Canaries prove they are no soft touch

So what pleased you most about the battling performance at Stamford Bridge on Saturday?

I can’t remember too many defeats we have suffered in recent years which have resulted in such positivity among Canaries fans.

I sadly wasn’t among the 3000 City faithful. They were outnumbered by 13-1 by the West Londoners and yet it was the Norfolk Army I could hear much more over the radio commentary.

I was also gutted to hear that the match had been screened just a mile or so from my office where I had been slaving over a hot keyboard on Saturday afternoon.

From all that I have heard and read and seen from the highlights, we gave the team who are supposedly worth 20 times more a really tough afternoon.


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I was spitting feathers on Sunday morning when I read one national newspaper report which started “Another easy win for Chelsea.”

What? For those of you who are friends on Facebook - or were within 10 miles of Dereham as I yelled out - I made my thoughts on the author of that piece VERY clear.

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I didn’t hear any interviews from John Terry afterwards. But I bet my season ticket in the top of the River End that if he was to give an honest appraisal, he would have to admit that not too many centre forwards would give him a tougher time during the campaign.

Grant Holt’s work and commitment were a big plus for me - and he took that goal remarkably well.

I seem to spend half my life defending Holt.

A year ago the cynics were saying he wouldn’t be able to cope in the Championship and they kept insisting he would be found out. And look what happened.

During the summer those same scoffers have been claiming he won’t do anything in the top flight. I think he has already done enough to show signs that he will be a real handful.

If he scores one goal every three games which he has done so far, that would be about 13 during the season which would be a terrfic return.

I really think he is capable of that.

For me the real positive from Saturday was how Paul Lambert and his men showed their true grit on and off the pitch.

Next week thousands of 11-year-old children who have been a big fish in a little pond at junior schools will move up to the big scary world of high school and become the little tiddler in the big lake.

I’m sure many of you remember that jump you made yourselves and I’d guess that more than a handful got the odd slap or shove in the early days from the big boys.

For the first few minutes at Stamford Bridge I sensed a bit of the high school yard effect on the Canaries.

Some of the players didn’t perhaps stand up for themselves and there was a bit too much awe of where they were and who they were against.

When that Bosingwa goal flew in the net after just five minutes, it could have got messy.

But it didn’t and the new boys refused to be bullied.

Forget teachers looking after the new recruits in a school situation. And if a certain Mike Jones was supposed to be in that caring role, he went the other way and rewarded the petulent and nasty rich kid who should have been sent home (alias Fernando Torres) and the lad who was always looking for the playground dive (yes, I mean Ramires).

Meanwhile, behind the bike sheds (or in this case in front of the dug outs), things were getting a bit tasty.

And what really made my day was the comments from PL after the game when he was asked what had gone on between him and Chelsea’s fitness coach Jose Maria Rocha.

“You better ask the guy with a stopwatch around his neck,” said PL.

“I don’t know who he is but he has flowed right into our area. I thought that was disrespectful. He shouldn’t be in my technical area.”

And the best bit - which I’m sure we all cheer at when we read it - was: “I’m not fluent in Portuguese but if he understands Glaswegian he might know what I said.” Brilliant.

That was when our manager really stamped his mark on life in the Premier League.

And for me it sums up why I’m convinced we will do well this year,

We are capable of playing lovely football - and have already in the opening three games.

And we can always flex our muscles and be tough with words and actions.

I’m not suggesting we become like the old Wimbledon or Millwall with the “no-one likes us, we don’t care” mentality.

I hope we continue to get plaudits for our attitude and style.

But it is more important to get results and be respected than be seen as “nice little Norwich” who are just on holiday in the big time for a year.

Hero of the week: There are several contenders this week, including Holty and the amazing supporters who lit up Stamford Bridge with colour and noise. But my vote has to go to Paul Lambert. No-one messes with him.

Villain of the week: Again, there are a few to choose from. The Observer reporter who claimed it was “another easy win for Chelsea” and of course Mike “I couldn’t wait to point to the penalty spot and pull out the red on Ruddy” Jones are in with a shout. But I’m picking Torres as my villain. Forget Ruddy getting his marching orders - the �50m flop should have already been in the shower and clearly should have had two yellow cards.

Highlight of the week: On the field it has to be seeing John Terry laying in the goal after helplessly trying to stop Holty’s brilliant effort. It’s an image I will remember for a long time. Off the field it was getting an email saying “Norwich City 4, Ipswich Town 1; Ipswich Town 1, Norwich City 5; Peterborough United 7, Ipswich Town 1; Carlsberg don’t do local East Anglian derbies, but if they did....” Love it.

Funniest moment of the week: I’m not going to stoop so low to take the mick out of Arsenal or Spurs fans as they have been through enough since Sunday, poor things! This week’s comic classic belongs to (We Love You) Paul McVeigh. He did a very good job as BBC Radio Norfolk’s Chris Goreham’s side kick on Saturday but met his match when he tried to take on legendary commentator John Motson. Priceless!

Prediction of the week: With no City game this weekend, I will have to go for something less obvious. So I’ll say Declan Rudd will get an appearance for the England under 21s - and not let a goal in. He’s a great prospect and I have no worries about him being between the sticks in the WBA game during Ruddy’s suspension.

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