Missing ingredients are back on show

The Man In The Stands IT ONLY happens to me once or twice a season, but The Man had a peculiar feeling that we would 'do something' at Wolves. This vague, and slightly unnerving emotion, could just as easily mean that we'll lose five nil, as it means we'll win with a last-minute diving header.

The Man In The Stands

IT ONLY happens to me once or twice a season, but The Man had a peculiar feeling that we would “do something” at Wolves.

This vague, and slightly unnerving emotion, could just as easily mean that we'll lose five nil, as it means we'll win with a last-minute diving header.

But it is a definite feeling nonetheless, and usually indicates there will be a dramatic departure from the normal Norwich City script.

I'm sure other fans occasionally feel this too; indeed, there is one messageboard poster who says he sometimes feels this queer emotion in his balls.

However, there will not have been too many supporters who expected the Gunnymoon to survive Molineux's vile charms…

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It just seems that on the night a series of factors worked in our favour, producing the sort of spirited away performance (with goals) we have long since craved.

Darel Russell was given an opportunity to stake a claim for his natural midfield birth, after weeks of having to toil up front.

And he was going head-to-head with his old pal Karl Henry. Carl Cort was up against his old employers, and handed his first start by the club as he battles to save his professional career.

Add to that the arrival of some new faces in the squad, and Butterworth on the bench, and you can see why this might be a slightly more motivated Norwich City performance than on previous occasions.

This is of course taking nothing away from the way Gunny set the team up to have a proper go too; but it all adds up. Certainly the contrast with last year's disgusting display at Wolves could not be more stark.

But we must not get carried away.

Aside from the former caretaker boss Jim Duffy, who was more dead cat's funeral than dead cat bounce, all of our recent managerial appointments have started quite well.

Worthy eventually pulled us away from danger when he took over.

Peter Grant masterminded victories over Birmingham and Sunderland (the two automatically promoted teams that year) soon after he got the job.

And the much-maligned Glenn Roeder took us on an unbeaten run that ludicrously had us looking at the play-offs at one stage last year.

So while Gunny and Co have made a cracking start let's remember that there is going to come a time when this is going to get sticky and we are going to have to hang in there with them.

Players are only human unfortunately, some days they'll run through brick walls, some days they won't.



ALL HAIL our young lions and Ricky Martin for making it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.

Manchester City's youth team, one product of which we were lucky enough to have on loan last season, are sure to be a tough test in the next round, but it sounds like Our Boys will give them a game.

After a significant barren spell it seems at least one or two of these lads will be migrating to the first team squad over the next couple of seasons. Fingers crossed.

Hopefully the lessons of Chris Martin have been learned, and that if one of them is thrust from playing in front of two men and a dog to appearing in front of 25,000 people, they'll be able to handle it a bit better.

In regards to the victory over Everton, a special mention surely has to go to our young keeper Declan Rudd, pictured.

The Man does not know what they put in the breakfast cereals at Colney, but it seems we just can't stop churning out outstanding goalkeepers. It's just a shame you can only have one of them in a team.

I loved the fact too that Martin said Rudd was even a “little disappointed” that he did not get to score the winning penalty this time, after doing it against Stoke in the last round. Fantastic stuff.

Is it sad that I celebrated this victory by winding up the Everton fan I work with? Probably, but you take what you can get in this game.


THANK you Everton's senior squad for knocking Liverpool out of the cup and sparing us all the outpouring of unwarranted santimony that would have been caused by the Reds winning the FA Cup in the 20th anniversary year of the Hillsborough tragedy.

We will still get the mass thumb-sucking and calls for “justice” of course, but it will at least be toned down by the fact Liverpool won't be involved in a “symbolic” semi-final or final.

The Man noted that during the game Liverpool's fans were repeatedly asked by security staff over the Tannoy system to sit down, and were humorously throwing missiles - socks - on to the pitch.

I am sure the irony of the behaviour of these “great fans” was not lost on the viewing millions; those of us who, post Taylor Report, have to sit through games now.

On the subject of the viewers, what a cock-up by ITV to accidentally cut to an ad break and miss the vital goal.

Apparently the feed came back in time for viewers in the north-west region to see the goal; but that still left the vast majority of Liverpool's support - in heartlands such as Milton Keynes and Luton - out in the cold.

Doubtless Mr Angry from Hemel Hempstead was seething when he called Five Live's 606 after the game.

“Nah Spoony mate - I did not see wot happened niver. We missed Stevie G too though bruv.”

But people shouldn't be too hard on ITV; other broadcasters have done worse.

During the, ahem, climax, to last Sunday's Superbowl, some viewers in the States were subjected to a porno film rather than the gridiron.