Is it too early for a Swan song?
Feature by John Maiden
Updated Friday, 10th April 2009
John Maiden looks ahead to the Easter weekend.An away game against the Swans does not look like an easy way to pick up three points, but after the disappointing result against the Owls last Saturday, the Canaries will be hoping to add to their points tally before the visit of Watford on Easter Monday.
In fact, on the long journey down to South Wales, Norwich fans will no doubt be studying Swansea's points tally and will be encouraged to see that the Swans have drawn twenty league games this season. This could suggest that a point is a definite possibility and, after the splendid performance at Birmingham on the Canaries' last outing, an away win has to be on the cards.
All that is needed now is a referee who has put Norwich down on his pools coupon for an away win and the three points should be in the bag! Reluctantly, I have come to the conclusion that the reason for so many perverse refereeing decisions this season is that too many match officials have put big money on Norwich being relegated!
Is that any less likely than players at Accrington Stanley betting that their team would lose? Have there been any unusual betting patterns involving games in which the Canaries have been on the wrong end of a dodgy decision or two?
It will not have gone unnoticed by Norwich fans that after questioning the legality of Cameron Jerome's challenge on David Marshall at St Andrew's, David Mooney saw his equalising 'goal' against the Owls disallowed for an alleged foul on the Sheffield Wednesday keeper, who clearly could not believe his luck when referee Mick Russell awarded a free kick. Fans in the Barclay and the Snake Pit certainly seemed to think Mr Russell was taking the Mick!
At the post match press conference Bryan Gunn said that the assistant referee had actually flagged for a penalty, not realising that Mooney's header had crossed the line before a defender scooped it back into play. He was definitely not flagging for the minimal contact between young Korey Smith and Lee Grant!
It all added up to a comedy of errors, which did Norwich no favours whatsoever. However, in the words of the song, now associated with a certain Labour Party election rally, surely from now on: "Things can only get better!"
Even if the Canaries fail to get anything from the game at Swansea, it is much too early to talk of it as being their Championship swan song. Three points on Monday would put the Norwich players in just the right frame of mind for the trip to Portman Road and the prospect of a double over their local rivals.
I am sure Alan Lee is looking forward to that game as much as anyone in the Norwich camp, but it is to be hoped that he will have scored a goal or two for Norwich before then.