October was full of thrills, spills and the usual Twitter meltdowns. Seb Ward takes a look back at a turbulent month for Farke and his boys in yellow.
It was the best of times (Ipswich). It was the worst of times (Wolves). It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. We had everything before us, (the playoffs, the title, the Premier League...the bloody Carabao Cup!), we had nothing before us. We were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way (fuck it, fuck it all, we’re going to be fucking relegated).
In short — Norwich City’s October was like most months in which Norwich play this curious sport called football. It had its thrills, its spills, its predictable unpredictability and the oh-you-know-it’s-coming, here-it-comes MELTDOWN. Norwich did what Norwich do best: convince you that the band is finally coming together only to turn up pissed at the make-or-break gig and forget the words.
It was all going so well: We rounded off September with a win away at Reading and were content to go into the break with eyes now only looking up. Hull at home provided the dress rehearsal for the derby, a game in which our scoring struggles bubbled violently to the surface. Meyler was a failure when he sent Wildschut falling — bye bye, see you later — bring on Lord Nelson we were calling. And after huffing and puffing and ultimately not scoring, we did: Aloe Vera came on to lubricate proceedings, flicking the ball past McGregor when his moment — our moment — finally came. Suddenly a loss became a draw, and that draw felt like a win.
Ipswich came next and with it the nerves, a gap that no longer needed minding, the sense that they were ‘due’ one. This was the backdrop for the derby no one but us cares about. Thankfully Maddison had his own ideas: “Hush now child”, he whispered, as he put the derby issue to bed and tucked it in for a long, cold winter.
As I say, it was all going so well. Then we went and played bloody Arsenal off the bloody park, and that bloody park just happened to be the Emirates bloody Stadium. For the first time in a long time, we looked like a Premier League team. Perhaps even more so than during our recent four years at the top. The defence was regimented and secure, the midfield lucid and forever running, and we carried a genuine threat on the break. More than that: our players played for the canary on the front of the shirt, and that pride was reciprocated by 9000 travelling supporters. Our German fourth-tier centre-back played the game of his career and looked liked he’d been doing it for years. Oh how we should have won.
Still: the feeling was good. The mood was optimistic. If we played like that in the league no one could touch us. No one.
“Er, Hamburg, we have ein problem.”
It all sort of went quite, well, quite wrong. Sure, Derby and Wolves were no easy opponents but we just didn’t show. Injuries left Farke with limited options up front and some below-par performances across the midfield set the tone — and it was off-key. It appeared the band were severely hungover from drinking too many Long Season Iced Teas.
Yet the issues appear to stretch further than just fatigue. Hoolahan and Maddison have still not quite worked how to play together. Jerome is like Harry Potter with a broken wand. Wildschut can only ever do one of the two: a) beat a man or b) put a good cross in. To achieve both would be to cause a fatal RAM failure. Our defence has also started to show its early season self in a new Gok Wan make-over show nobody asked for.
The clocks have turned back but we cannot turn back time. We must go boldly into the November darkness with a point to prove — and a few to gain — as 3pms begin to offer dramatic floodlit ends.
And so that was the month that was October. A month where we showed what we can be: brilliant and terrible, exciting and dull, threatening and totally impotent. A Tale Of Two Cities, indeed.