That was quite some week that was!
I suppose it was predictable. Hull arrived at Carrow Road not having won away for 30 odd games. Norwich were going well in fourth place so of course they defied the form book and beat us 2-0.
From a Norwich perspective it was a sorry tale of missed chances. I actually thought the first half was even steven. Norwich reject Jimmy Bullard played so deep he was virtually a member of Hull’s back four (or five) and City struggled to find a way through. In the second half Norwich dominated for the first 30 minutes and had a few good chances, the best of which was missed by Chris Martin.
Jimmy Bullard justified his reported salary of �50,000 per week by pushing further forward, and Hull scored twice. Their first was a comedy of errors and must have taken at least 6 deflections before going in. Their second was a very well bent free kick. As the lady sitting next to me so succinctly put it: “Jimmy Bullard wasn’t worth �50,000 per week. But he does have nice hair”.
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Fast forward to the Leicester game. I arrived early into Riverside for a spot of socialising, so I saw the game through rose wine tinted spectacles. I left the party early to make sure I arrived at the ground in time for the kick off and the first Leicester goal after 88 seconds. John Ruddy had a Robert Green moment as the ball trickled tantalisingly slowly between his legs and showed his frustration by kicking out at the goalpost. Luckily he didn’t injure himself or the goalpost and City clawed their way back into the game.
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Holty turned provider and Crofts provided the finish, Adam Drury scored his first goal for five years, but our hero was Wes, who not only tucked away a penalty, but produced a half volley which must be an early contender for goal of the season. And we saw ten minutes of debutant Steven Smith. On the minus side we let Leicester back into the game by allowing them to score on two more occasions, and our failure to kill them off led to a few heart stopping moments in the final ten minutes.
Both the game and the result were great entertainment for our biggest home gate of the season. I guess this was one of those games which fans love and at the same time cause managers to tear their hair out and suffer early heart attacks. Lambert showed the full gamut of emotions. He screamed at our defence when they made schoolboy errors and made more than usual use of the F word.
And as the Norwich goals went in he leapt up with as much genuine joy as any fan in the massed ranks of the City fans behind him. Third place and on course for a ticket to the promised land of the Premier League, the land of milk, honey, and unlimited television revenue?
Of course a manager’s perspective is slightly different from a fan’s. The Barclay taunted the Leicester manager with a prescient if not very original chant of “sacked in the morning” as the City goals went in, and after the dreaded chairman’s vote of confidence the Leicester board duly obliged two days later.
Full marks to Leicester for bringing so many fans to Carra Rud, and for supporting their team despite a demoralising 6-1 thrashing at Pompey only a couple of days before. Mr Sousa paid the price of failure and bottom place in the Championship after only nine games. The dividing line between success and failure is indeed a narrow one and football clubs’ thinking is increasingly very short term.
By Sunday Sven Goran Eriksson had taken the poisoned chalice and been unveiled as the new manager of the Foxes. This is his sixth managerial job in four years. I wonder how long he will stay at the Walkers Crisp Bowl? Nine games takes us up to just before Christmas. Will Nancy have time to unpack all her make-up before it is time to pack up and move on again? England, Manchester City, Notts County, Mexico, Ivory Coast, Leicester City, does anybody know if Sea Palling Under-14 Reserves need a new manager in the New Year?
And so to Ashton Gate, home of Bristol City, who have also been contributing to the Magic Roundabout managerial merry go round this season. City carried on in the West Country where they left off in East Anglia on Tuesday. Another Wes penalty. A brace for Simeon Jackson. A great performance. A great result. Third place in the league table at this stage of the season is a great achievement for a newly promoted team. Well done to all concerned. Guard against complacency, take nothing for granted, keep working and keep up the good work.
Memo to all Ipswich fans. I hope you stay up. And remember it could be worse. You could support Liverpool.