Unlike Newcastle and Aston Villa, Clare Thomas says Norwich City already have a well-equipped Championship squad. So, while our rivals are splashing the cash, there’s no need for Norwich fans to start panicking about the transfer window. Not yet, anyway
Ah, the transfer window. For some reason July 1st seems to send the good people of Norfolk into a frenzy. It feels like something akin to the first day of the Next sale.
You know, the one where people camp outside overnight and pour through the doors at 5am to grab themselves all the best deals. The one where you do your homework. You've looked through the window and spied that dress and jacket you want hanging on the far rails, only for those pesky friends Neve Castle and Alison Villa to shove past you as soon as the doors open and grab them instead.
You’ve hopefully cottoned onto the fact that I’m really talking about Norwich, Newcastle and Villa (and if you haven’t, then duh. Go back and re-read it. I’ll give you a minute…).
Everyone back now? Excellent.
Admittedly it is frustrating that we have to fight it out with these two heavyweights. It’s going to be a tough window. And to get through it with minimum stress (because some of you seem ready to blow like geysers) we have to accept something: we are not Newcastle or Villa.
Given a choice to play for Champions League-winning managers in front of 40,000+ adoring fans we are small fry, and in a three-way fight most players are not going to choose us. We also need to understand something else: Newcastle and Villa will appear to be more active in the transfer window because they essentially have Premier League teams. They will have to do more adjusting than us.
A few days ago, after more fan panic at our lack of signings, I tweeted that same thought.
Lesson no. 1: Never, EVER mention Newcastle in a tweet.
Apparently my tweet “You know why Newcastle and Villa are buying players? Because they don’t have teams equipped for the Championship. We do. Stop panicking”, translates into Geordie as “Newcastle are absolute dog shite and Norwich are incredible and are going to win the league”.
I spent the next 24 hours fielding pelters from their fans. Trust me, that is about as much fun as being stuck in a Scottish sportsbar during the Euros. Nice bunch, the Geordies. And most of them entirely missed my point.
Newcastle and Villa are busy bringing in the likes of Matt Ritchie and Tommy Elphick. Seasoned, quality football league players. Would they have bought them in the Premier League? No. Of course not. The thing is we already have these players: Jonny Howson, Alex Tettey, and the newly crowned King of Ireland, Wesley Hoolahan. Norwich’s squad is essentially already a very good Championship one. Yes, it’s the reason we got relegated. Yes it's the reason we yo-yo. But it's also the reason we may not be so busy in the transfer window.
And let's not forget we did big business in January. Timm Klose, Ivo Pinto, Steven Naismith. And Matt Jarvis. Given the rumours that Mr McNally played Russian roulette and lost, it may mean that we can do very little business now. But do we need to? After all, miraculously it looks like we may actually keep hold of Snapchat Timm. Let's face it: as he’s a little bit crazy, Norfolk is the perfect place for him (if you are reading this Timm that means we understand you: no-one else would appreciate you dressed as a piece of toast). Instagram Ivo will feel like having a new player given his limited playing time last season. Ditto Naismith (though he doesn’t do social media so I’m not sure he’ll last long).
Ok, so we’ve lost a couple of players already. As one of my new friends up in Newcastle kindly reminded me: “Yee hev sold yer best player an not replaced him. Yee are gannin doon”. I found it very sweet that he was so concerned at our loss of Gary O’Neil; it is true that he and his lucky bandage will be a big loss and hard to replace.
And, yes. We are likely to lose another of our best players, the King elect of Ireland, Robbie Brady. I’m afraid we are just going to have to accept that rather large cheque heading our way and move on. And besides, his front teeth have already left with O’Neil so that makes it a little easier to bear.
As for losing Nathan Redmond, I don’t think it's that much of a disaster. Few of us would have said that he was our best player last season. He wasn’t even top three. It was time for him to go, but I truly hope he reaches his full potential at Southampton; I fear he never would have at Norwich. And now it’s time for one of our own to shine: step up J. Murphy. Whichever one is the best one.
And let’s not forget we signed a wonderkid in January, James Maddison. By all accounts we put a fair few noses out of joint with that signing. So is there any need to cry because Villa have just spent £5m on Aaron Tshibola? We’d never heard of him a few weeks ago. Plus it saves hearing his name mispronounced as ‘Tha boi Toshiba’ on Canary Call. Near miss if you ask me.
If we keep hold of Klose, Ryan Bennett, Martin Olsson et al then our defence is actually pretty sound. We may even have to accept that Seb Bassong can cut it in this league*. Jeepers, the man even managed to win two promotions in the same season last time out. What. A. Guy.
Ok. Our lack of strikers is a little disturbing. But we do have one. For even though Cameron Jerome is about as good as Cameron Diaz in front of Premier League goalkeepers, it’s hard to argue against his 21 goals at Championship level. But he needs help. The lesser-spotted big bad Wolf is back. Who knows? Maybe it is his time now. God knows the fans all want it enough. If you could turn someone into a goalscorer just by sheer will power, he’ll be getting the golden boot come May. But we can’t take a chance that RVW is about to turn into RVP. So yes. If we haven’t signed a striker by September 1st then I will allow you all to panic.
Until then let's all try to remain relaxed.
For while losing out in Next to Neve Castle and Alison Villa makes you frustrated and angry, after a while you calm down. Maybe that dress wouldn’t have fit properly anyway. And that jacket was probably still overpriced. A little bit of patience and perhaps you'll find a real gem.
Either that or you'll end up empty-handed and looking utterly crap, as Neve and Alison go striding down the high street in front of you, bags stuffed full of goodies.
*disclaimer. I'd rather have someone good instead.
You can follow Clare Thomas on Twitter at @clarebearthomas