Having been entirely carried away after the unimaginable draw at Craven Cottage and nervier-than-it-ever-should-have-been Cup victory, reality came along and smacked us all in the face this week. Clare Thomas was on hand to learn from the hard times.
Something’s come along and it's burst our bubble
Feel that whoosh of air? It’s Sunderland bursting our giant yellow and green balloon, Lewis Grabban holding the needle. Prick.
It’s no real shame it's burst; the size of the thing was getting out of control and the whole of Norwich had started to float away with it. Thankfully some of us were prepared and had packed parachutes, but a great number came crashing down to earth. Whatever the method of descent, we are all now back with our feet on the ground and that’s no bad thing. Let’s blow that balloon up a little more gently next time.
Whole new world
We all need time to get used to possession football and playing out from the defence, but it took approximately thirty-eight minutes before the first anguished cries of ‘JUST KICK IT’ and ‘PASS IT FORWARDS’ emanated from behind me in the Upper Barclay. In fairness, it's actually thirty-seven minutes longer than I thought they would last. Who says the fans aren’t patient?
Don't stop the music
I’m not convinced that our goal was actually real. The fans barely stood up, there was no music and the Big Screen couldn’t be bothered either. Ok, no-one really over celebrates an own goal when you are three nil down, but it was the absence of the music that truly confused me. Goal music at Carrow Road has accompanied the ball flying in the opposition’s net for as long as I can remember. It offers the reassuring confirmation we've actually scored as much as the score board does. Goal goes in, people celebrate and then the PA system cranks into action and we start bobbing and duh duh dur-hing along to the beat. It’s something that divided opinion, and many won’t miss it - but the absence of goal music is another new thing we have to deal with, and I’m not sure I’m quite ready.
One of the positives to take from the game was the performance of James Maddison, who seems to be channelling David Beckham circa 1998. Immaculate Brylcreem hair, and excellent set piece delivery; both remaining effortlessly perfect throughout. Unfortunately, the rest of the team were not used to the novelty of his Golden Balls and failed to get on the end of any of them. Something to polish up on the training ground.
Everything changes but you
The entire back line - bar Martin - is new. The Head Coach is new. The formation is new. Yet we still appear to be suffering the same old defensive woes. Inability to deal with set pieces, long balls over the top, crosses from the wings, a football moving towards them in general. Lapses in concentration and not doing the ‘small’ things has cost us yet again - yet these players had nothing to do with our previous issues. It's easy to say nothing has changed - but it has, and it's a little concerning. We appear to have fixed one problem - passing ability - and created a new one - heading the ball out. For all their proficiency in passing, it appears our (6ft 4 German) White Men Can't Jump.