Spud Thornhill: Sometimes special players need a bit of patience from Canaries fans

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 September 2018

Canaries legend Ian Crook was a top player who could sometimes test the patience of fans Picture: Archant library

Canaries legend Ian Crook was a top player who could sometimes test the patience of fans Picture: Archant library

Archant

Back to the action at Carrow Road today for the visit of Tony Pulis’s Middlesbrough, where both clubs have had contrasting starts to the season.

Moritz Leitner has the potential to create special moments for the Canaries 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesMoritz Leitner has the potential to create special moments for the Canaries Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

I’m sure there are many Boro fans who will be buzzing because of their start, whilst there will be many Canaries fans who’ll be all doom and gloom after ours.

We have been able to avoid the Canary doom and gloom for the last two weeks by having the international break. Like many guarantees in life, there’ll always be some football fans who appear a bit doom and gloom even when Norwich aren’t playing. Yet again, I’m seeing the similarities of Norwich and England, both on and off the pitch.

After the high of a successful World Cup, and some people thinking we could be world beaters to the low of losing to Spain last week meant those doom and gloom merchants were out again.

Whilst listening to Talksport earlier in the week, it was like listening to some of the callers on Canary Call after a City defeat. One caller was complaining about the lack of flair players in the current England squad (like Paul Gascoigne) on the pitch and saying how Jordan Henderson provides nothing to the team.

After stopping laughing, I just wondered if the caller was a Norwich fan.

Whilst listening, I started thinking to myself and comparing what’s happening with England to what’s going on at Norwich. As a person who was brought up on Gascoigne whilst watching England, and more importantly Ian Crook at Carrow Road, I do miss these types of footballers.

I miss watching Chippy Crook pinging a ball to the other end of the pitch and landing it on a sixpence, slipping the ball through to players like Mark Bowen who would then slot the ball home or lining the ball up to score a classic top-corner goal from a free kick. Then there was Gazza, one of the most exciting non-Norwich City players I had the pleasure to watch and another player who could provide magic out of nothing.

Whilst it was great watching Chippy or Gazza, there was plenty of times Chippy went missing in games and was not a player who would be the first to go in for a tackle, whilst Gazza could sometimes make some crazy decisions which could lead to being sent off or being injured far too often.

In the 1980s and 90s, these players were more often than not the first name on the team sheet, but I don’t think these types of players would be guaranteed a start these days as they are not guaranteed to contribute to the game enough.

Sadly we don’t see the Gazzas and Crooks of this football world like we use to. And yes I think the game is worse for it. But I suppose that’s another sign of modern day football. The days of some players only needing to create one piece of magic in a game are long gone, and that includes Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi before anyone asks.

This leads up to me saying why players like Mario Vrancic and Moritz Leitner are needed more than some fans may think. Last season it was Vrancic and this year it’s Leitner. The overall play from players like these two are going to be far more effective than a flair player.

The longer last season went on, the more we saw the true Vrancic play coming out and I honestly believe it will happen with Leitner this season. It appears their reputation when they arrived here has had an effect on their play.

The possession and patience game that is required these days in football will be needed and I believe players like Vrancic and Leitner will pay dividends, which was proved last time out at Portman Road with Leitner’s first goal in yellow.

In today’s game against Middlesbrough (in true Tony Pulis style) they will be sitting back hoping to catch us out but if you find yourself feeling frustrated with Leitner try to be patient, he may be more important than we think.

Unfortunately Boro are yet to concede a league goal since the opening day of the season, so today fellow Canaries, please be patient towards the City, and hopefully we can break the Middlesbrough defence down.

Come on City!

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