Things Are Gathering Pace
After Tuesday`s excellent win against Celtic things have suddenly gathered pace at Carrow Road.
The performance itself sounded decent enough with Chris Hughton putting out two separate teams, one for each half.
The one nil victory appeared well deserved and it was pleasing to see Grant Holt notch his first goal of the summer. I know the Celtic lads will bemoan a couple of efforts hitting the woodwork and victories at this stage mean very little, but it`s nice all the same.
The only real downer of the night was the loss of Steven Whittaker after 20 minutes. The ex-Rangers man was already playing the part of a pantomime villain when he turned his ankle while making a big effort to make a chance for Steve Morison.
It looked fairly innocuous but these things always do. I remember James Vaughan going down innocuously last season. Whether or not it`s serious, we`ll just have to wait and see. There isn`t any news out of the medical room as yet.
After the game, the City manager was asked about the progress of our recent bid for Leeds` Robert Snodgrass - he was non-committal and played it with a straight bat.
Yesterday though, things developed at a pace. Sky Sports first reported that "Snoddy", as Leeds fans seem to call him, was on his way to Norwich for talks.
Good news I thought. Next, Neil Warnock was bemoaning the efforts he had made to keep the player at Leeds. Apparently he was to be their highest paid player, Captain and they would build a team around him but he`d "had his head turned."
Within the hour, I started to notice comments appearing on Leeds message boards, forums and press reports of the story in general.
The content was generally anti Ken Bates but there were also a few ungracious comments about the player. "He`s not all that", "He`s a good player but not a superb player", "Norwich will be relegated anyway and we`ll soon be back where we belong…" etc, etc, etc.
It was the same when Bradley Johnson and Johnny Howson both defected to the yellow & green.
I`ve read enough forums and been watching football long enough to know disappointment and bitterness in fans when I see, read, hear it.
Johnson and Howson have both been excellent acquisitions for Norwich City and it looks as though "Snoddy" will be the same. The bottom line is that he will be better paid, playing in the best league in the world with a great club.
I know the Leeds lads will dispute a lot of that and they`ll say we`re "not as big as Leeds" but that matters little at this juncture. We can offer this hungry, ambitious player a bigger stage and more cash in his pocket. Leeds United are still floundering in the mire that is the Championship. It`s a graveyard for once great clubs and as we at Norwich know, it is a devil of a league to get out of.
The fact that if Snodgrass joins us, we will have three of their best midfield players will irk them even more. The old "What if we hadn`t let them go" question will again lurk in their minds. "Snoddy" will no doubt have been in contact with his old team mates and I`m sure they will have sold the place to him. Fingers crossed it all goes without a hitch.
Only a couple of hours had gone by when it was announced by the press in the North East that Michael Turner was having a medical at Norwich.
I`m also quite pleased about this news. I think that in Daniel Ayala and Ryan Bennett we have two good, young, central defensive prospects. But they also need an older head to help bring them along.
It had looked as though Curtis Davies would be that man and Turner has sort of come out of left field but I`m happy enough.
Turner played the last 20 games of last season after Martin O`Neill`s appointment as Sunderland boss. With Turner in the last year of his contract and O`Neill reunited with Carlos Cuellar and Sunderland with an abundance of centre backs, it always looked likely that one of Bramble, Kilgallon or Turner may move on.
Titus Shambles or Kilgallon and I would`ve been very disappointed, but Turner? I think that`s alright. He`s 28 now and played in the Premier League for both Hull and Sunderland. He`s got just the right sort of experience and is the right age to help our young prospects out.
It`s become clear to me that while Leon Barnett has his uses, Elliot Ward is not up to the task. I stuck up for him a bit last year when he first came back from injury and thought he`d done okay, but I changed my mind after seeing him attempt to play Luis Suarez.
I know that Luis Suarez is world class but there are a lot of that calibre of player in our league and you need to be able to handle them a bit better. Maybe I`m being too harsh but I`ll feel a lot happier when our defensive ranks are reinforced. A new left back should also be on the list and maybe Hughton`s still looking at a bid for Davies…
I`d still like us to get another striker on board as well though. If and it`s seemingly a big "IF," James Vaughan can stay fit then it`ll be like having a new player anyway. But if Vaughan breaks down again then we could do with another option.
Neither of the two deals mentioned above have been confirmed at the time of writing but both will strengthen our squad if they go through. Chris Hughton seems to be doing alright to my mind with his acquisitions policy and he was praised by Holty in an interview on TalkSport this morning.
Holt talked about being glad to get things sorted out with his new deal and sounded as pleased as the rest of us that everything worked out for the best. He`s here for another three years and that means I shall no doubt be taking money from my hapless work colleagues as they once again bet against the big man.
As I say, things are gathering pace very nicely.
In Hughton (and Holt) we trust.