Our secret columnist Mr X is a bit grumpy. Or is he realistic? He targets the Bournemouth love-in, the transfer window and Norwich’s up-and-down start to the season, and believes we must beat the Cherries…
Alex Neil will correctly point out that Saturday’s match at home to Bournemouth offers the winning side three points. Which is, of course, the identical reward also on offer from all of the other 37 Premier League games that the Canaries will play this season.
However, for this Canary fan, Saturday is absolutely monumental and for a plethora of reasons.
After some encouraging signs (but only four points) during our first three games, the Southampton shambles was a real throwback to some of the classic ‘Norwich no-shows’ on the road during the reigns of Messrs Hamilton, Grant and Roeder.
As impressed as we all were with the attacking intent shown in our two home fixtures, the fact remains we only have a single point to show for our efforts at Carrow Road. No pressure lads, but come Saturday only a win will do...
If City are to survive at this level they need to start winning matches at home and particularly against the teams that are likely to spend the majority of the season in and around us battling against the drop. It is not just winning games – it’s winning the right games that really matters. Taking points off those around you is undoubtedly a vital ingredient in any successful bid for Premier League survival. As the feeble surrender at St Mary’s clearly demonstrated, contests such as the one we witnessed at the Stadium of Light last month are going very thin on the ground this season.
Sorry folks but away wins this season are going to be about as regular as sightings of Lewis Grabban. It’s all about home sweet home this time around.
If the Southampton debacle left a concerned feeling among the City faithful then the club’s underwhelming performance in the summer transfer window has certainly got the alarm bells ringing. The scattergun approach to signing a much-needed quality striker ended with the loan signing of Dieumerci Mbokani, a player ‘Mr X’ will openly admit he knows very little of. At almost 30 and speaking next to no English, coupled with Norwich’s lack of success in the recruitment of foreign players, suffice to say I’m happy to see that this one’s initially just a loan.
The summer striker search has understandably been ridiculed by most and is old news now. The inability to land a central defender however can only be described as gross incompetence on behalf of those at Carrow Road, who tell us their role is one of supporting the manager.
The window is closed. The decisions have been made. We have to go with what we have now and whatever our own personal thoughts we must get behind the team from here on in. Saturday offers three points and potentially so much more, just as we saw during Neil’s very first game in charge against the Cherries back in January.
Beating Bournemouth will give us that eagerly awaited first home win.
Beating Bournemouth will help erase the memories of that spineless no-show at St Mary’s.
Beating Bournemouth will give a much-needed injection of belief that this squad might just be good enough to get us through to January with a fighting chance of survival.
Beating Bournemouth will help to ease the growing rift between club and fans, many of whom remain horrified by City’s lack of action in this recent window of missed opportunity.
Also, beating Bournemouth (something we’ve failed to do at Carrow Road for 64 years) will be very, very satisfying. Not just following their recent unsuccessful pursuit of Grabban but for the fact that I can’t be the only Norwich fan who is bored senseless by the media’s obsession with Eddie Howe and the ‘Bournemouth fairytale’.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Eddie Howe. I think he’s a good young manager and a thoroughly decent guy but he’s not the back-to-back Champions League-winning manager who has subsequently led the English national team to World Cup glory that a majority of the media are portraying him to be. He did well at Bournemouth first time round, at best treaded water at Burnley and was very, very well backed financially to get Bournemouth into the big time. He’s good – not God.
Suffice to say Saturday is vital in my eyes and with back-to-back away games (neither of which are at Sunderland unfortunately) this is just a match City have to win.