Things we sort of learned - Huddersfield (a)

If any further confirmation were needed that Norwich’s season is over, the trip to Huddersfield offered it in spades. Little Yellow Bird’s Northern Powerhouses Seb Ward and Zoë Whitford were there to witness eight minutes of carnage.

Let’s be honest, we haven’t had a decent clapper since Andy Hughes, not even the one that was lobbed at Chris Hughton. I wrote after the Barnsley game a few weeks ago about how impressed I was with the away side’s commitment to applauding their travelling supporters, even after defeat. 

At the end of this game, Cameron Jerome, seemingly livid, went straight down the tunnel. Hmm. Then Ryan Bennett did the same. Don’t even get me started. Russell Martin and Jonny Howson then rallied the troops, like the dutiful soldiers they are. I was most impressed with Alex Pritchard coming off the bench and daring to get closer than anyone else to the people who had travelled nearly 400 miles to watch a right hot mess, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders. Please, please, try and show that you care. It goes such a long way. ZW

The Alex Neil legacy has proven as damaging as the Alex Neil tenure. Last night was like a posthumous gallery of the Scot’s most-prized work with all his finest pieces on display. The frames didn’t fit, the paintings were peeling away, and the work was continually devaluing. ‘Is this art?’, I hear one onlooker say. ‘It’s certainly…abstract’, his friend returns. If abstract is just the art world’s polite replacement for ‘total plop’, then yes, Neil’s Magnum Opus — Ryan Bennett’s defending — was certainly abstract. 

‘On your left is Overrated Scotsman, although we’re not sure why that piece is there, and at the back is the aptly named Broken Defence.’ the tour guide explains, pointing to the various works hanging from the yellow and green walls. That defeat exposed all the imperfections, all the flaws and all the failings. Alex Neil, although not there last night, will forever remain the architect. That shall be his legacy. 

Gallery-goers now anxiously await the forthcoming exhibition on the Renaissance period. SW.

It was great to see a set of fans who were as absolutely thrilled about life as the Huddersfield supporters. Despite the ground not being full, the atmosphere was absolutely jumping from the start and it was a real reminder of the thrill of watching a fast-paced, attacking Championship side on top form. 

David Wagner’s white and blue army have taken their manager into their collective bosom, at one point they sang about him being ‘better than god’. There was a distinctly German vibe to the evening, with big flags, drums, songs, and one of those weird cheering jobbers at the end of the game. That famous Yorkshire wit can’t hide itself for long, though, and manifested itself in doing that loud shouts of ‘HANDBALL’ every time someone took a touch for about ten minutes after an NCFC appeal. 

And why not be happy, their team played an absolutely thrilling first half and capitalised on NCFC mistakes in the second to win convincingly. They’ll be a tough prospect in the play-offs. ZW

Peppered Perfection  
Few things make a spanking away from home less frustrating. Pies being sold for a pound, however, is one of them. That glorious taste belied what an inglorious night it was. A bliss release. A minor saving grace. Tasty enough to momentarily forget the night’s unfoldings, tasty enough to outweigh the guilt of it being my second of the night. Thinking back, I should have bought 20 and offloaded them to the happy Huddersfield hordes at £1.50, for it could have been the shrewdest bit of Norwich City business in years. SW.

All Change
Stuart Webber has got a job on his hands this summer, hasn’t he? There is much talk about a clear-out but he must also focus on the players who should stay. It has been Wes Hoolahan’s team for a while now, and rightly so, but from August it must belong to Jonny Howson. Make him captain, build the team around him, let him thrive. And tell Pritchard he is Wessi’s successor and make him feel wanted. Do it, Webbo. And a get a good head coach too. I think we’re going to need it. ZW