FOOTBALL IS BACK with the highly anticipated fixture of Norwich vs Barnsley. The Little Yellow Birds are also back to talk about things mostly unrelated to it.
Has anyone ever needed an international break as much as our shattered, injured, out of form team did two weeks ago? Well, they got what they needed, but now it’s back to business. We’ve had a go at guessing things.
Barnsley, that rough-and-tumble group of Yorkshire lads, are the visitors to Carrow Road this Saturday. Nestled against the comforting bosom of local boy and former Canary Paul Heckingbottom, the Tykes overachieved in the first two thirds of last season before bringing things to a climax in a more subdued manner.
This year, after a difficult start to the season, things have started to pick up. Two wins in the last two matches have promoted Barnsley to 16th in the Championship, a remarkable position for a club forced to sell its best players and in no position to find like-for-like replacements. Adam Hammill, at 29, is comfortably the oldest player in a very young squad now without the recognisable names of Hourihane, Winnall and Scowen.
Both sets of fans will be waving hello to a former player this weekend. Marley Watkins was a fan favourite at Oakwell and no doubt it will be tugging at the resolute northern heartstrings of the men in red shirts when they see him gleaming in yellow and green.
Cam McGeehan is an interesting phenomenon, a player with immense popularity at Carrow Road despite never having played a minute of first team football. That penalty and subsequent FA Youth Cup win will live long in the memory, however, and McGeehan should receive a heartwarming reception. If Norwich lose, no doubt there will be many grumbles about how we should have kept hold of him from the crowd’s most knowledgeable and authoritative voices.
Can Farke’s men start afresh this weekend and try and rediscover their form, composure and long-lost goalscoring touch? Or will home form continue to elude them? Will a win cheer everyone up? Prediction: the answers to these questions are a mixture of yesses and nos.
One of Barnsley’s most famous fans is omnipresent former cricket umpire Dickie Bird. The statue of Dickie in Barnsley town centre, where he is depicted raising a finger to dismiss an invisible batsman, was raised to 5ft above the ground in 2013. This was to stop local scamps hanging various rude items from the aforementioned protruding finger, including bras, pants and prophylactics.
ZW: Surely we can’t lose another one? I’m hoping that the whole team has spent the last couple of weeks sat drinking tea and eating Tunnock’s caramel wafers in a bid to rediscover both energy and raison d’être. Everything’s not lost, but we need a decent run of form ahead of the Christmas period.
Zoë Assumes: 2-0 to the mighty yellows.
RJ: We return to non-Fortress Carrow Road after an international break which followed a chastening run of three consecutive defeats. Normally I’d be champing at the bit to get back and watch the boys. But what’s been on offer at home recently has been so dull and samey that, like a man with erectile disfunction, I’m finding it very difficult to get myself up for this one. I hope the team are able to rise to the occasion though. We can’t afford to be soft if we want to avoid anymore embarrassing flops. We need to stand up, proud, heads held high. We certainly have to be better in the box. Something, something penetration etc.
I am cheered by the fact that Barnsley haven’t won at FCR in 80 (Eighty) years. They may fancy their chances at (n)FCR though. They are bang mid-table like us, so I expect a tight game with the odd* goal winning it.
Rich reckons: I feel it will be us that scores that odd goal. Viagra Boys 2 - Viagra Falls 1
*Odd as in not even, not as in peculiar. I just can’t see CamJam scoring. Boom-boom!
CT: The last time we had a Farke-ing disaster before an international break everything changed for the better upon the subsequent resumption of football we actually care about. I'm hoping that (Paul)Daniel(s) has waved his magic wand again and ABRACADABRA!
England's new no.3, and Maddison, will return full of confidence from their England exploits, and Ivo’s nose has been sorted so he can breathe- all very important factors. The best player never to have played for us returns to Carrow Road but I'm hoping the best* player ever to have played for us shows him how it’s really done and leaves the crowd rocking. In a dancy, happy, rather than slightly hysterical way.
Clare Calculates: Vorsprung durch Technik. Or something like that. 2:1 to the Yellows
SW: Eighty years is a very long time. Just think about what’s happened in that period: a world war; a dog in space; a wall; a wall falling; a Michael Jackson nearly dropping a baby off a balcony.
To mark the length of time in which Barnsley haven’t beaten us at Carrow Road, I’ve done a bit of googling. It turns out that an 80th anniversary is apparently an ‘Oak’ Anniversary.
But this is where it gets SCARY. Barnsley’s football ground is called OAKwell. I know, I know, I couldn’t comprehend it either. This is totally messed up. They’re guaranteed to win.
Seb Foresees: Our predictions are rarely correct so this week I decided to say fuck it and totally suspend logical grounding. Thus I present you my prediction: Nozza 1, OakyTeamy 0.