Chris Goreham: I have a funny feeling about Norwich City, but I won’t take it seriously just yet
PUBLISHED: 17:39 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:39 02 October 2017
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It’s difficult to ignore that warm, fuzzy feeling in the tummy that must be giving all Norwich City supporters a constant bright yellow Ready Brek glow after super September, but this is just what that dastardly villain that is the Championship wants to happen.
It’s impossible not to have been impressed by what the Canaries have achieved over the past few weeks. The results, record breaking defensive record and attitude of a group of players apparently determined to take this season by the scruff of the neck, was much needed because it has restored the faith which was being eroded very quickly by that awful August.
Supporters were understandably worried that this new-look Norwich City might be an experiment that was about to go terribly wrong before it had got going but, just as Daniel Farke had started to take criticism for that underwhelming beginning, he must be praised for finding a way of wrestling back control before too much love was lost.
Farke has done so well that he is a leading contender for the Championship’s Manager of the Month award for September. Before we get carried away with talk of the prize being ‘cursed’ it’s worth remembering that some superstitious supporters were fretting before the game against Reading when they realised that Norwich would not be wearing the famous yellow and green colours which had brought them such a good run in the previous six games. They wore black at the Madejski and proved that football strips are only as good as the players that happen to be wearing them.
There is some recent form that suggests Farke could do without that dubious honour on his new Norfolk mantelpiece though. Can you remember who won the Championship’s Manager of the Month award for September last year? Yes, it was Alex Neil. A fact the then City boss was keen to keep reminding us of when the going got very tough over the winter.
This time last year Norwich were top of the Championship and I wrote a glowing piece in this paper about how bullish we could afford to be having seemingly avoided the relegation hangover that engulfs so many teams when they drop out of the Premier League. It was a trap I should not have fallen in to. This division is at its most cruel when anyone starts to believe their own publicity. It was in the middle of October that City’s miserable season-destroying run of two wins in 13 matches began and eventually led to the massive overhaul that revolutionised Carrow Road over the summer.
If you want a more recent lesson in hubris then look no further than Josh Murphy.
“We knew it would take a bit of time to click but now we’re playing well and on a good run” – that was a quote from the City winger in the build-up to the 0-0 draw with Bristol City. There is nothing wrong with what he said, it’s all accurate, but just a few days later he was dropped from the side after having his attitude called into question by Farke.
That Murphy was back in the starting XI at Reading shows that the German is not a man to hold on to a grudge. It’s very important to give talented players the opportunity to make amends for their mistakes.
So, yes, I do have a funny feeling about Norwich City again and they deserve lots of praise for recent results, but I am refusing to get carried away. All this hard work has, after all, been good enough for ninth place in the Championship so there is much more to be done.
Anyway Daniel Farke can’t win Manager of the Month because he’s officially head coach and not manager. That should keep the curse at bay.
Fit for purpose
I have always thought that supporting a team which wears such distinctive colours is a good thing.
So many clubs have red or blue kits that whenever anyone wants to produce a birthday card, cartoon or game featuring non-specific football teams they always tend to go for The Reds v The Blues.
Having a splash of bright yellow and green makes any away ground look more inviting and helps to give Norwich City its own identity.
There are times when standing out in yellow and green isn’t comfortable, as I discovered last week when joining in with a fitness class for ladies near Fakenham.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am not a regular at these sort of events, the invitation to spend some time at Hempton Village Hall was unexpected and proved again that nothing has the capacity to surprise more than inviting listeners to take part in a radio phone-in.
It was while standing in for Nick Conrad on BBC Radio Norfolk’s Breakfast Show that we got talking about the importance of staying active and keeping fit.
One caller, Anna Marie, phoned to talk me through the sessions she runs, which include people right up to the age of 93. This was swiftly followed by an invitation for me to join them.
It’s very hard to think of an excuse when you are live on air so I accepted, thinking that it might make a good piece for a future show.
With thousands of people having heard me commit to the course and no room to back out Anna Marie casually mentioned that the class involves using pom-poms.
Yes, pom-poms. The sort of thing that can look good when being waved enthusiastically by cheerleaders in the NFL, but less impressive when being brandished by a reticent radio presenter with two left feet.
I turned up to find that two special pom-poms had been sourced for me, one was yellow and the other one was green.
I did my best to do those colours justice, but it’s safe to say that they won’t be seen at Carrow Road any time soon.