Like 10 seasons rolled into one

PUBLISHED: 15:54 22 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:29 10 September 2010

The Man In The Stands

This has been a truly bizarre season. We've gone more than ten hours without a goal, we've been rock bottom, we've gone 13 games unbeaten, we've reached the fringes of the play-offs - and now, ahead of today's game, we were back in a relegation scrap again.

This has been a truly bizarre season. We've gone more than ten hours without a goal, we've been rock bottom, we've gone 13 games unbeaten, we've reached the fringes of the play-offs - and now, ahead of today's game, we were back in a relegation scrap again.

It's almost as if we are trying to pack a whole decade of seasons into one, the ultimate “multi-emotion” campaign.

The Man recalls how, in a fit of supreme escapism, I texted a pal the line “We are going up!” after Ched smashed that winner into the top corner in Cardiff.

I never believed it, but I revelled in the fact I could get away with saying such a statement in the same season as Wolves away - the most inept performance I have ever seen.

Yet with the tiresome inevitability that all followers of average football clubs come to expect, it is now relegation we are looking at rather than promotion.

This is not a criticism of Team Roeder; to go from being marooned at the bottom, to being in a nine-way battle to avoid the third relegation spot is no mean feat.

We would have all settled for that.

The Man thinks that in some senses the fans have been as guilty as the players in terms of switching off in recent weeks. We allowed ourselves to get drunk on the notion of fighting for a play-off place, while teams like Preston and Blackpool just kept picking up results too. Both at Carrow Road and away from home we need to make sure that we rediscover our voices, and give this team one final push over the line.

The last thing we need is to be going to Sheffield Wednesday on the last day of the season needing anything. Because lest we forget, the last time this club went into the last game of a season needing a result, it lost 6-0.

IS THIS A MIRACLE?

The Man is not big into his conspiracy theories, but what a startling coincidence that the Big Four should all play each other on the Easter weekend…

It's almost as if this league is so predictable they could tell who was going to be in the top four when they drew up the fixtures this summer…

At least that's one thing you can say about our league, the top of it sure as hell does not look like many thought (and hoped) it was going to.

I suppose it's just as well a Watford v Stoke Aussie Rules match was not earmarked as part of an Easter extravaganza anyway.

SOMETHING TO CHEW OVER

The whispers at Norwich Airport are that we should expect to have a new sponsor on our shirts next season.

As far as The Man understands, Flybe will not be renewing their deal with the club, so we'll be looking for a new firm to step in.

With Delia's return to our TV screens this is the perfect opportunity for a food giant to step in and give us a wad of cash.

After recent recipes, how about an instant mash potato company?

Maybe even the iconic instant brand “Smash”, which is made just up the road in Histon, Cambridgeshire? A good, local firm - right up Delia's street.

Taking it one step further we could even experiment with playing a couple of the Smash Martians (you remember the adverts) next season when the squad gets really thin...

WHEN LIFE'S A BEACH

Glenn Roeder said after the Sheffield United game: “It is so important that we get this job done.

“We had a meeting for about an hour today in the dressing room and I said, 'lads, six weeks ago it was like we picked up a great big hand of sand up from the beach - and you are starting to let the sand slip through your fingers and we have to close our fingers again bloody quick here.'

An apt metaphor for the boss to use after the seemingly sedative effect of that trip to Spain last month…

There is, of course, another obvious reason for our recent slump: the absence of Darel Russell.

For any team to succeed in this league a basic requirement is to have a player of his ilk.

He earns you a foothold in the game, and from there you can go on and play. We simply cannot afford to lose Rusty again this season.

AMNESIA HITSTOWN FANS

A couple of **** fans whom The Man has the deep displeasure of knowing this week criticised Glenn Roeder's use of the loan market.

This criticism was heightened by the fact GR managed to beat Magilton to the signature of **** target Maceo Rigters.

“Do you actually own any players anymore? Or do you just borrow them from other people?” was the general jibe.

Loans may not be ideal, but as we all know, our poorly-supported Suffolk friends do have very short memories.

The last time we played at the Norwich Union Arena the ****'s team featured no fewer than five loan players: Michael Pollitt, Matthew Bates, Gary Roberts (on loan at the time), Simon Walton and Jon Macken.

Or to put it another way, half a team.

For anyone who missed it, the **** tried to console themselves with the fact Rigters chose us instead by claiming they had “set their sights higher”.

This involved an embarrassing attempt to get Darren Bent back, which ended in this same humiliating exposure of Magilton's naivety as the failed Nugent deal.

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