Looking forward with optimism

“How do you feel now you're one year older?” Not a question, but a song that the children, including my two, Gemma and Amy, loved to sing at St John's Nursery in Kenton whenever there was a birthday in the class.

“How do you feel now you're one year older?” Not a question, but a song that the children, including my two, Gemma and Amy, loved to sing at St John's Nursery in Kenton whenever there was a birthday in the class. No exceptions at all, teachers included.

So, do I feel different now that I am a year older, and over the trauma of that dreadful performance on 1st October which finally prompted the board to call time on Nigel Worthington's managerial reign at Norwich?

Having been reminded of the song, and looking back on last weekend's game against Cardiff, made me recall Peter Grant's first home in game in charge of Norwich, nearly a year ago, against the same opposition.

Last year's 1-0 home victory against Cardiff was one of the most enjoyable days of the season. The game itself was a decent affair.

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An excellent first half and a workmanlike second, gave us a hard-fought victory against a team at the top of the table.

The cameras from the ITV's The Championship were also at Carrow Road as we were the featured game; billed as high flying Cardiff versus Norwich City with a new manager. One of the Capital Canaries, Brian Coker, was interviewed prior to the game, and was a fan featured on the Championship. He predicted a tight game and a 1-0 or 2-0 victory to Norwich. Well done Brian. Predictably with the cameras present, and a national audience watching, Quality Dickson, not Dreadful Dickson, turned up, had a storming game and scored a stunning goal. The game also saw Paul McVeigh blot his copybook yet again with a needless sending off. If ever a player was given another chance at Norwich from Worthington's dismissal it was McVeigh, but he blew his second chance that day.

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My over-riding memory of the day though was that new manager “feel-good factor” after the mid-week away win at Birmingham and the victory on the day, and that euphoria that of thinking that we had, at last, hit the bottom of the downward curve, and had that optimistic glow feeling that we were on the up again.

Comparing last season's victory against Cardiff, to this season's defeat, the result aside, there were a number of similarities to last year's match. In both games, Norwich were excellent first half, and both featured a memorable strike for our goal. They both had a much more low-key second half as we protected what we had. Last year Cardiff were toothless in attack; as their star striker Michael Chopra was unavailable whereas this year Robbie Fowler was on the pitch for the first hour.

Unfortunately, the last half hour was a different story. If we had held out for a victory, which in all honesty, we looked more than capable of doing, we would have been ten places further up the table and the game and the performance would have been viewed very differently. Substutions can change games and as the man sitting next to me correctly observed after an hour of the game, “we're in trouble now, Robbie Fowler's getting subbed”.

So, answering the song's question, “How do I feel now that I am one year older?” The answer is full of optimism about Norwich City Football Club. We have made some decent signings in almost all the positions that needed strengthening. We have in Jamie Cureton, a proven 20 goal a season striker, and in Darren Huckerby, the best attacking player in the league. Julian Brellier, getting fitter by the game, should become the lynchpin of the midfield and, according to my Hearts-supporting friends, is a fantastic signing.

I would be even more optimistic if we secured the services of a centre-back though.

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