Chris Goreham: Why Tim Krul played second fiddle to Manchester United’s Harry Maguire
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Todd Cantwell answered several big questions with one swing of his right boot when he scored against Manchester United on Saturday.
Until that point there was no way of knowing for sure whether a Norwich City goal in an empty ground would inspire the same buzz as one in normal circumstances, at what volume it was acceptable to commentate at with no crowd noise to ride and whether the Canaries would play goal music over the PA system at Carrow Road.
In short, the answers were, yes, that strike certainly did cause my heart to skip a beat; quite loud, but that than leads to a rise in being self-conscious and, yep, the goal music came blasting through, although it wasn’t entirely clear for whose benefit.
The performance if not the result in that FA Cup quarter-final restored some of the pride that had been dented by the defeats at the hands of Southampton and Everton which had turned Project Restart into Project False Start at Carrow Road, but the City fans that I follow on social media seemed to be united in a common cause as the final whistle blew on their hopes of not being able to see their team play an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in the flesh.
There was one recurring question on everybody’s keyboards: “Why didn’t Tim Krul get Man of the Match?”
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The outrage this time wasn’t aimed at Daniel Farke for his team selection or the City players for failing to deal with set-pieces. Instead it was the turn of Jermaine Jenas to feel what it’s like to upset Norfolk people. The former Newcastle and Tottenham midfielder was the summariser on Match of the Day and as such the task of picking the official Man of the Match fell to him.
What the pundits saidHarry Maguire might have poked in the winning goal just as we were wondering which players might be chosen to take part in a penalty shoot-out, but did that outweigh the string of fine saves that Krul pulled off as City held on with 10 men?
It’s always amused me how animated people get about something as trivial as a Man of the Match award. It’s odd that a team sport should have developed a tradition which means it must honour one individual in particular every time a game is played.
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Sometimes there is an obvious contender, but more often than not it’s just down to what few moments from a long 90, or in this case, 120, minutes stick in the mind. When games aren’t being shown live on television it tends to be the sponsors who get the opportunity to pick the winner. Often the terms of their package dictate that they will get to meet and have a picture with whoever they name. So the next time you hear yourself saying, “They must have been watching a different game to me” when a big name gets called as Man of the Match on the PA system at the ground ahead of whichever unsung hero has stood out for you, it probably says less about their ability to assess a football match and more about who they fancy having a framed picture with on the office wall.
It seems that the judgment might be just as arbitrary for games that are on TV as well. Poor old Jenas got so much stick from Norwich fans on social media that he bit back.
Replying to a supporter called Simon Dain on Instagram, Jenas said: “It’s just TV, don’t take it to heart. Next time you see a player from the losing side get MOM pls message me, it’s about interviews etc.”
It had never occurred to me that the Man of the Match always gets interviewed on the pitch after the game. You’ll have seen that awkward moment when the pitchside reporter asks one of the winning team to present the bottle of champagne to his mate at the end of a sweaty interview. It turns out that TV companies can decide who they want to speak to and then pick the Man of the Match accordingly.
If it’s any consolation, Tim Krul definitely got Man of the Match on the radio coverage, but our budget doesn’t stretch to champagne.
The football shaped hole during lockdown was largely filled with nostalgia.
How many old games did you watch to help stop the cravings for your favourite sport or just to provide a bit of much-needed escapism from a world that was changing at a rapid and frightening rate?
If, like me, you are in your late 30s, it’s becoming difficult to tell the difference between what’s new and what’s old. Liverpool winning the league, Norwich City playing in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and Leeds battling for promotion to the top flight. Cowabunga dude, it’s making me feel like the early 1990s all over again.
These are the very footballing storylines that caught my imagination when it was at its most impressionable. It’s like someone has pressed the reset button.
As I pushed my trolley round the supermarket on Friday afternoon the number of Liverpool shirts in evidence reminded me of the school playground. It was Rush, Barnes and Grobbelaar then rather than Salah, Mane and Allison, but we will always have the dubious honour of knowing that the first goal of Liverpool’s first ever Premier League title season was scored by a Canary. Grant Hanley’s opening night own goal at Anfield has made him a pub quiz question for the future.
Unfortunately, there was a familiar heart-breaking end to Norwich City’s FA Cup hopes as well. As I drove back from Carrow Road on Saturday evening it dawned on me that another 28-year wait for a run to the last eight would mean that I’d be 66 years old by the time it happens again. At least by then I will finally have made up my mind as to which of the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles is really my favourite.