh scored twice against us last year for the MK Dons, (both late winners) hopefully we won't see him getting his tracksuit off with ten minutes to go... 
 
Our danger men? Without doubt now, Rickie Lambert. Like I said before, he could well make the difference to our season - now we have someone who can convert those trademark Peter Whittingham deliveries. Ones to watch: Kadeem Harris (pacey young winger) and Lex Immers who has brought a few goals from midfield / no.10 role. Obviously Pilks would like to enjoy his return to Carrow Rd as well...
 
Jon: Finally, Score Prediction?
 
Steve: Fortunately there is no 'having to wear a Norwich shirt' at stake on this one* (See: @Tramsay14 – Tom Ramsay for that)... Going with my head and not my heart I have to say 2-1 Norwich, with a Lambert debut opener for THE City.
 
Cardiff fan - Steve Garland tweets at @SDGarland . He work in F1 with RedBull but used to work at Carrow Road for the Media team. Currently is traveling the world, looking smug, and being all smug, the smuggy smugface.