Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Norwich City could well prove the death of me. Sitting in front of an Internet stream which tended to freeze at key moments I experienced the whole gamut of emotions as we led at both Everton and Wolves entering the final 10 minutes.
On both occasions it seemed that we were going to secure all three points, only for us to be pegged back late on, and then endure late scares in both matches, being indebted to the excellent John Ruddy in each and also the alertness of a linesman in the game at Molineux.
Perhaps it’s because of how close we had got to the finishing line that there have been comments about points being lost, but frankly, if someone had offered me two points from those two away games last Friday I’ve have snatched their hand off. Yes, we might have had six, but equally we could have come away with none at all.
Of course, it would be fantastic if we could start to keep clean sheets. It would also be great if we could kill sides off more effectively when we’re on top, but if we could do those things consistently we would be challenging for Europe, not seeking safety. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being ambitious but we can’t afford to get too far ahead of ourselves. In a nutshell, we have to learn to walk before we start to run, so, instead of worrying about what might have been, let’s enjoy, in fact revel in, what we’ve actually achieved.
The bottom line is that we all had that magical figure of 40 points in our minds at the start of the season. Not only have we already banked 21 of them with two home games to go before the season’s halfway point, but we have also played with a tremendous sense of style, with only Manchester City beating us with any comfort.
Personally I would hate to forego our attacking style in favour of dour 1-0 wins, although there obviously has to be a balance between flair and pragmatism. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be seeking to improve in any ways that we can, and the management team will certainly be working on that, but hopefully we can tighten up without losing the stylishness that makes Norwich City so special.
Paul Lambert will take nothing for granted, because he knows that the second half of the season will be harder. We are becoming better known and clubs will strengthen their squads in January, but let’s be honest, how many of us would not have taken the situation in which we currently find ourselves before a ball was kicked in August? Of course, the fact that the board have indicated that money will be available in the transfer window means that City’s squad should also be stronger, and we are all waiting eagerly to see who will be coming to join the existing players.
There is good news too on the injury front with Daniel Ayala playing again, James Vaughan starting his rehab in the States and Elliott Ward and Korey Smith training again to add to the spirit of bonhomie around the club.
However, with so much to be happy about I wouldn’t want to overlook the sad passing of the club’s head steward Pat Nelson, at whose recent funeral we were represented by our president, Roy Blower.
Finally, with the festive season around the corner and with it the prospect of two big games at Carrow Road all that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!