My doubts ahead of deadline day

PUBLISHED: 19:00 30 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 10 September 2010

The Man In The Stands

BRACE yourself folks, transfer deadline day looms again. That frenzied time of year when Norwich City traditionally comes “very close” to signing a good player.

BRACE yourself folks, transfer deadline day looms again. That frenzied time of year when Norwich City traditionally comes “very close” to signing a good player.

In previous years some of us have even been sad enough - The Man included - to sit up until midnight refreshing a web page to see if we had done it.

To see if we had swooped for that “final piece of the jigsaw”.

It's always the “final piece” isn't it? That's what adds the drama, that's what gets the adrenaline pumping.

Whether it's a centre half, a right-winger or a striker, it's always that pivotal signing that will take us from being bang average to top six…

Last year's passing of the January transfer window was perhaps the most tortuous, as thousands of Norwich fans clung to the forlorn hope that we might be able to sign Tiny Taylor. We didn't.

And who could forget the emotional roller-coaster that was our pursuit of former Bristol City weakling David Rhys George Best Cotterill? We were so close, you could almost smell him.

Neil Doncaster even detailed a blow-by-blow account of how the deal was nearly done in his EDP column the next day; I nearly read it to the end, too.

Despite my best efforts, The Man will inevitably end up keeping an ear out for our transfer saga is unfolding on Monday, although I'm becoming something of a deadline day cynic these days (does it show?)

Our routine seems hauntingly familiar, and like a kid who waited up to 12pm to catch a peak of Father Christmas - only to find mummy and daddy putting out the presents - my belief (in our ability to do a major deadline day deal) has waned.

Of course, I have sympathy with the club over the way the transfer window has affected football: inflated prices, increased competition for players, clubs unwilling to sell due to a lack of a replacement, players not wanting to join a relegation-threatened club, etc…

And we did once swoop on deadline day for Robert Earnshaw, although it was only after a £7m cheque for Dean Ashton was banked.

But sadly, come the end of the season, it is points on the table that matter.

We won't get an extra 10 points for refusing to bid another £200,000 for Carlos Kickaball, sad as that may be.

Roeder was being honest yesterday when he said: “The difficulty is finding someone who really falls into the structure of the budgets that we work to. That is the bottom line. You have to face facts in life.”

He has admitted he's not been given much to spend, and the clubs that do make moves on deadline day are ultimately those that take a financial gamble.

Or rather, don't gamble on trying to get by without. Maybe the club will shock me and Iverson will turn up at Colney - Roeder said it is still in the balance - I just very much doubt it.

t TIME FOR A BRUCE BONUS

IT was great to see Bruce Rioch back in the big time (sort of) this week. His side, Aalborg, have made it to the group stages of the Champions League, where they have been paired with Man U and Celtic.

I thought Rioch was a very decent manager during his time here; but was severely hampered by bad injuries and a lack of funding.

I'm pretty confident he would have taken us to the play-offs one year too, had it not been for that savage assault by Kevin Muscat on Bellamy (legend).

Up until a couple of years ago it seemed that Rioch was intent on whiling away his time in Greens gym and coming to Norwich games - so it's great to see he's gone abroad and rekindled some success. Good luck Bruce, The Man will be cheering your boys on.

t THE Man was pleased to see that in these times of Climate Change the club continues to try and do its bit for the planet.

It would have been a shame if Jon Hartson's shirt had gone to landfill, so I was delighted to note that it has been recycled and rebranded to form part of the Carrow Road pre-match ritual, as seen on the pitch before the Spurs and Blackpool games.

Unlike some fans, The Man does not have a particular axe to grind with Hartson.

I thought he helped turn the game for us at home to the s**m, and his willingness to come on loan here showed his spirit was willing, even if his body was weak.

The fact that the club sanctioned paying thousands of pounds a week for a morbidly obese has-been was not his fault.

t FAREWELL TO A MASTER OF HIS ART

THE Man was devastated to read reports that Norwich's own Puppet Man was set to undertake his last street performance today.

He is one of my all-time favourite Norwich characters, up there with Marigold, the bloke with the ghetto blaster, the twins off the market, and John The Tramp, who used to hang about near the Cathedral.

Many is the time The Man has stopped in Gentleman's Walk to soak up the sheer entertainment that only a shaken puppet and random music can create.

I enjoy watching people's reactions to the performances as much as the bespoke shows themselves, it is just indefinable genius.

The Man recalls taking his other half on a tour of Norwich City centre for the first time a few years back, when I was forced to try and explain what the act was about.

“It's like the Muppets - only sexier” was my response. I'm not sure she bought it. So, if this really is the Puppet Man's last stand, all the best in the future Mr Perry. Norwich has got talent.

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