Chris Goreham: The importance of Hugill and home schooling

Jordan Hugill of Norwich and Michal Helik of Barnsley in action during the FA Cup match at Oakwell,

City will be keeping their fingers crossed over Jordan Hugill's hamstring injury. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Hands up if you are enjoying home schooling. After three weeks of overseeing online lessons from the dining room table I am beginning to talk like a proper teacher.  

It’s all proving quite the challenge for a lot of us parents. Not least because of the regular blows to the ego that come with having wrong answers returned on a piece of work that you have helped with.  

Until these online lessons started I thought remainders were people who voted against Brexit, The Roman Empire described Chelsea’s success since 2003 and fronted adverbials were the place you didn’t want to get hit by the ball on a cold day.  

The whole experience has transported me back to being 10 years old. All those long days in the classroom waiting for break time so we could go and play football. We won’t need to know all this stuff when we’re older anyway. They should have warned us about global pandemics and the chances of become a reluctant supply teacher in our own homes. I should have listened more carefully.  

‘What’s this got to do with football?’ you may well ask. Well, as some of my more emotionally perceptive teachers realised, everything can be brought back to football. I have always maintained that the nation’s favourite sport holds the key to getting some youngsters learning by stealth in almost all subjects.  

Give someone a long page of sums to do and it can be a complete turn-off. Show them the Premier League table and get them to work out which team has the best goal difference, now you’re talking.  

Looking for a gateway into geography? Get them to place some stadiums on a map of the UK. My grasp of capital cities and flags of the world was always strong. This was purely down to collecting World Cup stickers and avidly following England qualifiers in far flung places.  

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For anyone struggling with English lessons how about writing a match report on Norwich City’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Barnsley?  

After lunch it’s art and a close look at the classics. What made Norwich City’s egg and cress kit of the early 1990s so remarkable and can you recreate it using every day items found around the house?  

My Canary curriculum ends with biology. In this lesson we’ll be discussing why Jordan Hugill’s hamstring went on Saturday and how long he might be out for.  

For homework you will need to ponder the following sum: What is x if Grant Holt + x  = Jordan Hugill? 

The answer you should have is Jordan Rhodes.  

Hugill’s injury is a bigger blow than simply a factor in sending City out of the FA Cup. The parallels between Norwich’s current number 9 and Grant Holt are as obvious as they are lazy. He’s a big target man with an ability to get goals in The Championship. His first against Bristol City last week, a towering header, was right out of Holt’s textbook.  

It was while interviewing Hugill after the game that I realised he has the potential to be this season’s Jordan Rhodes. Being back-up to Teemu Pukki hasn’t left him frustrated, in fact he wears the badge of a good team player with all the pride of a house captain. 

Just like Rhodes in the Championship winning season of 2018-19 he is not enjoying the most prolific campaign of his career. Hugill’s four goals though have been well-timed. Two to beat Bristol City, just as Rhodes did in an important home win over Aston Villa.  

It might just be the 95th minute penalty at Rotherham in October that proves most important. Before that encounter the Canaries had taken four points from four games in The Championship, losing two of them. Since then it’s two defeats in 21 league matches.  

If Norwich City are promoted this season perhaps that goal will go down in history. There you go, that’s history covered as well. This is turning into the sort of home learning I could really get behind.  

Anyone seen Adrian?

Football commentary in 2021 continues to be a surreal old business.  

After covering Norwich City’s win at Cardiff City from an empty Carrow Road the cup tie at Barnsley brought some new challenges.  

This time it was in a competition that BBC television does have rights to cover. This meant that pictures were being beamed directly into our office at The Forum.  In these COVID influenced times that isn’t as straight forward in broadcasting terms as it sounds. Social distancing doesn’t allow for a group of people to huddle around a television.  

I was dispatched into an office further down the corridors from our main studios to watch the game in glorious self-isolation. My only companions were a microphone with which to broadcast and, as it was in the room where Look East weather forecasts are prepared, several maps on the wall. I briefly spotted the road to Wembley on one of them.  

My co-commentator, the former Norwich striker Adrian Coote, was sat in a separate room on the floor below watching the same pictures as me. Elsewhere in the building my colleague Nick Bowler was across a live feed of King’s Lynn Town’s National League match at Dagenham and Redbridge. Our office was like a call centre for football commentators at the weekend.  

Making it all hang together was quite the technical challenge. I must pay tribute to our main sports presenter Phil Daley who managed to link us all up successfully. Anyone who thinks this sounds simple has never been faced with the challenge of finding some televisions that work in a building that makes television programmes. It is surprisingly difficult.  

Most nights I worry about whether I’ve switched the gas hob off when I go to bed. The midnight concern on Saturday was about whether I had remembered to release Adrian Coote from his broom cupboard at The Forum before heading home for the night. If you see him looking dazed and confused wandering around in the background on Look East this week it’s our fault.  

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