The dark art required for Norwich City to establish themselves in the Premier League
Let’s get one thing clear from the outset: few things are actually ‘established’ in the Premier League – and if they are, you rarely need to use the word. No points awarded here for suggesting Manchester United are an established top-flight side.
So while I can see why the word is used across the league to produce visions of the future, the reality of whether a club is ‘established’ is nothing more than a judgement call that can unravel in a matter of months.
Effectively, Norwich City could already call themselves an established Premier League side if they wanted. They have been around the block once – which should mean a second stab in a row for Panini sticker collectors, only I think it’s more of a card-trading game these days.
And there is tangible proof on the pitch too.
No naive mistakes brought on by the horror of top-flight refereeing. We are now well versed as Marks Clattenburg and Halsey go about their usual business – even if it’s still hard to take sometimes.
The Fulham horror show was an obvious false start, with the conceded penalties more subtle than the defensive errors that kicked off City’s top-flight return 12 months ago.
In many ways, that was the most reassuring sight from White Hart Lane on Saturday – seeing the Canaries match what they did in Easter, rather than the youthful exuberance of this time last season. It showed just how far City have come – albeit still with a few questions over where it goes.
- 1 WOLVES 1 CANARIES 1 - Key moments, ratings and stats
- 2 Robin Sainty: The current situation at Norwich City is toxic
- 3 'It's something' - Fans react to City's point at Wolves
- 4 Paddy's Pointers: Wolves 1-1 Norwich City
- 5 Spud Thornhill: Let's make sure we're Norwich City united!
- 6 Former City star's wife tells of player's devastating dementia battle
- 7 Follow live updates from Wolves v Norwich City
- 8 Ex-Canary Whittaker excited for Fleetwood assistant role
- 9 City boss in the market for another 'Buendia-style' creative spark
- 10 STARTING XIs: Normann returns for City's Wolves visit
Swap that for Southampton, whose 3-2 defeat at home to United was as predictable as they come – especially as Saints led 2-1.
West Ham may just about avoid such naivety given the man they have in charge and their rather recent top-flight experience. But both Saints and Reading will have learning to do – and like City and Swansea last season, will have to do it quickly.
Southampton have spent a huge amount of money and may well be too volatile behind the scenes to follow last season’s survival model. Nigel Adkins is and will be a man under pressure.
Whereas, it still surprises me how much money Norwich spent this summer: a good amount on players starting to prove they are worth the investment.
So much so, they are almost establishing themselves.