There’s a part of me that rather wishes I were writing a book on this club. Here is a very brief precis of their past season and a bit:
Glenn Roeder gets sacked about last Christmas for poor results – the team are fannying about round the relegation zone – and more specifically for being an odious tool with the supporters (criticising them for criticising him), generally being sarky, and living up to the Rodent tag.
Legendary goalkeeper Bryan Gunn is appointed caretaker and achieves a tremendous and untypical result in his first game in caretaker charge by beating fellow strugglers Barnsley 4-0. Gunn ‘handed reigns’. Twenty-odd games later, Norwich are relegated: in a must win final match of the season they are 3-0 down at (already relegated) Charlton Athletic before thirty minutes are up; meanwhile fellow strugglers Barnsley win away at Plymouth and survive with ease. This drops Norwich into the Third Division for the first time in fifty years. By a majority of about 90% fans say: thanks for the experiment with Gunny, now get a proper manager in.
Board appoint Gunn full time. After completing this work, both chairman and chief exec resign by jumping before they’re pushed.
In the close season Gunny brings in twelve new players and they shape up well by winning most of the friendlies. But then they lose the opener proper 1-7 to Colchester United (0-5 at half-time) to record biggest home defeat ever. Three days later, on a Tuesday night, they beat Yeovil 4-0 away in Carling Cup. Team stays down in west country, as following fixture is at Exeter. Friday afternoon, twenty-four hours before a match, the new chief exec/chairman sacks Gunn. Having no wheels down in Devon, the legendary keeper apparently makes his own way back to Norfolk by train. Team draw with Exeter, though football matches are, by now, something of a side show.
The following Monday, Norwich appoint Paul Lambert as new manager. Nine days earlier it was Lambert who was in charge of the 7-1-Norwich City-thrashing Colchester United. (Are you keeping up? Or, as the title voiceover to Soap used to say: Confused? You soon will be!). Lambert watches his new side lose 2-1 away at Brentford the following night. In his first full match in charge Lambert makes 6 changes: Norwich beat Wycombe Wanderers (who Lambert formerly managed) 5-2 to record first League win of season.
Last night Lambert made 6 more changes which only served to see Norwich lose 4-1 at home to ‘Premiership Sunderland’ in the Carling Cup. Once more they were 3-0 down in thirty minutes, the first goal down to an all too typical ‘clownshoes-falling-on-arse’ act by defender Gary Docherty. ‘The Doc’ is worst player I have ever seen, but until last week he remained club captain – The Doc got himself sent off by rugby-tackling a Burnley player in a match that finally earned Nigel Worthington the sack a couple of seasons and four managers ago (opening goal scored by ex-Stokie ‘Super’ James O’Connor). Just before the end of last night’s game a youngster called Mickey Spillane was sent off for clattering Sunderland striker Fraiser Campbell, who in turn clattered Norwich keeper Alnwick, who retired with a nasty cut to his face. Having used all their subs Norwich were forced to put an outfield player between the sticks. Another young lad called Cody McDonald (who was putting up scaffolding for the London Underground twelve months ago, unless he was otherwise engaged playing for Dartford) took up the green jersey. At about 5 ft nothing, and with a tattoo of his date of birth on his neck, McDonald seemed quite easily the shortest player on the pitch, so naturally the job was his. He did, however, keep a clean sheet for the last five minutes plus stoppage time; recent events have seen Norwich City fans develop enough black humour that they were in quick to sing, ‘England’s, England’s Number One…’ to Mr McDonald…
On the upside, they’ve seen 20 goals in three matches at Carrow Road: at some clubs, fans won’t see that this side of 2010