Norwich City fans struggle to find a Friend in Wigan ref Kevin
I’ve heard a lot about the booing that occurred after the draw with Wigan on Sunday afternoon and I’m convinced from what I’ve heard that some of the Norwich City supporters’ reaction was aimed at the referee, Kevin Friend, and his two assistants.
He didn’t have the greatest of afternoons, in all honesty, with a few very strange decisions.
Now I know many of you would have left Carrow Road after the game disappointed with gaining only a point against the bottom team in the Premier League, and, yes, I think everybody knows that the lads underperformed against the Latics. But they still won a point, which took them back up to 12th and almost certainly safe with 10 games remaining.
After a great start, with Wes Hoolahan scoring a terrific goal after just 10 minutes, the Canaries didn’t push on and it was no surprise to anyone when Victor Moses scored a deserved equaliser halfway through the second half.
To be fair, if it hadn’t been for some heroics by John Ruddy the afternoon could have been much worse; he made at least three top-class saves.
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Of course the club wants to grow and build on the success it has had over the last two years, and no one wants this more than Paul Lambert and his squad. He doesn’t strike me as the type of man who will settle for mediocrity and being second best and I shouldn’t think he will let his players settle for that either.
So, yes, let’s be disappointed that the lads never reached the high standards that they have set themselves this season but let’s not forget where Paul and his players have pulled this club from in the past two seasons.
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It’s another Sunday 4pm kick-off this weekend for the Canaries with the game once again live on TV. It gives the lads a great opportunity to show the nation that they are a much better side than they showed against Wigan.
It’s the second longest journey the club faces this season with a round trip of more than 500 miles up to Newcastle, and I’m sure it will once again be a very stern test for Paul and the lads. Newcastle have had a terrific season, sitting sixth in the league.
I actually thought that they would be at the other end of the table in a relegation battle rather than fighting it out with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for that financially rewarding fourth and final Champions League place.
I do think that their defeat by the Gunners last Monday – Thomas Vermaelen scoring with the very last kick of the game – put an end to Newcastle’s dreams of finishing fourth, but they will be determined to finish the season strong in order to qualify for next season’s Europa League.
St James’ Park (I can’t get used to calling it The Sports Direct Arena) has always been a great place to play, with the fanatical Geordies making it one of, if not the, best atmospheres to play in in the top flight.
I appeared there on only a few occasions, but did play against some great players like Gazza and Peter Beardsley – the two that stand out. Mind you, one name that we will all know who I faced in the Magpies defence back in the late 1980s was Glenn Roader, who really enjoyed his time up in the north east in the famous black and white striped shirts.
Newcastle have lost only twice at home this season and with Norwich not having won in their last four games let’s hope the lads can go up there and make it an unwanted hat-trick of home defeats for Alan Pardew’s men.