Once more into the breach, dear friends

The Man In The Stands So here we go again, once more into the breach and all that - The Man has had the summer to lick his wounds, yet the new season still seems to come round quicker than swine flu.

The Man In The Stands

So here we go again, once more into the breach and all that - The Man has had the summer to lick his wounds, yet the new season still seems to come round quicker than swine flu.

Only this time round, a cantankerous flush beats an optimistic full house every time.

Since City's reverse-performance at The Valley - a game we decided to throw away within 30 seconds of being given a chance to do something (whisper it) 'successful' - there has been plenty to get annoyed about. You hope that will pave the way for the football to actually cheer us up.

That's right, at this moment The Man floats above the vast chasm of League One in a tight, under-resourced bubble of optimism - despite some more than questionable summer goings on.

Chippy's steadfast commitment to help the club out of the mire wasn't the moving-over-from-Oz-for-just-two-months risk we were originally told, more like 18 months. Presumably Gunny and Ian Butterworth knew the third part of the 'dream team' was set to outlast them by well over a year - but The Man doubts it.

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So as the club pretended to make a decision on Crook, it's hardly surprising 19 games of relegation-winning football were enough to see the other two stay as well. I'm assuming the contracts run until next summer, but you never can tell…

Then there was Michael Foulger's 'great rebate giveaway'. You waive one, the club gets one free. I'm not surprised the club asked - but given the vast majority of us turned it down, it was quite rightly a bridge too far.

All that said, The Man has issued rallying cries in the past and relegation hasn't consumed me into the big bitter nephew of Mr Bitter, Roy 'bitter' Keane, just yet.

The cut of our new chief's jib is almost too impressive to be true. You wonder if he really knew which club he was applying for - Norwich City's doesn't do these well researched, verging on ambitious appointments.

Joining the board smacks of past mistakes, but at least we have three newbies hoping to make better fist of things.

The Man only needs to walk past his barely read programmes from last season to be reminded of the glorious clashes we won't be good enough to enjoy this year - that hurts.

As for Gunny and Co? Three Norwich legends with a fortunate second bite at the cherry. They have a bit to gain, far more to lose.

My bubble is intact, just, but we're all used to seeing it burst before the kids go back to school. I can barely look, and the season hasn't started yet.

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The now customary wholesale changes of the summer have seen pretty much all of our “new heroes” move on to greener grass.

Last year's player of the season Lee Croft (I'm sorry, how? I assume a few bags of votes were lost alongside the applications for tickets to the game at Charlton) will be a big miss - especially at a level in which you get seven chances to score every game.

Sammy Clingan proved his third gear was about three gears higher than his team-mates - something he'll probably experience at Coventry as well. Not that you could expect him to spend another season faced with making up for his colleague's failings.

As for Darel Russell, I bet he's sitting around Colney happy in the knowledge he went from making a name for himself at Stoke to a) missing out on a big promotion bonus the following season, and b) proving the rule: never go back.

Judgement is being reserved on the 'class' of 2009 until, well, they play - but The Man gives credit to Gunny for at least ensuring we will be getting behind and on the backs of proper Norwich City players this season.

And credit also goes to little Wes Hoolahan. He went to Gunn after we were relegated, said he wanted to stay, and ironically now has the chance to become the much heralded hero he was introduced as.