Double distress at Robins' Carrow raid

PUBLISHED: 18:27 14 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:04 10 September 2010

The Man In The Stands

THE MAN is not sure what got on his wick more last weekend: Andy D'Urso's performance or getting outplayed by Bristol City again. As we are not Man U, we cannot aspire to influence who referees our games, but you would have hoped someone in the equally useless institutions of the Football League and Football Association would have realised that Norwich v Bristol was not the most suitable game to reintroduce Mr D'Urso to the Norfolk fold.

THE MAN is not sure what got on his wick more last weekend: Andy D'Urso's performance or getting outplayed by Bristol City again.

As we are not Man U, we cannot aspire to influence who referees our games, but you would have hoped someone in the equally useless institutions of the Football League and Football Association would have realised that Norwich v Bristol was not the most suitable game to reintroduce Mr D'Urso to the Norfolk fold.

Yet lo and behold he appeared, and gave the sort of decisions many of us predicted as soon as we saw his name on the back of the programme.

Given his humbling this week by the appeals' panel, you would hope we've seen the last of D'Urso (I can guess what the abbreviated D stands for) for a while, although The Man wouldn't bet against him being given a play off game between us and Bristol in a few years time.

Forgive me that flight of fancy by mentioning the phrase plays-offs…

As for the Bristol game, during the first 45 minutes I thought we were playing Puskas' Magical Magyars, rather than a team recently promoted from League One.

For a Championship side they passed the ball brilliantly, and looked like they could create a goal-scoring opportunity every time they entered our half.

Possession plus penetration: something Glenn Roeder, despite all our “magnificent” performances, could only get 50 per cent right most of the time.

So that's five times in a row the mighty Robins have beaten us. And it's 12 points they've collected off us since they came back up.

Two nice away days for their fans at Carrow Road too…

Our second-half display at least hinted at some tactical nous from our management team; as I must admit The Man thought Fotheringham was quite possibly the worst player on the face of this planet to bring on in the situation we found ourselves in. But we did okay, and might have scraped a draw.

A word too for Crofty.

If every player puts in a shift like that between now and the end of the season we'll have half a chance.

A heart as big as a dustbin lid that lad.

t AHEAD of the game at Deepdale, the league table (if you could dare look at it) had taken on an added wince factor.

When The Man heard the Barnsley manager on Sky's Big League Weekend on Friday evening saying they'd have three games in hand on us by 5pm today, I squirmed a little more than usual.

Regardless of the result at Preston, and like everyone else I will have been praying for a miracle, the next two games are absolutely crucial. Critical.

We simply have to take six points from the home fixtures against Burnley and Coventry.

A tall order; but not as tall an order as trying to fight our way out of League One next season.

So even if you are as disheartened (yet unsurprised) as The Man about the dire situation we find ourselves in again, we simply have to get behind the team for these games. Big time.

We've been here before and pulled the team over the line; we'll have to try and do it again.

If you are still not up for it, let me offer you a Doomsday scenario by way of motivation. April 25th: our last home game of the season against Reading.

Imagine two thousand face-painted Reading fans celebrating the return of their tinpot little club to the Premiership after relegating us to League One.

For good measure, let's say our old pal Leroy Lita came off the bench to get the winner.

Please. God. No. Kick it off!

OTBC

t A LOT LESS THAN PICTURE PERFECT

NORWICH City's squad will meet at Colney on Monday to take part in a squad photo shoot.

For £150, supporters have been offered the chance to take part in the line-up too.

Still, it makes a change from the club paying the loan fee doesn't it?

Given the now ridiculous turnover of players at Colney it is entirely appropriate that some new squad photos should be taken in February.

Every month would perhaps be more apt…

In the old days, when we had the glorious luxury of owning our players, a photo shoot in the summer used to suffice.

But these days the Canary calendar, that hardy stocking filler, is often out-of-date by the time you get to Mr March.

“Is that the bloke we had on loan from Grimbsy, or is Henville of Troy?”

Much to one family member's disappointment, I actually banned the purchase of the Canary calendar as a Christmas present about three years ago, as it was becoming more like a trip down memory lane than a way of working out what day it was.

I do concede though that this year's calendar might at least afford some fans a chance to see what OJ Koroma and Troy looked like.

I assume at least one of them is on it? Surely the “lovely little mover” is featured?

Indeed, even the recent season ticket mailshot we all received, which set a new world record for the number of times the phrase “great fans” was mentioned in the same document, has found itself quickly out-dated.

David Bell's interview in which he says he's “determined” to reward the Norwich fans looks a bit silly now, while the “Pride of Anglia” poster featuring Aturo Lupoli is already looking a bit dusty.

Success has always been built on consistency (The Man is not criticising anyone's commitment).

So is it really any surprise we have struggled so much in recent years when our players don't know who they will be lining up with from one week to the next?

Loans may be cheaper than paying transfer fees, but it has cost us in the long run.

You could call it profligacy without intuition, Mr Doncaster.

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