December 7 2013 Latest news:
Roberto Mancini congratulates Carlos Tevez after his hat-trick at Carrow Road despite the Manchester City boss insisting the striker would not play for the club again earlier this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
When Carlos Tevez emerged from the Carrow Road tunnel for a post-match interview on Saturday I could barely disguise my scowling face.
It’s the sort of reception I reserve for any player brassy enough to score a hat-trick in our own backyard but just because it was him I did my best to summon up the sort of glare I usually only bring out when I am cut up at a roundabout or short changed by a shop keeper.
Tevez made his presence felt all afternoon and this continued after the game. His interview, which I think was with Manchester City’s own in-house TV channel, was being conducted a good 20 yards further up the touchline from where I was standing but I could still smell his aftershave.
When you earn as much as him I suppose you can afford to splash it all over even more than Henry Cooper used to with his bottle of Brut. Perhaps it explains why he has this knack of getting away from defenders and finding space on the pitch. They fear being overcome by fumes.
If this all sounds rather bitter, that’s because it is. Tevez’s hat-trick was (and I’m gritting my teeth as I write this) well taken but it was also extremely galling.
Having praised Norwich City all season for their spirit, attitude and approach to the Premier League, here was a bloke who flies in the face of all that has been good about the Canaries’ successful top flight return enjoying his own emphatic success.
The Argentine striker did not play at all for Manchester City between September and March this season after flouncing back to his homeland. It all started when he apparently refused to warm-up and prepare to go on as a substitute in a Champions League game at Bayern Munich which City were losing.
“Unforgivable” barked the procession of ex-players and managers asked for their opinion by newspapers, radio reporters and TV channels. Roberto Mancini, the very same manager who picked him on Saturday, said at the time that he would never play for the club again.
Since then Manchester City have fallen behind big rivals United in the title race and were struggling to score goals away from home.
Football is fickle enough to regularly remove the U and the N from the start of ‘unforgivable’ and there he was, with the Carrow Road sunshine warming the back of his neck, helping to hammer a set of players who have been ready whenever their manager has needed them this season.
The Premier League’s prominence of prima donnas would be enough to make one fall out of love with the game if it wasn’t for life affirming results like Norwich’s win at Spurs eight days ago. It was proof that it is possible for the good guys to win and that sheer determination and honest hard work can sometimes get the better of all that cash.
It’s worth committing the front six that Spurs had on the field for the final quarter of that game to memory. The day Norwich kept Lennon, Modric, Van Der Vaart, Bale, Defoe and Adebayor quiet is a story that should be kept up the sleeve to be passed down through generations of Junior Canary to come.
Let’s just all agree to say “Do you know sonny, I can’t remember.” if they ever ask “Wow. And how did Norwich do in their next game?” It’s either that or pretend the hearing aid isn’t working.
Carlos Tevez is undoubtedly a great talent, when he wants to be. It doesn’t matter how much I grumble or scowl about his colourful career to date.
At the end of his interview on Saturday he wandered back down the tunnel with the match ball tucked under his arm. This was a rare occasion in which Tevez was in the right when he picked up his ball and took it home.
• WHERE WILL BENNETT BE IN 2023? WITH CITY HOPEFULLY
Saturday was the 11th anniversary of Norwich winning 1-0 in a game at Tranmere Rovers. It’s ok, I’m not that sad. It was mentioned in the programme for the Man City game.
Granted, as results go it’s not exactly up there with winning at White Hart Lane but it felt almost as big at the time. A fine solo striker from defender Brian McGovern (no, I don’t know what happened to him either) was enough to secure a victory and make Norwich City mathematically safe from being relegated from Divisione One (as it was then, the Championship now).
Nigel Worthington had taken over as manager part-way through that season and started his own revolution which would eventually see the Canaries back in the Premier League. McGovern came on as a sub in that game on the hour, replacing Adam Drury. It was Drury’s fourth appearance for the club since signing from Peterborough.
The year 2012 must have seemed like some mysterious far-off world to those of us who were at Prenton Park that day. We might have thought that by 2012 we’d all be travelling to away games on special hyper-speed hover boards or holidaying on the moon. It turns out we’ve been badly let down by the progress of technology. We certainly would not have guessed that any of the Norwich side from March 2001 would still be at the club that far into the future. Five full-time managers, a play-off final, three promotions and two relegations later Adam Drury is still performing remarkably well for the Canaries.
He deserves a good night when Celtic visit Carrow Road for his testimonial next month. That sort of consistent, dedicated service doesn’t happen very often now and is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Drury’s City career must have coincided with the most eventful decade in the club’s history, given all those ups and downs.
Coincidentally last Saturday defender, Ryan Bennett, made his fourth appearance for the club since signing from Peterbrough. The early signs are that Norwich have unearthed another defensive gem from the same club which also sold us Russell Martin in 2009. No pressure Ryan, but I wonder what we’ll all be doing in 2023?