Goals! Murphy twins! Captaincy issues! Naismith! Wes! Pinto madness! Exclamation marks! Zoë Whitford was at Ewood Park to watch Norwich's first opening day win for 637 years, and here is what she sort of learned
Days like these should be relished
Don’t take that win for granted: not every game this season will be so joyful. Norwich were full of quality, determined to prove a point and completely in charge. It was a thrill, especially after last season’s unstoppable drift into tedium. However, Blackburn were one of the least competitive Championship sides I have ever seen. The players were fighting among themselves after 30 minutes and Elliott Ward, clearly wanting to distance himself from the debacle, had a sit down and made someone take his place.
There must be good money to be had on Owen Coyle and his shorts/football socks combination being the first manager given the ol’ heave-ho.
Steven Naismith didn’t cover himself in glory in his first few months at the club. One good performance (and we still lost) and a lot of wasted effort didn’t win him many fans. Sometimes things just take time to settle – it was a big change for him and his family, and there were signs on Saturday that he’s going to be a very important player in this league. The combination of Wes and Naismith, with their little bodies and quick feet, was too much for Blackburn and will be a point of difference against most sides in the league. Wes is still wonderful, obviously.
The best twins since DeVito and Schwarzenegger
Jacob Murphy’s screamer set the tone for the day and sparked a chorus of “he’s one of our own” from the travelling fans. It’s been so long since a graduate of the youth system made it in the first team and we’ve become accustomed to seeing our young players toddling off to the lower reaches of the Scottish leagues every summer in a mass clear-out. The Norwich squad is not short of attacking midfielders and it would be a real achievement for one of the Murphys to establish a place in the team this season. The twins have been out on loan and obviously on high protein diets so they’re bulked, pumped, and ready to go. Can’t wait to see what more they can do.
One of the big talking points over the summer has been who’s going to captain the side and Alex Neil seems loath to confirm anything one way or another. The fact is though, that RMart is unlikely to start the majority of matches and someone’s got to pose with the mascots and ref at the start of the game. Saturday’s run of substitutions provided an insight into the Order of Things, though.
Many believed that the captaincy was a straight fight between Jonny and Timmy, and it was Jonny who led the team out at 3pm. However, when Howson was replaced by Mulumbu, the armband was chucked somewhat surprisingly to WES. Only when Wes went off did Timm Klose assume the captaincy. One to watch out for in coming weeks, especially if Jonny’s leg buggers up or something.
Pinto won’t be boring
In a passage of post-match interview that will surely be repeated countless times this season, Neil criticised Ivo Pinto’s positioning for Blackburn’s goal. He’s not one of life’s natural defenders. But, true to the pre-season musings of many a fan, what Pinto lacks in defensive nous he makes up for in a bonkers determination to leg it around the pitch. I watched him for about 10 minutes in the second half at Ewood Park just camped down the right wing, further forward than at least eight of his teammates. Eventually someone noticed him, passed him the ball and he Made Something Happen.
Total madness, but it’s going to be fun.
You can follow Zoë Whitford on Twitter at @zvfm2