Norwich City face a big challenge to continue their forward momentum
- Credit: Archant © 2013
It tends to be a quiet time on the club front over an international break. And given the nature of this particular fortnight as England – and others – battled to book their berth in Brazil, for many there was actually a bit of bite to the international fixtures. It’s been a while.
But on this occasion, there have been Canaries stories flying around left, right and centre.
We’ve had City chief executive David McNally disappearing from Twitter – something that appeared to cue a social media freak-out over his Carrow Road future. Fear not fretters – I’m reliably informed he’s not going anywhere just yet.
Add City’s latest fans’ forum and the following day’s annual accounts unveil, and there has been a welcome pot of thoughts, information and club strategy to dissect.
City boss Chris Hughton arguably had a tough start to the season – one that has eased since the stirring comeback at Watford.
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And the way he handled supporters’ questions at that Carrow Road forum – some of which were definitely pointed – portrayed a man happy with the pressure he’s under and with the job he needs to do.
A day later and it was pretty much only good news. It’s hard to imagine a more positive occasion than when City unveiled their 2012-13 accounts – with the lifting of external indebtedness and more money than ever before being invested on the pitch.
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It’s far from an understatement to declare Norwich City Football Club have never had it so good.
The obvious problem is they’ve never been so reliant on league position either. As good as City’s current financial environment is, dropping out of the Premier League – even with bumper parachute payments – always becomes a fight for survival.
It’s a fight City have been shaken by before and you would like to think they can put off having to fight it again for a few years yet.
But with so much progress and a position where City are hitting the very top of their current aims, it leaves room for discussion over what City target from here on in. That’s why chairman Alan Bowkett was asked whether, as a business expert brought in to help turnaround the Canaries’ finances, he was still keen to be on board with the largest part of his role fulfilled – and fulfilled with unbelievable success.
Perhaps it’s also why there was a little flutter in a few fans’ tummies at the chief exec’s social media vanishing act too.
After all, every target those who arrived at Carrow Road a few years back would have set will now have a massive tick against it.
Such an issue strikes a chord given the other thing we’ve been enjoying this international break – the 20th anniversary of City’s Uefa Cup run. Or as Ipswich fans like to call it, three games a few years ago. I think it’s a debate most Norwich fans would enjoy having at the moment.
The Europa League is not a patch on the Uefa Cup in its current format. It’s profligate with too many teams from European outposts, in the same way the Champions League continues to carry a name that belies its content. For a club like Norwich, just three years into a top-flight stay that could end any season, European football simply isn’t worth it.
That’s not City’s fault – it is Uefa’s.
While a top-10 finish is now the public target, that’s only a two-place improvement on two seasons ago and a one-place rise on last term.
It arguably piles the pressure not just on results, but especially the style and performances.
Tangible improvement in entertainment has suddenly become a barometer for success.
And given the way 20 years go the Canaries set about their opponents – be it Premier League or in Europe – there’s still plenty of room to match City’s history boys.