Things we sort of learned - Wolves (H)

Two pens, a red card, a fight, outfield player in goal, a victory. Some might say this was the perfect match. What did Clare Thomas and Richard Jeffery learn, though? Too much.

A Positive Plot Twist
We’ve had our fair share of bad fortune these last few months. As well as just being bad. Untimely injuries, thirty-seven sendings-off and their resulting suspensions have not exactly helped our cause. But for once, the football Gods - who we usually appear to have pissed off royally - actually smiled on us. If you could have written the script for the game, this would have been it. One for the big screens. Ok, Channel 5 then.

Two old foes take to the pitch, tension palpable. An early goal settles the audience. Players looking up for the fight, putting in some lovely performances. The big evil baddie gets booed from all sections of the crowd in unison. Then Wolves get a penalty. Just when you think everything is going swimmingly, it adds a little twist to proceedings. Like that bit in romantic comedies where you suddenly think the guy might not actually get the girl. But then, the hero of the hour, the greatest actor of our time (he does a very convincing ‘foul’), not only wins us a penalty but also manages to get their goalie sent off. Oscar for Wes.  And the best bit of the whole plot; the risk-taking old favourite who we once loved so much had already played all his cards. Our fallen hero was made to look a little bit silly. And our current failing one lived to fight another day. Oh, the beautiful irony of it. CT

Jez Moxey
I can understand the Wolfs fans having a dislike for him, they had sixteen years to build one up. They brought one of their old banners with them which they hoist aloft and started singing ‘we want Moxey out’. Odd, he’s gone already lads. But it was a cunning plan, which almost worked. Because a great many of our fans in the Barclay & Snake Pit joined in. 

Now, we all know he came with baggage and there have been a few PR own goals since his arrival, but the guy has only been in the job since the end of July. He’s obviously walked into a more dire situation than we (and perhaps he) thought, and no doubt has had to do some firefighting. 

So I don’t really know if we’ve had long enough to be singing we want Moxey out, or the other (much ruder) song that got an airing, yet. 

There’s a lot of genuine and justifiable disquiet around the cub at the moment and some of the supporters groups have felt a little neglected, but the reaction to the Wolfs banner today was really odd. We went ahead in the game, I dread to think what would have happened if we hadn’t.

All’s fair in love and football, but that was a odd one. RJ

Naisy’s Nous
I think we must have been sent a fake Steven Naismith, and the real one has only just turned up. Bit tardy mate, but better late than never. Since Christmas, Naisy has put in the type of performances that we all expected to get when McNally splashed £8million of our hard-earned cash on him. He suddenly seems determined, focused. Against Wolves his work-rate was excellent, running, harrying, never letting anyone rest. And that includes his own teammates. He really is an exceptional moaner. But if that means he’s pushing himself and those around him to be better, then moan away dear Naisy. We do love a moany, feisty, Scot in these parts. You just had to look at the pair prowling the touchline for that. 

Whatever it is you’re doing Steven, carry on. Because a bit of grit and determination is exactly what we need right now to drag us out of the mire and towards the play-offs. They’re not out of reach quite yet, and it looks like Naismith’s woken up just in time to realise. CT

Fruit Salad
The Wolfs turned up in a lovely lime green kit to avoid a clash between our canary yellow and their old gold.

It led to a colourful occasion. The players reminded me of one of those tins of fruit salad that passed for a pudding in the 70s (accompanied by evaporated milk - ask your parents kids). We were the banana, they were the apple (the main constituents of the tin). John Ruddy, the ref and his assistants were the brightly coloured yet relatively poorly distributed red grapes you’d get to give the tin a bit of pep. All very bright, like a party.

Everyone was bright and breezy, except for Ikeme in the Wolfs goal. The party pooper, he wore black. Boooo, boring man.

Except he wasn’t the party pooper, he turned out to be the punking instigator.

It began when the ball fell to Wes in the box. His shot on the turn was blocked, but fell back to him. He did a Wes wriggle and a Wes wiggle and Ikeme bought him down. PELUNTY! At least as clear as the one Wolfs were given. Ikeme was unhappy about this, projecting his guilt for giving away the pelunty onto Wes by daring to suggest he had gone down too easily. This manifested itself in the hulking Ikeme shoving notre petit Wes to the ground, violently. RED CARD!

On comes the sub keeper to face the pelunty, but no! A typically bold Lambo had used all his subs, so we get the marvellous and all too rare sight these days of an outfield player donning the gloves (who was the last one we saw? Cooooody?). Matt Doherty was the volunteer, himself lucky not to have received a red card for his part in the chest bumping when the pelunty was given.

He had no chance with Brady’s pelunty which was dispatched with aplomb, even after what must have been a nerve-shreddingly long delay. Disappointingly, Doherty didn’t have much to do after that, he may even have been about to save Jonny’s shot before it was deflected past him. 

But all the excitement was around Ikeme. Ikeme, he saw, we conquered. RJ

A Northern Hero
Jonny Howson was at the forefront of all we did. He was in attack, in defence, everywhere. On the front foot, driving forward. We have no other midfielder like him, an old fashioned box-to-box player, a throwback in so many ways. He’s a straight-talking, quiet lad (not a #lad), who likes his fishing and shies away from the spotlight, unlike many in the game today.

He bossed the game and was at the heart of everything we did. It was wonderful to see the simple, uncomplicated beauty of his play, his first thought is always “Can I get us moving forward?”

It was Jonny’s thunderbastard shot (with his wrong foot) which cannoned off the bar that led to the first goal. Ikeme then kept Jonny out with a fine, strong-armed, one-handed save after Jerome teed him up, a move Jonny started. It was Jonny’s flicked header that set Wes on his way in the move where Jerome hit the post, and it was Jonny’s ball into the box that led to our pelunty. So it was fully deserved when he struck our third. A sweetly-struck volley that was deflected past the aforementioned hapless Doherty.

Jonny for captain. RJ

Lambo-Goney
Before the game social media was awash with the usual ‘relationship’ analogies. ‘Losing Paul Lambert was like losing your one true love to a better, richer woman; Paul Lambert broke my heart, I’ll never get over losing him.’

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

Ok, ok - the relationship analogy is good. We all were a little bit in love with him. And he did break our hearts. Everyone deals with break-ups differently.  Personally I am at the acceptance stage, the bit where all the bitterness has gone and you can look back fondly at your time together.

He has been back to Carrow Road three times since he left us. The last few times he was looking all fancy and parading his rich new love around. And rubbing our noses in it. That hurt.

This time just felt a little different. His rich mistress had kicked him out, and he was now with a model that we had no real ill-will towards (well, maybe mild apathy). Time is a great healer. There were even some smiles. At one point he walked over to his old dugout to embrace some of the Norwich staff. Paul Lambert, standing in the Norwich technical area. My heart panged a little then, I’ll admit. And I may have kept glancing over at him during the game, just to check what he was doing (mostly it was prowling, pointing, shouting and drinking water, just in case you wondered).

But if ever there were a way of getting over someone this was it. Sending on his last sub at 66 minutes, there were murmurs around the Upper Barclay. ‘Is that their last sub?’ ‘That’s a bit early isn’t it’ ‘It is Paul Lambert, he always did like taking a risk’ ‘Wish we did that, Neil doesn’t ever do that’

WELL. HA, HA, HAAAAA.

IN YOUR FACE, LAMBO.

Turns out things didn’t quite go according to plan for Paul. It also seems I wasn’t quite at the full acceptance stage after all. I enjoyed him looking the fool. Maybe a little too much.

But now? Now I’m done. Now we finally have closure. CT