Chris Goreham: Why it’s becoming harder to commentate on the Canaries
A lot of hit television programmes try to cash-in on their popularity by swiftly following each series with a live tour.
From Strictly Come Dancing to Mrs Brown’s Boys it’s now possible to watch versions of many of your favourite television programmes on stage in a town near you. Norwich City’s first half performance at Bolton added to the suspicion that the Canaries may have been secretly taking a live version of Match of the Day’s Goal of the Month competition around the country this season.
When the shell shocked commentator from BBC Radio Manchester asked me in the queue for the half-time cups of tea at Bolton whether the first half had been Norwich’s best 45 minutes of the season it was difficult not to sound a little bit smug with a reply of “it was probably one of them” but the truth is that on several occasions since they hit their straps in the autumn City have taken a number of Championship rivals to the cleaners with 20 or 30 minutes spells of scintillating attacking football.
There’s real depth to the quality of City’s goals and I am finding it increasingly difficult to do justice to them during commentary.
Goal of the Month winners tend to come from two distinct categories.
The first is the long range thunderbolt that flies into the top corner. These explosive strikes are easy to get excited about on the radio because they are so obviously spectacular but they are so last season. James Maddison and Josh Murphy used to get those on a regular basis for City.
This season’s goals have mainly been from the second category of GOTM winners; great team efforts.
MORE: Six things we learned from Bolton win
The trademark Norwich City goal was summed up by their opener on Saturday. A series of quick and neat passes, a flowing move that went the length of the pitch before the ruthless Teemu Pukki is played in for what at first seems a relatively straight forward finish.
These goals are for the purists. If James Maddison and Josh Murphy are Little Mix or One Direction then the Buendia, Hernandez, Stiepermann and Pukki combination is more like Arcade Fire or Radiohead.
Just like bands that take a bit of thinking about to fully understand, many of this season’s Norwich City goals have needed two or three replays before their complexity and beauty truly sinks in.
Often it’s only been after matches when reviewing highlight videos online that I have realised how good some of City’s goals have been.
Many Championship grounds don’t provide action replays in the press box as a matter of course and when in full flow with a commentary it can be hard to remember exactly how long Norwich have had the ball before they eventually release the handbrake, glide through the gears and turn sustained possession into a well-crafted goal.
I don’t think to start counting the passes when Max Aarons or Jamal Lewis has the ball in the full back positions because it’s hard to foresee a goal scoring opportunity from there.
Bolton’s Phil Parkinson became the latest opposition manager to applaud City’s attack at the weekend, describing it as being of Premier League quality at times during that first half.
Perhaps we’ll get a chance to see how accurate that assessment is next season but before we can contemplate that it’s fun to live in the here and now, enjoy the moments and watch that yellow and green ‘Goals For’ column swell by the week.
If Norwich were in the Premier League they probably wouldn’t win Goal of the Month anyway. It would go to one of those lucky pot shots from 30-yards.