Tettey may have had a shocker but those booing City’s stalwart should be ashamed
PUBLISHED: 17:09 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:09 23 August 2018
When I first came to the Fine City to live back in spring 2016, I had no affiliation to Norwich City. I was just another fella who found himself in these parts for work.
But over the course of a season working with the club as the commentator and covering the club as a local radio reporter I gained a passion for the Canaries that will live with me for the rest of my life.
I wrote about that in the matchday programme towards the end of the 2016/17 season and mentioned how people here have a special quality that makes you feel part of a community and how they provide a welcome to you which exudes warmth, respect and kindness – feelings echoed by my compatriot John Kennedy in the most recent Pink Un magazine.
It has been a real source of pride for me to become part of that community and I am glad that I am now part of the yellow and green army. I would never change it.
But I felt ashamed for the first time on Wednesday night at the cacophony of boos which enveloped the stadium after an Alex Tettey backpass – which, anorak time, he did to change the emphasis of an attack from one side, which was congested, to the other, where there was more space – when the game was still deadlocked.
The 32-year-old was having a bit of a shocker as he admitted himself after the match and had not long before given the ball away in a bad area which allowed Preston to break away and come as close to scoring as they managed on Alex Neil’s return to Carrow Road.
The fans were also becoming frustrated as City were looking a bit ponderous when it came to getting the ball forward and pushing for the opener.
But there can be no excuse for that level of booing at one of your own or your own team generally.
At the exact same stage last season I preached the need for Canaries fans to have patience and that the new style of play being implemented at the club would demand that.
I was expecting to return to NR1 this season to find that, in general, the stadium would have more comprehension of the tactics Daniel Farke’s men use to unlock teams.
It turns out that there seems to have been very little of a move forward in that regard. The shouts of ‘get it forward’ and ‘stop messing around’ were almost as plentiful as a year ago.
There was a situation in the second half where substitute Emi Buendia had two men in front of him who were both marked, so he passed the ball backwards to a colleague behind him, which then allowed himself and the other two options further forward to move into space and become more available for a pass. The ball made its way to them fairly quickly after the recycling of the attack but still there were gasps of exasperation around me at the fact the attack hadn’t moved forward more quickly.
In microcosm, it was evidence of exactly why the team sometimes move the ball back to gain an advantage further up the pitch but it still seems a concept alien to many of the fans.
Tettey is a much-loved player in these parts and has been a great servant to Norwich City and he was also very, very hard on himself when fronting up to the press after the game – so whether the booing was aimed at him or the team’s style generally it’s not helpful.
He’s a professional and was so disgusted by his own performance he used multiple expletives to describe his performance to Chris Goreham and Michael Bailey.
Norwich players need our support and deserve it regardless of how the team is playing – they were admittedly fairly lifeless and insipid for large spells of the game – or the tactical approach which is being used.
Fans may not like the team’s current philosophy and may argue that it’s not effective but that’s a different discussion and still doesn’t excuse booing your own.
Credit to Farke too for the tactical changes (switching to a three at the back) which helped win the game. Once more he has shown good ability to adapt tactically in a match and Neil, a man who will not sprinkle praise on the opposition lightly, acknowledged that the German’s changes played a large part in turning the game.
That was vindication for Farke’s patience and then imagination. For Tettey, for just staying out there and being brave enough to keep going despite the struggles and subsequent criticism he faced, some vindication was found when he sealed the 2-0 win with a (left-footed!) howitzer which gave former Norwich man Declan Rudd no chance.
The big Norwegian was also spotted acknowledging the four corners of the ground after the game and then probably asked to talk to the press after the match so that he could put his view across.
That’s bravery and commitment right there.
Although the booing would probably be forgotten about by most of the fans after the game in the wake of a win, the player himself will no doubt use that as motivation to strive to do better moving forward.
When it comes to the patience side of things and staying on the side of the team, perhaps the guilty parties amongst the Carrow Road hordes could do the same.