Were we playing against Colchester United or Melchester Rovers?
Feature by John Maiden
Updated Monday, 10th August 2009
Canary Talk picks apart the bones of the weekend.
I was really glad to have Mark Burchett alongside me in the Carrow Road press box on Saturday. Not only does Mark type quicker than I do, he also knows all about the technical side of Information Technology.
But, when our report had been filed, I noticed that we had referred to Colchester as the 'Rovers', instead of 'United' and it struck me that this may have been because the speed with which the visitors were knocking in goals was reminiscent of those comic-book scorelines, in which the legendary 'Roy of the Rovers' would turn games around, inside the space of a few minutes, with a hatful of goals whenever the need arose.
However, at the post-match press conference Bryan Gunn was reminded, not of Melchester Rovers, but of Blackburn Rovers who walloped City 7-1 in the season that ended with the Canaries finishing third in the top flight, thereby qualifying for that famous cup run in Europe. On that day Gunny played in goal and Ian Crook and Ian Butterworth were also in the team. The Norwich Manager clearly saw this as a good omen for the rest of the season and right now most Norwich fans would settle for a place in the League One play-offs come the end of this season.
More immediately, apologies have been forthcoming from the management team and players, so it will be interesting to see how many of Saturday's starting line-up will be involved at Yeovil in Tuesday's Carling cup-tie. It is not unknown for managers to make changes for such games, even to a winning team, but with two more away fixtures in the League before the next home game on 22nd August, Gunny may decide that the players who failed to 'turn up' against the 'U's should be given one more chance to get their collective act together, before he wields the managerial axe.
By the way, before anyone goes back to the Colchester match report looking for the word 'Rovers' let me record my thanks to the Editor for spotting the Freudian slip and saving our blushes on a day when our red faces should have paled into insignificance alongside those of the poor Norwich players who were making history for all the wrong reasons.
If I had any lingering thoughts about making predictions, these were dispelled by the time Colchester's third goal was scored, but I do have a theory about what went wrong. In my humble opinion, expectations engendered by a successful pre-season had lifted the volume of support from the home fans to a level not experienced by most of the new players. Had this produced an early goal for Norwich, the players' nerves might have been calmed. But to go from ecstatic applause to jeers and booing within the space of a few minutes simply sapped the spirit and confidence of the same players who had excelled against Wigan Athletic the previous Saturday.
The only way to get this season back on track will be to kick off our next home game, against Wycombe Wanderers, with at least three points in the bag and a place in the next round of the Carling Cup. But that should not be construed as a prediction, because I will not be making another one of those until May 2010 at the very earliest...