Norwich City A-Z: B is for bloopers - look away now, Ricky
PUBLISHED: 14:18 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 12 June 2018
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Norwich City's transfer business is starting to move through the gears. One of the club's biggest ever signings features in our alternative Canaries' alphabet. Paddy Davitt looks at B ... for bloopers.
Loris Karius’ Champions League nightmare merely reinforced the maxim those who opt to use their hands instead of their feet to entertain have a streak of madness.
It takes a special breed to set yourself apart in the full glare of an unforgiving public and a caustic social media.
Different kit, different rules to your outfield colleagues and surely that ever-present fear every mistake has the potential to be so costly - given the close proximity to the goal.
Separate the more sobering medical sub-plot that emerged suggesting the German may have been suffering from concussion when he was embarrassed by first Karim Benzema and then Gareth Bale and Karius will forever be synonymous with two of the highest profile ricks in the game.
Bloopers can be hellish or comedy value in equal measure - depending on whether it is one of your own involved.
You do not have to scratch the temples for too long to remember a number of City goalkeeping gaffes.
Bryan Gunn’s air kick at Portman Road gets dredged up every time those across the border strive for some hope in the midst of a wretched run of derby despair.
Gunn had plenty of fantastic days in the green and yellow but a bobbling pitch that saw Rob Ullathorne’s intended back pass appear to levitate above his right boot after hitting a divot and roll into the unguarded net is also part of the Scot’s legend.
Given Gunn was responsible for attracting Grant Holt to Carrow Road, who seemed to make it his personal mission to inflict regular misery on the Tractor Boys, we know who had the last laugh.
In the interests of balance, lest we forget former Ipswich loan keeper David Stockdale flying through the night sky at Carrow Road, not once but twice, to deflect Alex Pritchard strikes back over the goal line after they had cannoned against his woodwork.
Stockdale may wish to point out he was behind a Brighton defence which had just gone up under Chris Hughton, albeit he departed swiftly to Birmingham before getting a chance to stake his claim in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old was mercilessly mocked by home fans as he hauled himself to his feet with the dawning realisation he had notched the most bizarre double blooper.
Robert Green collected any number of routine long range strikes with a modicum of fuss in front of the Barclay.
But in arguably the biggest match of his life, Green patted a speculative shot from Clint Dempsey into the net during England’s opening World Cup group game against the USA in South Africa.
The by then West Ham United stopper was dropped for the next match after setting the tone for a depressing Three Lions’ campaign under the authoritarian rule of Fabio Capello. Green earned just one more cap for his country in a friendly against Norway two years later.
Yet the embarrassing gaffe is not the sole preserve of the last line of defence. Russell Martin and much more recently Christoph Zimmermann had cause to look around in terror as intended back passes were ruthlessly punished.
Martin’s came as he turned back into his own half in that bizarre 5-4 Premier League affair against Liverpool in January 2017 that was perhaps the first and last time Steven Naismith threatened to leave a favourable impression.
Zimmermann’s ‘blind’ pass on the final day of last season got the treatment from Fernando Forestieri in a 5-1 hammering made all the more sour by the sight of James Maddison in all probability waving goodbye propped on a pair of crutches to support a damaged knee.
But no sideways look at moments Norwich City players would rather forget could be complete without Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s ‘ghost’ pass against Fulham in Neil Adams’ first match in temporary charge following Hughton’s departure.
We all know the back story.
The Dutch international’s arrival was a statement of intent, the striker to fire the Canaries to the next level in the Premier League.
It unravelled alarmingly after that opening day header against Everton in 2013.
To the point where van Wolfswinkel’s lacklustre offerings induced a degree of sympathy from a support who by the time he appeared at Craven Cottage knew was not the answer.
There was one ignominious twist left in a season that started so promisingly when he drove at Brede Hangeland deep inside the Fulham area and then rolled the ball back for the imaginary overlapping full back. The Cottagers cleared with ease.
It was meant to be all so different.