It's not so bad down here

Ok hands up anyone who is secretly enjoying League 1? As hard as it is to believe after that gut wrenching day at the Valley in May, I can't be alone in finding I am rediscovering my enthusiasm for my team when I perhaps least expected it? It's often said that you have to take one step back to take two steps forward and the more I see of us this season, the more I'm convinced this had to be the case with Norwich City Football Club.

By James Smith

Ok hands up anyone who is secretly enjoying League 1? As hard as it is to believe after that gut wrenching day at the Valley in May, I can't be alone in finding I am rediscovering my enthusiasm for my team when I perhaps least expected it?

It's often said that you have to take one step back to take two steps forward and the more I see of us this season, the more I'm convinced this had to be the case with Norwich City Football Club. Whilst relegation was a huge blow and an embarrassment (and I am sure there are a couple of million pound shaped downsides to it), ultimately we had been treading water in the Championship for a few seasons with very little to shout about. This season, however, one or two silver linings are emerging, namely:

What appears to be a new change of mindset at the club flowing largely from the appointment of our new chairman and chief executive. For me this was illustrated by the fact that when looking for a new manager we (for the first time I can recall since Martin O'Neill) simply identified who we wanted and got him;


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We are winning games and plenty of them! Ultimately, as a (fickle) football fan winning games makes me happy. To a degree, I don't care who its against. That post match pint (or four) tastes just as sweet after hammering Leyton Orient as after beating the likes of West Brom or Barnsley!

We have some players I actually like and who appear to care. Some even came from our youth team and look quite good! Give me Holt, Korey, Martin and Spillane over some prem reserve on loan any day!

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We have an up and coming manager who actually appears to know how to properly manage a football team. Not someone who “talks a good game,” is “a nice (unqualified) bloke who deserves a chance” or appears determined to break the world record for upsetting as many people as possible in a six month period!

No more boring international breaks with no Norwich games;

Numerous exotic new grounds to visit and we don't have to go to Selhurst Park (watch us get them in the FA Cup now!)

Even the Johnstone's Paint trophy's not that bad now that there is a possible trip to Wembley in the offing. In fact, with that and the playoffs this may the best chance for us to get to Wembley for many years!

All of which gives me the feeling that, for the first time in a long time, we are finally on the up! Don't get me wrong though, I'm not condoning the fact that our great club finds itself at its lowest ebb for a half a century or the decisions that have landed us where we are. I have no doubt that the second time round trips to Hartlepool and Carlisle lose their allure quite considerably and its simply not acceptable that a club of our stature is where it is in the football pyramid. It therefore remains crucial that we do all we can to get out of this league at the first attempt and I urge the board to do everything in their power to make it happen. Short of us facing bankruptcy, Hoolahan and Russell must not be sold in January unless the manager makes that decision himself. Lambo must be given every penny we can scrape together if one or two recruits are required. If that can happen, the rest of this season could just turn out to be very enjoyable indeed and maybe, just maybe, relegation to League One could turn out to be the best thing that has happened to the club for a long time! OTBC.

Footnote: Message to Phil Gartside. Don't think that anybody can't see through your grubby little plan to keep Bolton at the top table for evermore. Thankfully it looks as if the other premiership clubs aren't buying it (yet) although I am sure this plan will be back on the table before long! In my eyes Gartside's vision would be another nail in the coffin of the game we all love. As galling as it may be to see the likes of Wigan and their 10,000 fans two divisions above us, they took their chance to stay in the prem and (in terms of footballing performances at least) they deserve to be where they are. So do we. Neither situation will last forever. That's the way that football should be.

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