Terri Westgate: Don''t be fooled by stats that paint this season as progress
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
There is a saying that you can prove anything by statistics.
This is because there are many different ways to interpret a set of data to demonstrate the point you want to make. On Sunday Norwich managed to gain a draw away to a Wolves team with nothing to play for, and that extra singular point meant that we had exceeded the total from our last top flight misadventure - and with a whole game to spare.
Given that we were already relegated and still firmly rooted to the bottom of the table, this feels like the very essence of trying to find a positive from a bad situation. Although it is true to say our points tally has improved, for the fans going to the games it certainly does not feel like an upward trajectory as we head back down to the Championship.
This has become a season to forget for followers of the Canaries, and looking at the empty seats at Carrow Road last weekend it would appear some supporters had already begun the process of erasure. You cannot blame fans for missing games following the confirmation of our relegation.
It costs time and money to attend matches, with hope gone and entertaining football lacking, it’s not surprising people choose to spend their afternoons elsewhere.
Whereas we have a point more than two years ago, the goals column has yet to catch up. If we score three against Spurs in our final game we will equal the previous count, but we’d need to win 8-0 for our goal difference to have improved. I think we can all agree that is highly unlikely, particularly with Tottenham still to secure a fourth-placed finish.
Also victory in our final encounter could lift us off the bottom and into the heady heights of 19th - a post-relegation target set by head coach Dean Smith.
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- 3 'Seriously special' - City fans rave over new home kit
- 4 City gem Aarons advised not to follow the money
- 5 Neil hones in on City Championship reunion
- 6 New Norwich City deal will allow pre-match Carrow Road light shows
- 7 Teemu Pukki's future: The inside track from Finland
- 8 Chris Sutton: The City trio who need to perform in pre-season
- 9 'Teemu has a desire to play as high as possible' - Pukki's agent on City future
- 10 City announce academy pre-season schedule
However, this is only achievable because of the dreadful campaign of Watford, our companions in misery. We both dropped out of the Premier League in 2020 in the bottom two places, but last time the Hornets managed 34 points compared to their current 23. So, a higher position is only possible because another team has got worse.
There is one bright spot however in this murky gloom of numbers, and his name is Teemu Pukki.
The super Finn scored Norwich’s solitary goal at Molineux, bringing his total for the club to 78, and taking him up to joint sixth place in the Canaries list of all-time top goalscorers. If he nabs one of those eight required finishes next weekend, he’ll overtake City legend Grant Holt. If he gets his second Premier League hat-trick on Saturday he’ll surpass 1930s’ Jack Vinall and claim position number five.
In such a poor, low scoring season, for Pukki to be racing up the chart is quite remarkable. He is the one player for which it’s difficult to apportion any blame for the disastrous campaign.
He definitely would have got my vote for player of the season. However, the opportunity to do so passed me by, as for some reason the club decided not to mention the poll was open on social media, and barely promoted it elsewhere. I can only hope that some of my fellow fans were more resourceful than me, and that our number 22 takes home the Barry Butler trophy for a second time.
This is just one of a series of communication breakdowns between the club and supporters in recent weeks.
The feeling of unity that existed during the Farke era appears lost. The fan base seems fractured, the City board and exec team inconspicuous by their absence. Everyone just wants this season to be over, no matter what the statistics tell us.
We now need a summer of reflection and conciliation, so we can look forward to a fresh start with renewed hope when things kick off again in July.
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