Nightmare visions torment The Man

The Man In The Stands RELEGATION fever showed no signs of abating this week as The Man's dreams were intruded upon by football again, continuing the theme of my sleep being influenced by the vile prospect of League One.

The Man In The Stands

RELEGATION fever showed no signs of abating this week as The Man's dreams were intruded upon by football again, continuing the theme of my sleep being influenced by the vile prospect of League One.

First up was a semi-premonition of today's game against Plymouth, when I was treated to a vivid version of the first 45 minutes during my slumber.

We were one nil down until Shack equalised with a thumping header just before half-time.

That's where the dream stopped. Read into that what you will…aside from the fact I'm clearly quite a dull bloke.

The second sleepy enchantment involved meeting Ian Crook in a small, spartanly furnished room.

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We pored over a fixture list together and tried to work out which games we were likely to win.

Annoying, Crooky kept referring to Norwich as “you”, and The Man kept having to correct him by saying “it's 'us' now Ian - you are back now.”

We then went on to discuss the merits of trying to get Neil Fenn (remember him?) back on emergency loan.

Maybe it was the Tottenham connection that brought Fenn into my subconscious, who knows?

However, Chippy and I decided he'd be morbidly slow by now; and that was it. The Man won't bore you with the tedium of his dreams much longer, but certainly the weirdest one I've had since becoming preoccupied with fears of relegation to League One was one of Chris Killen as a dwarf. Or maybe he was a midget, I am never quite sure what the difference is.

Given the number of headers Killen won in his short time here The Man does wonder whether it was a dream at all, or maybe just the Canaries World highlights.

The Patrick Boyle Award for the lamest loan signing of the season is going to be a fierce contest this season with Killen, OJ and Henville of Troy all sure to feature.


WONDERFUL to see Cody McDonald make the leap from scaffolding to scoring last week.

The Man was delighted when we took a punt on a young and hungry player from the non-league; but it's even more pleasing to see him get off the mark so quickly. It doesn't half lift the soul to see a player who is clearly delighted to be wearing the yellow shirt.

Clearly, it will be a while before we'll find out whether Cody can make it at this level full time, but his likely emergence at least affords us the opportunity to roll out a decent chant in his honour.

No, The Man does not mean the “Iwan” ode which has been designated to every striker with a two-syllable christian name we've signed in the past few years.

But, as has already been suggested in other quarters, something to the classic rhyme Old McDonald has a Farm.

It's simple, everybody knows it, and it plays up to the agricultural heritage that opposition fans are often keen to remind us of.

It is a gift, and if we can't make this one work as fans we may as well designate a permanent drummer, Sellotape our mouths shut, and call ourselves Blackburn.

Let's be honest, we have been desperately poor at coming up with decent chants in recent years. Granted, the lack of creativity has been aided by having different players each month and being crap, but it has been poor nonetheless.

Altogether now: Cody McDonald has a farm, e i e i oh! And on that farm…


WEST Ham are set to be punished for the Carlos Tevez affair by having to pay Sheffield United millions in compensation.

The blow for the Hammers will be softened by the fact they will be allowed to hold onto their hugely valuable Premiership status, worth �30m a year to them at least.

If they receive the money, the Blades will be able to bankroll a big promotion push next season, if they need it. Their parachute payments run out at the end of this season. For example, given the huge financial advantage they'd have compared to the rest of the Championship, they'd easily be able to offer a Lee Croft a bumper deal and stick him on their bench. Remind me again, who is getting punished here? West Ham, or the 20 or so other clubs in the Championship?


ONE of The Man's few remaining football pleasures was watching the Big Four get their comeuppance in the Champions League.

It was like seeing the school bully getting a good kicking from your mate's elder brother up the Rec.

Alas, Johnny Foreigner barely manages to score a goal against the 'English' teams now, mainly because he's playing for them, rather than against.

The Europeans can't even beat them on penalties, previously a sure-fire way of dismissing a team from these isles. On Wednesday, you could tell from the look on Mourinho's face that he never really believed his team were going to beat Man U.

In the circumstances, Inter, clear leaders of the Italian top flight, did rather well to emerge from the tie with their reputation intact, although had Man U decided to get out of second gear it could have been quite different.

The prospect of Man U winning everything including the Boat Race and the Indy 500 this year does leave me feeling a little nauseous, although it is slightly tempered by the fact it will prevent any Scousers - except Rooney - getting their hands on a trophy.

In the longer term though, as the job losses and bankruptcies mount up, I do fear that we are going to emerge from this deep recession with just Man U and Tesco left, playing each other in a league sponsored by Google.

Although Sky were recently heralding the fact that no-one had scored past van der Sar for 18 light years as a wonderful footballing feat, it could just as easily have been seen as a sign of a desperately unhealthy and almost monopolised division.