Norwich City keep their head when all about them are spending theirs
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Transfer deadline days seem to be as much about psychology as football – nothing is more telling of the feeling around a club than those frantic 24 hours.
And mark my words, even when nothing happens there seems to be a frantic edge to the day you can never shake off.
That was where Monday night sat for the Canaries. Clearly Chris Hughton wanted to see if he could get some cover for the injured Elliott Bennett, who won’t be seen this side of Christmas following knee surgery late last month.
Hughton had a nibble at Ricardo Vaz Te – and the negativity from City fans surrounding that move was surprising. Any other names seemed only to be mentioned off the back of some casual scouting and the odd telephone call of enquiry.
But in the end, Hughton couldn’t make the Vaz Te move come off and decided what he had at his disposal would see him through for the rest of the year – even finally cutting ties with Jacob Butterfield, who I refuse to believe was ever a man Hughton sought to sign.
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And the reaction to all that minimal activity? Relative calm.
That was the right reaction too, given all of City’s summer work and early business – something I honestly thought would be Hughton’s biggest challenge this summer, and one he passed with flying colours.
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To have just about everyone you want to recruit in the building in time for some pre-season tours, and certainly ahead of the season’s start, sometimes gets underplayed come deadline day – when in truth, it’s worth so much more.
Because when you looked at what was happening elsewhere on Monday night, it was often hard not to be bemused.
Chief ‘panickers’ seemed to be Sunderland, Paolo di Canio desperate to add more new faces on top of the 10 that arrived in the summer – while then selling one of their best and at least proven performers in Stephane Sessegnon to West Brom.
How any of that makes sense once the deadline day panic has died down is anyone’s guess.
West Brom themselves weren’t far behind, arguably expecting Romelu Lukaku to be their man before Everton upped their loan fee to Chelsea and nipped in.
The Toffees’ own £13m capture of Wigan’s James McCarthy seems a large fortune for a player who, while occasionally classy, is probably not worth 2.6 Leroy Fers.
Some strange deadline day action from those three – who coincidentally are the only sides in the Premier League without a win from their first three games. Indeed, West Brom and Sunderland only have a point apiece.
Maybe West Ham and Newcastle should have taken some of the panic off the Baggies and Black Cats, given the Hammers have now been left to re-sign a striker they released in the summer, and the Magpies continue to be something of joke on here and elsewhere… (get it?)
Fans at all those clubs and more will probably be happy with new faces and the change that promises – like Palace, who topped the lot with 16 signings this summer, to the point where two of those signings and a host of players involved in the opening weekend are going to have to sit on the sidelines until January after missing out on a place in Ian Holloway’s 25-man squad.
Making success of a Premier League campaign takes more than 24 hours of panic. It takes months of hard work – and for that, City’s reward should come long after Monday’s events have been forgotten.