We need those travel pills

PUBLISHED: 16:19 16 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:39 14 September 2010

Following our disappointing trip to Coventry last weekend I have just sent two emails, to Chris Kamara and a well-known high street chemist respectively:

Dear Chris, I am writing to seek reassurance that you did not secretly award the August Manager of the Month award to Nigel Worthington instead of Cardiff manager Dave Jones.

Following our disappointing trip to Coventry last weekend I have just sent two emails, to Chris Kamara and a well-known high street chemist respectively:

Dear Chris, I am writing to seek reassurance that you did not secretly award the August Manager of the Month award to Nigel Worthington instead of Cardiff manager Dave Jones. It's just that our performance at Coventry suggests you did - either that or you have a voodoo doll of our Nigel that you stuck multiple pins into when you were bored last Friday evening!

Dear High Street Chemist (named after things on my feet in winter!), I am writing to apologise for buying up your entire stock of travel pills (including herbal) in the East of England this past weekend. It's just that I know some people - well my football team if I'm honest - who need to take said items on a regular basis if they are to stand any chance of returning to Norfolk with a heartening three points stashed on the team bus! If you could replenish your stocks asap I would be eternally grateful! I have a feeling we might be needing them!

So, Saturday 9th September was a 'blip', and in terms of this season's performances, home and away, you could argue that indeed it was, but it really depends on your definition of 'blip' doesn't it?

If you go with one given meaning as 'a brief upturn in something' then god help us if we ever experience a downturn on our travels! However, if you accept the explanation 'proceeding in short, irregular jerking movements' then you might be nearer the truth as that is what we seem to be doing again so far as progress through this season and up/down the table is concerned. (Granted it is much better to be starting from higher up than last season though!)

Another alternative talks of obvious constant bleeping sounds and/or spots of light on radar screens, and thoughts of more expletives in away dressing rooms being bleeped out à la Neil Warnock and the possibility of robots answering to the press in post-match conferences come to mind as befitting such an electronic environment.

Joking apart, I suppose that what was really meant was 'anything small' or 'a brief interruption' representing something out of the norm. The trouble is, although the performance may well have been 'out of the norm' measured against this season's overall standards, all City fans would have to think back quite some way to think of a time when away form wasn't something of an issue!

So what is the cause of our malaise of recent seasons? Distance to travel and time spent on the road? Well surely not as so many trips involve flights out of and into Norwich, and the London and East Anglian trips are not much more than a couple of hours by coach. And definitely not the lack of support in enemy stadia for Norwich fans who travel are fiercely loyal and very vocal, with that being said by many an opposition fan the length and breadth of the country, remaining something to be very proud of.

So then, if it's not the travel or support then something on the field isn't quite right.

One thing we seem notoriously bad at is conceding early goals, and that puts us on the back foot playing catch up right from the outset, so perhaps tactically we should start off in a more defensive frame of mind, prepare for a midfield battle and to be very solid at the back for a huge chunk of the game, and attack on the break much more in the hope that a lucky break can be engineered or will come our way anyway. (Never happens to Ipswich does it?!)

Only a few days ago I watched Leeds v Wolves and the game followed that pattern almost to a 'T'. For most of the first half Wolves soaked up pressure and earned the right to play - (ever heard that before?) - particularly in the midfield. Most of their attacks were on the break, and some almost succeeded. In the second half they were a bit more attack minded, but able to soak up pressure for short spells by changing formation briefly if they needed to. In the 91st minute they broke away and scored and escaped to the West Midlands with all three points!

Maybe that's what we try to do and rarely succeed in doing, but listen to many of our diehard travelling fans and you would have to doubt it for the most part. What concerns me is that we stand very little chance of securing promotion unless we banish the away day blues to a large extent and the longer this little 'blip' continues the harder it will be to change back into what I call a real blip, i.e. a brief interruption to how we want things to be!

And after conceding both early and late at Southend midweek to snatch a draw from the dripping jaws of victory this Saturday will find me wandering to the hallowed turf clutching my worry beads just that little bit tighter. At least we are home and home usually means 'ok', but this is Palace we are up against, they are on a poor run by their standards and it will surely end soon…but not here, could it?

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