December 11 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, December 15, 2011
It may be something of a paraphrase but having heard it last week the sentiment sits well enough to be repeated.
• Grant Holt and Steve Morison – a quality Premier League strike force. Holty had five efforts against Newcastle: three on target, the other two went in. Morison had one chance and took it. You don’t get many opportunities in the top flight, but both are clearly taking them when they do come along.
• I didn’t realise it was Dan Gosling’s full Newcastle debut on Saturday – it’s been 18 months coming, and then the guy marks it with a calamitous pass and a red card. A memorable one, at least.
• Top lad, Sammy Clingan; decent player too – but one in serious danger of tasting Championship relegation for the second time in four seasons. The midfielder is out of contract in the summer – something tells me he’ll avoid the drop, even if Coventry don’t.
• Was it just me who found the legendary Toon Army a disappointment on Saturday? Maybe “Fortress” Carrow Road had something to do with it…
In the aftermath of Brazil’s 1982 World Cup exit at the hands of Italy – a game where a draw would have been enough for Telê Santana’s wonderfully talented squad to make the semi-finals – recently departed Socrates commented: “The point of the game isn’t to win, the point of the game is to play, to create – and we felt we did that today, even if we are going home.”
Quite simply, it is a footballing philosophy that doesn’t exist any more. Winning is officially everything – and it has been for some time.
One bugbear of mine has been the ridiculous burden of success or failure in football. Not necessarily the pain, but more so the reaction.
There was a time when a successful campaign didn’t have to include a major cup final or promotion; just like the fact relegation did not automatically consign fans to tortuous despair and the season as ‘failed’.
Moving up and down the divisions was something that happened. It freshened the fixture list every so often and provided new tasks and challenges for your team’s boss, coaches and players. It didn’t require sackings and departures to excuse the stain of the drop – something, we shouldn’t forget, that continues to happen to a healthy percentage of professional clubs every season. It’s just part of the competition.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist – or in any other generic position of intelligence, for that matter – to have a handle on why modern football is so far removed from such old school thinking.
The money now involved means financial stability is intrinsically linked to the division you reside – or in the very least, aim for. The continuity of teams and management isn’t what it was either. For most managers dropping out of the top flight these days, there seem to be two choices come the summer: walk to a better offer, or be chucked – sooner or later.
That is where we are. For some fans packing into grounds across the country, they are young enough for it to be all they know. And there is nothing wrong with that – so long as you make the most of the good times.
What has happened at Carrow Road over the last two seasons – and, on all evidence available, is continuing to happen – is something special. A rise and consistent effort that can be easy to take for granted. A level of football that could only be rivalled by a handful of spells in the Canaries’ long and varied history.
After all, at the moment Norwich City are both winning and creating. That is how special the last 28 months at Carrow Road have been.
• I appreciate there are many Socrates’ highlights on the web but it was one tenuous link from the Monty Python boys that made me smile, so for a bit of a laugh I hope you enjoy the video on this page…