March 9 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 4, 2012
I was rubbish at physics at school but one thing I did learn from dear old Mr Bovill was about momentum.
That is something Norwich City have had in abundance in the past two years and nine months.
Ever since Paul Lambert rode in like a Scottish knight in shining armour – or should I say a black tracksuit with socks over his bottoms – the acceleration of success has built up.
Throughout the League One campaign the progression was timed perfectly. That created momentum for the fantastic season in the Championship which again was paced brilliantly.
And so the club began the return to the top flight on a roll with tails up and confidence high and has ensured a great season with the aim of survival achieved.
Mark Lawrenson rightly said on Match of the Day on Saturday that we have been “fantastic” during the campaign.
His sidekick Alan Hansen said we have “fallen off the face of a cliff” in recent weeks. Over the top perhaps but we are certainly in a bit of a rut.
Two wins in 11 games and three defeats on the spin, with 11 goals against and just that Andrew Surman strike against Man City to cheer, is demonstration of a poor run. Defensively there have been just too many easy openings for the opposition and if Arsenal are really hungry at the Emirates it could get messy. So back to the M-word.
Next season will be even tougher than this one has been.
Yes, we will have a year of experience in the top flight and hopefully a decent amount of money will be spent on strengthening before August.
However, other sides will take City more seriously.
Those top eight will always be tough and it may be even harder against them – and that is daunting when we have only picked up 10 out of a possible 45 against the big boys. The reason we have survived this season is that we have won the battles against our real rivals – those teams around us.
PL’s men have picked up 33 out of a possible 60 and a win over Villa would make that 36 from 63. Pretty impressive.
I see no difference next term and therefore it is crucial we better them again. And that emphasises why momentum is so important. You can bet your life that all three promoted sides will be on a real high.
The teams who survive will also have a bounce to take them forward.
So there aren’t too many who you would predict will start August in bad spirits, especially if the owners splash the cash.
Therefore, I see the two final games and the close season as absolutely vital for City.
Get some more points on the board and tighten up the defence and repeat some of our best displays and we will walk out of Carrow Road on May 13 in good heart.
If the rumours over PL can be quashed and he can be given a secure future at Carrow Road and he does his usual trick of making early summer signings, then I believe that will give crucial good momentum to kick on.
If the poor run and flat performances continue and the gossip over Lambert carries on and deals can’t be done, then I fear for our ability to make a strong start.
Finally, my column in the week after the Villa game will be my last of the year so I want to some special awards to cap off the campaign.
I will be developing my “of the weeks” in to some “of the season” – and I want your help to come up with the winners.
There have been many memorable moments over the last nine months and lots of choices.
Who is your hero, what has been the funniest thing during the season, who has been the villain, what has been your highlight, and what is your best prediction for next season?
Please let me have your thoughts by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @ianclarke41 or you can send me a message on Facebook.
• Hero of the week: He rightly got the biggest applause of the day from City fans when he went on to the pitch at half-time on Saturday. Craig Richardson lost half his leg when he was hit by an explosion in Afghanistan. But despite that he ran the London Marathon for the Norwich City Community Foundation – and completed it in a superb time of five hours 46 minutes. True hero.
• Villain of the week: Whoever picked us for more live TV coverage gets my vote as this week’s boo boy. I just can’t understand why we have such a poor record when the live cameras are in. After all, every match City play in now has countless cameras dotted around the ground. But there seems to be something which triggers off-days when it is being beamed out to the world.
• Highlight of the week: Each season there are certain landmark moments which stick in the mind. And for me 1.51pm on Sunday April 29, 2012, is one of them. I got in my car on a really wet and miserable afternoon – but at that moment I switched the radio on and Fernando Torres scored his second and Chelsea’s fourth to all but confirm victory over QPR and ensure our safety.
• Funniest moment of the week: The Carrow Road steward who snubbed the Suarez handshake provided a hilarious moment on Saturday. It even got mentioned on Match of the Day – and from the coverage this season, that steward has had more air time than some City players.
• Prediction of the week: I think the Championship play- offs will be a right old good scrap this year. I predict Cardiff will overcome West Ham after a spicy couple of games; so often the team in third falls at the crucial hurdle). The Bluebirds will then play Blackpool at Wembley. I think Brum’s European adventure will catch up on them. And yes, little Ollie will triumph and will be back in the big time. Cue plenty of comedy moments next year.