Norwich City will not sink like the Seasiders
Generally the non-City fans I speak to have been very complimentary about our start to the season.
While I love to chew the cud with fellow members of the yellow and green brethren, it is good to get an outsider’s view from time to time.
Before the campaign kicked off, there had been a split between those who thought we would be good enough to survive and those who thought we would go straight back down.
However, after the third victory in the last four matches even the sceptics are sitting up and taking notice of us.
One guy I was speaking to after the weekend praised the Canaries for the result and performance against Swansea and had obviously been impressed by what he had seen on Match of the Day.
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But he then continued by saying: “You’re doing pretty well – but then so were Blackpool and look what happened to them,”
That got me thinking – and delving into the record books last year.
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- 2 Norwich City transfer rumours: Canaries interested in Luton midfielder
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- 5 'I didn't know if I'd make it' - City academy product ends over 1,000 days of injury woe
- 6 February fixture changes for Canaries
- 7 Dowell hoping to make more happy FA Cup memories with Canaries
- 8 Patience a virtue for City striker after injury had threatened his Premier League pursuit
- 9 Soto's loan at Telstar ends as City close on work permit for USA striker
- 10 Morris hopes to have found a 'home' after leaving Norwich City for Barnsley
I would agree that there are comparisons with City and Ian Holloway’s boys.
We both got promoted with very low expectations from pundits that we would survive.
We have already won plenty of friends with our attitude and work rate – and certainly the Seasiders were a favourite with neutrals in their time in the Premier League.
OK, the comparisons may stop with Olly and PL!
Anyway, the thing that prompted the comment was that they got off to a flying start and then tailed off and obviously ultimately went down.
So are the signs that we have followed their great baptism – but will our bubble burst as their beach ball did?
Before I looked at the facts, my impression was that Blackpool had made even more of an impression in the opening weeks than we have.
Therefore I surprised myself to discover that after nine games, the Seasiders had 10 points.
Obviously PL’s team has already gathered 11 from eight matches – so even a defeat at Anfield would mean we would we in a better position. And who says we can’t go up there and get something on Saturday?
I think the reason Blackpool perhaps got so many plaudits was that they won 4-0 on the opening day at Wigan, got a 2-0 victory at Newcastle and then won 2-1 at Liverpool, and of course their manager grabbed plenty of his own headlines – and fans.
As Mr Lambert is much more restrained, the credit he gets is for what he has achieved on the pitch rather than any jokes he cracks.
Remember, Blackpool got stuffed 6-0 at Arsenal and 4-0 at Chelsea.
After game number nine, their run to the new year then went win, draw, loss, draw, win, draw, win, win, loss, loss.
So after 19 games – ie half time – they had 25 points.
Would we settle for that? I would say the answer would be almost certainly yes.
Of course the rest is history. Blackpool only managed 14 points in the last 19 games.
And that’s why I think we will conquer their efforts and stay up.
We are looking really solid and comfortable (rather than up and down) and the stayability we are displaying is very encouraging.
Finally, I love recalling things about City that I had forgotten – and a colleague pointed out to me that 20 years ago we beat Otelul Galati 4-0 in a pre-season friendly with a hat-trick from (at the time) record signing Darren Beckford and a strike from Ruel Fox secured the win.
Yes, they are the Romanian side which Manchester United only managed to get two goals against on Tuesday night (and they were from penalties).
So that makes us twice as good as Man Utd, eh?!
• Hero of the week: Steve Morison was my clear man of the match on Saturday and PL was exactly right to be so glowing in his praise for such a fantastic number nine performance (from a number five!). But even though he was pipped to the post to be the star man on the day, Anthony Pilkington is my hero of the week. He must have had countless sleepless nights after THAT miss at Old Trafford – and to bounce back and get a match-winning brace was superb.
• Villain of the week: The bad boy award is shared out this week between all those Premier League club owners who want to put an end to relegation from the top flight. The chief executive of the League Managers Association has revealed the plan – which I consider completely barmy. Even if it happened this year and it meant City were guaranteed staying at the top table I would be bitterly opposed. Every club has the right to get to where we are – and no one has the right to stay there.
• Highlight of the week: As daft as it sounds, my highlight of the week was a pretty dull final 10 minutes. Of course the opening 10 were fantastic as we got those two goals in lightning quick time. But I was really, really pleased with the way we saw out the game and stunted Swansea from being able to get back in the match. While we love a barnstorming finish, securing a victory with no late scares was a delight.
• Funniest moment of the week: I’ve allowed my son Tom to pick this but it really made me laugh. He and some mates stayed in the city after the game on Saturday and got some grub before heading back to Dereham on the bus. Another City fan got on the X1 and clearly had enjoyed a liquid tea to celebrate the 3-1 victory. The well oiled supporter entertained the fellow passengers with a range of Canaries songs along the A47. Hilarious stuff I’m told!
• Prediction of the week: I’m not completely sure when the result of the manager of the month is announced, but I’d say Paul Lambert will win it. Alan Pardew is probably the main rival for the gong and he has made an excellent start to the season. But I’d suggest the judges just might be persuaded by three wins out of four matches to come down on the side of PL.