Twelve reasons for Norwich City fans to be full of the festive spirit
I know the first day of Christmas is strictly speaking on December 25, but I’m allowing myself a bit of journalistic licence and doing my own version of the Twelve Days of Christmas which begins today.
12 – Delia has said it on many occasions – and of course she is spot on. The amazing Norwich City fans really are the 12th man for the team. The support remains incredible, no more so than the following at Swansea. I didn’t hear a figure for the number of fans but the travelling army could be really clearly heard on the radio and they made a great sight on the TV. Players continue to say what a difference the supporters make home and away.
11 – A huge part of the success to me this season comes from Norwich being a team and not 11 individuals. If you look at other sides who are struggling in the top flight, they may have bigger stars on paper – but the spirit and togetherness among Hughton’s men shines through.
10 – Ok, so we lost to Villa and I for one am really disappointed at the lost opportunity of going to Wembley. But to have gone 10 games without defeat was a real achievement. Who would have predicted that after the 4-1 reversal at Stamford Bridge? It included, let’s not forget, home games against Arsenal and Man United and visits to Everton and Swansea. Another 4-1 defeat ended the sequence – so it’s time to begin another 10 games without a loss.
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9 – Number Nine, Grant Holt. Need I say more? He may not have scored as many goals as last year, but his contribution to the team remains massive. Holty is a leader and an inspiration and when every team’s fans seem to hate him, it shows the impact he has. Legend.
8 – Before Saturday we had scored eight goals at home in seven games this term. Prolific? Probably not. But it has enabled City to net 14 points – which is no mean return. The number of goals going in also has to be put in the context of the seven conceded – and remember five of those came in one catastrophic 90 minute spell.
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7 – I don’t want to be one of those awful people who keeps going on about Aston Villa. However, despite the cup loss on Tuesday, it is very reassuring to see us sitting seven points ahead of Lambert’s men in the league table.
6 – While we are all very upbeat about our league position and there is no reason to think we can’t equal or better last season’s league finish, survival is still the number one priority. With 25 points on the board already, five wins – or the equivalent – should do it.
5 – Sebastien Bassong. What a man, what a number five. Strong, quick, a great organiser at the back – and prolific in front of goal. A legend in the making.
4 – Only four defeats in 17 league games is pretty amazing – and none since October 6. Fantastic stuff.
3 – And if only the season had started after that defeat at Chelsea. If it was the case, City would be in third place in the Premier League table – and only the Manchester giants ahead of them.
2 – It is going to be a long and tough winter and we will need every player available. So the fact that only Bradley Johnson has had more than two bookings so far could be crucial.
1 – And finally, one Chrissy Hughton, there’s only one Chrissy Hughton. I had a real glow during the Swansea game when I was driving through Dereham and heard that chant just after the third goal went in.
• TOP OF THE BILL STATUS WAS THE LOGICAL CHOICE
Regular readers of this column will know I have dished out a fair bit of less than glowing comment about various football pundits, especially those on Match Of The Day.
Most fans I speak to believe that in general they favour the “big boys,” who tend to get a disproportionately large amount of coverage.
There must have been a danger of City trending on Twitter a week ago – not because of the victory at Swansea but because the game was picked to be first on MOTD.
It was really the only choice with seven goals and so much excitement – but even so it was still a shock.
As if we hadn’t had enough surprises for one day, we were then treated to Mr Hansen using the phrase “sensational” to describe the Canaries.
Yes, you really did hear it right!
The praise was glowing – and quite rightly so. Yes it was still a slight shock to hear it.
Mr Hansen’s BBC sofa pal and old centre half buddy Mr Lawrenson joined in the love-in with City.
In his national newspaper column last week, Lawro described CH as doing a “magnificent job” and deserving of “an immense amount of credit.”
He highlighted the Canaries boss’ success in sorting out the defence and using Wes off Holty plus developing pleasing football.
“I like him too because he doesn’t get carried away win, lose or draw. If they finish 17th that is success for them. But he’ll just keep them focused on the next game,” added Lawro.
Maybe the recognition we deserve is finally being handed out.
• Hero of the week: It’s been quite a year for Steven Whittaker. He was at Rangers when the financial difficulties kicked off and came to Norwich but had to endure injury problems. Whittaker then got himself in to the team and I think he has got better and better – and what a fantastic goal at the Liberty! If a Brazilian right back had scored that we would still be seeing the re-runs. Whittaker is still yet to be in a losing Norwich side this season.
• Highlight of the week: Win at home and draw away is always a good recipe for success in any league. During City’s recent unbeaten run that has been pretty much the formula – and so to get that first away win of the campaign was a brilliant bonus.
• Funniest moment of the week: I could plump for seeing Mr Wenger’s face on the touchline after the penalty shoot out defeat at Bradford. However, I have to go for the IP5W1CH fans who said they would make the play-offs after their win on Saturday. Hilarious thought.