No need to worry about the lack of new signings
Transfer deadline day is always eagerly anticipated by supporters. It’s a time when hopes can be raised or dashed, depending on who does or does not sign on the dotted line.
And it’s not just supporters of the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea for whom it matters most, on account of the stupid amounts of money that are bandied about as players like Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll up sticks and pledge their allegiance to new employers. No, Billy Smith moving from Barnet to Stockport for a bag of footballs and four corner flags can mean just as much to supporters of clubs down at the basement of English football as it does for the glory hunters who gloat at the multi-million pound deals that it takes to move the top players around these days.
Closer to home, there were plenty of rumours as to who might be coming to Norfolk join the Canary cause.
City tried to sign highly-rated winger Elliott Bennett from Brighton.
They even offered a seven-figure fee to try to prise him away from the Seagulls, but ultimately there was nothing doing.
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I’ve no doubt that City boss Paul Lambert was a busy man on Monday and, like all his counterparts, he probably made many telephone calls throughout the day.
But City fans shouldn’t be overly concerned that no one came in through the doors at Carrow Road on Monday evening. Of course we’d all have liked to see one or two more additions to the squad, as you can never have too many good players.
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But then again, you can’t buy what is not for sale.
If clubs won’t sell or, for any one or more of a multitude of reasons, a deal cannot be agreed, then what is the point then going out and buying second best – players who are not as good as what you’ve already got?
Buying for buying’s sake gets you nowhere – except deeper in debt – and subsequently lumbered with a top-heavy squad and increased wage bill for the following season, should it all go pear-shaped and promotion to the Premier League isn’t achieved.
True, many of the clubs battling it out with City at the top end of the table did shell out and added some decent talent to their squads this week, but City have plenty of quality players here already.
And no one in the Championship went out and bought Lionel Messi, did they? So let’s not worry ourselves unnecessarily.
I’ve said a million times already this season that this Norwich squad is already good enough, and that’s no great declaration of wisdom, because one look at the league table tells you as much.
City have coped unbelievably well so far with what they’ve faced this season, and I see absolutely no reason why they can’t continue to do so until May 8, regardless of whether managers of other clubs might now have increased their team selection options.
If they continue to play to their potential, this City squad won’t go far wrong.
• TUESDAY’S DRAMA WILL TAKE SOME BEATING
There’s no denying that the game at Crystal Palace last week wasn’t one that will feature largely in the highlights of any end-of-season DVD.
The Selhurst Park pitch was in very poor condition, although to be fair to the Eagles they aren’t the only team this season whose pitch has been in poor condition, probably as a consequence of all the snow, ice and rain we’ve had this winter – and accordingly the game never sparked into life.
It wasn’t dissimilar to a week earlier at Sheffield United, in all honesty, as that too was a game played on a surface that was anything but conducive to producing football that was easy on the eye, and was one that similarly failed to set the pulse racing. As for the clash with Millwall here on Tuesday night, while it would be fair to say that it was a step up from the two previous matches from an entertainment perspective, it still wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination.
Those last few seconds of the contest, however, must surely have been worth the admission money alone. Carrow Road is a special place to be whenever there is late drama, and fortunately we’ve witnessed plenty of it already this season, as well as in seasons gone by.
I’ve got to say, though, that not much has bettered what can only be described as the state of sheer pandemonium that greeted Henri Lansbury’s last-gasp winner on Tuesday night. When you’ve got your goalkeeper running the entire length of the pitch to join in the mad goalscoring celebrations, and the manager of the team following not too far behind him, plus people in the directors’ box momentarily forgetting the etiquette that is expected, and the vast majority of 24,000 supporters seemingly elevated to an altogether different level of consciousness, you know it’s not your usual run-of-the-mill stuff. It’s moments like that that make football so special and it goes without saying that Tuesday night’s late, late drama will live long in the memory.
• THE GOALS WILL FLOW AGAIN FOR CITY STRIKERS
With things going as well as they are for the Canaries at present, the only thing that will be of slight concern is the fact that the strikers aren’t scoring goals.
Don’t get me wrong, if City continue to tick along nicely and keep putting points on the board, it won’t matter one jot if none of them puts their names on the scoresheet again from now until the end of the campaign. It’s about the team, not individuals – always has been, always will be.
And on that score, as has been only too apparent, the Norwich strikers deserve the utmost respect because all of them are prepared to play for the team. But it’s goals that keep them happy. If a striker is going through a dry spell, he can tend to snatch at chances when they do arrive, rather than when he’s in a rich vein of goalscoring form and he subsequently finds himself relaxing when faced with a decent opportunity.
I’ve seen it with all the best finishers that I played alongside: Keith Bertschin, Wayne Clarke, Graeme Sharp, Adrian Heath, Tony Cottee, Chris Sutton, Mark Robins, Craig Bellamy and big Iwan Roberts. They all missed chances during a lean spell that they would have normally bagged with their eyes closed.
Andy Ritchie was probably the best that I saw at not letting a miss affect his confidence.
He had the priceless attribute of being able to just shrug off a missed opportunity and simply wait for the next one. He was greedy, I’ve got to say, but he could be having a nightmare in front of goal and it wouldn’t affect the way he approached the next goalscoring opportunity when it came along. To be fair, despite their continued progress, City as a team haven’t being performing at full throttle for a few games now, and accordingly genuine goalscoring chances have proved a bit thin on the ground. So it’s not as though chances are continually being wasted. But I’m confident the City strikers will soon hit goalscoring form again, because they as individuals, and the team as a unit are too good for it not to happen.