Dave Major: I feel some positivity, but the real Norwich City picture won’t be clear for a little while yet
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Is your Norwich City glass half empty, or half full?
Are you dismayed by the Webber-Farke revolution, of the football, our inability to beat Burton? Or happy with the upturn in fortunes since Millwall?
I’m half full. In general. In life. I maintain, as Paul McVeigh might say, a Positive Mentality to where Norwich City are today.
Given this is typically our Canaries Trust chairman’s column, I wanted to borrow a quote from their recent August Board meeting with Steve Stone, the club’s managing director, to add an air of context to the last week’s results and to explain my positivity:
“The position changed after the Millwall game – there were some frank discussions and it was agreed the team needed an experienced Championship centre back, but the club had very little funding left to do the deal.”
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Those 36 words tell us so much, more than any other MD would have told their fan base in a similar situation.
Firstly, there was a frank exchange of views after the Millwall game. Good. There needed to be. What might have happened last November if such a frank exchange had happened after Alex Neil’s Norwich lost 5-0 at Brighton in an equally inept performance?
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Secondly, recognition of what was going wrong. I wrote for the Pinkun.com after the Fulham game of the positives, of the tinkering of formation, of the attacking prowess and of the Never Mind the Danger approach us fans love. But why did we have to do that? Because we were regularly over-run in midfield and our centre-halves were too often exposed.
Thirdly, that our board in recognising the problem were willing to stretch the budget to try and take us back to the Premier League before the parachute payments stopped. They care.
With the positivity that came with the Webber-Farke revolution it was widely acknowledged that with such a change – in personnel, in style – would come a learning curve and a potentially indifferent start.
Seven games in: two wins, two draws, three defeats. Indifferent start.
But the last two games?
An improved togetherness. No goals conceded. Four points. A better balance to both the defence and the midfield, one that now looks capable of at least competing. I’d have taken that after Millwall. I’d have taken only some of that.
However, this isn’t positivity without caution. After the visit to Sheffield, before the month is out, Norwich face further trips to Middleborough (remember that last year?) and Reading. That defensive resolve will be properly tested in that period.
As too will the ability for that midfield to both support defence and attack. Last season’s Norwich City put away sides at home with relative ease, scoring goals for fun. The call was for change, for more predictability and frankly, in the Championship, what that means is more 1-0s, more 2-1s, more scraping draws from the clutches of defeat.
Fewer extremes. Fewer 7-1s against Reading. Fewer 5-0s at the hands of Brighton.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll take the 7-1s. For one, it was my six-year-old son’s first game. I still need to find a way to follow that; but I digress.
Come the end of September we’ll have a clearer view of where the Webber-Farke Norwich City is heading. Are they a mediocre Championship team with delusions of grandeur, or do they possess the craft, cunning and capability to challenge in the Championship?
On these points, I remain glass half full. The promise of Josh Murphy and James Maddison, the presence of Nelson Oliveira and Timm Klose; the desire of captain Ivo Pinto, the methodical planner in Farke, the ruthless Webber. The pieces are all there.
But ultimately, it’s those goals for and against that will sway all our opinions and optimism, and decide whether this Norwich City will be a success.