Norwich City fans have had far more to cheer than jeer in 2015
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
No Norwich City fan can say that 2015 hasn’t been eventful. From the appointment of Alex Neil in January to the win on Monday at home to Aston Villa, we have had far more to cheer than jeer.
Whether we had previously heard of Alex Neil or not, no-one would have guessed that he would have such an impact on the club. Apart from a couple of poor results (Brentford and Boro at home come to mind), the second half of the 2014/15 season was fantastic.
If the cherry on the icing on the top of the cake was bouncing straight back into the Premier League after only a season in the Championship, then the icing was beating our rivals in the play-offs.
Getting promoted was a great achievement by the manager and players. We had hoped that the momentum would carry on into the Premier League season, but thanks to some questionable referring decisions, lapses of concentration and costly mistakes, we have found ourselves battling to stay out of the relegation places.
It’s not all bad though, as there have been some great performances and results during the first half of this season, none more memorable for me than Russell Martin’s equaliser at Anfield. That game showed the determination and commitment that our players have for the club.
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Although we got a great result at Old Trafford the week before, I wasn’t expecting too much from our visit to White Hart Lane on Saturday - I thought the best we could hope for was a draw. After the opening few minutes, however, I even hoped we might scrape a win.
What I didn’t expect was conceding three goals without reply. This result meant that I travelled to Norwich on Monday with a lot of trepidation about the match against Villa. In fact, the conversation on the train was along the lines of “if we don’t win today, then we don’t deserve to stay up”. Our glass is often half empty when discussing Norwich City’s games.
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Even after we scored the first goal, there was still an air of nervousness around the ground, especially as Villa started to look like they were getting back into the match in the second half.
Hoolahan and Mbokani certainly helped the crowd ease a little after they combined to get our second goal. Did they possibly know that Alex Neil had earmarked them for substitution only moments earlier? Whether they did or not, Hoolahan’s pass was pinpoint and Mbokani headed the ball home effortlessly.
It wasn’t the best match I have seen at Carrow Road or the prettiest, but Norwich did what they needed to do and that was to pick up three points from a team that looks almost certain to get relegated this season.
Going into 2016 only four points off Southampton in 12th is a great position to build on. Possible new signings like Steven Naismith and Ivo Pinto on the horizon - if the rumour mills are to be believed - will bolster our defence and if Mbokani can find the net a few more times this season, we should be able to have a decent finish in the league.
• Blog post written by Lorraine Taylor