Are Norwich City fans looking at the bigger picture?
Friday saw Norwich City release a giant 360-degree photo of Carrow Road taken during the Boxing Day defeat to Fulham. The aim is to encourage supporters to tag themselves in the picture with every tag generating a donation of £1 to the club's Sporting Light appeal.
December 31st, 2013
In the picture the majority of home fans look glum, annoyed and frustrated. Some with head in hands, many with arms crossed. You could be forgiven for thinking that the photo was taken during the second half when Fulham controlled the game or even after Scott Parker’s late winner for the visitors. But it was actually taken 10 minutes after kick-off – right in the middle of a 20-minute purple patch for City and just one minute before Gary Hooper found the net via a massive deflection from Aaron Hughes to give City the lead, and his fourth home strike in as many games.
That City fans should look so fed up even at 0-0 and after only 10 minutes paints a bigger picture, not only of this drab season but of a disappointing 2013. Those demanding to be entertained (and at £45 a ticket for the Fulham game who could blame them?) will always be challenged by calls of Premier League survival being top priority regardless of how that is achieved.
Every time it looks like Chris Hughton has discovered the magic formula his players follow it up with a below-par performance. After a run of three wins in the last seven games and unbeaten in the last three, it looked like Hughton’s Canaries were getting back on track. Many would consider a Carrow Road fixture against Fulham – a side in the bottom three having already lost 12 games this season – the closest thing to a home banker in the top flight. However, Norwich failed to build on Hooper’s opener, instead allowing a five-man Fulham midfield to dominate the game.
Leroy Fer has impressed this season and is challenging Jonny Howson – sorely missed on Thursday – for the Player of the Season award but both he and Bradley Johnson were overrun in midfield. Injuries to Alex Tettey and Howson have exposed City’s lack of depth in the centre of the pitch and Hughton played the two upfront that many fans have been desperate to see all season but it was obvious to all that changes needed to be made to match the visitors’ numbers in the middle.
With the bottom three all winning – and all wining away – Norwich City need to find some momentum if they are to avoid a relegation battle as we hit the halfway stage of the season. It has not gone unnoticed by many City fans that the team’s last four games include three of the current top four and Manchester United. You will do well to find a tougher run-in than that.
On the plus side, record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel is back upfront after a lengthy absence with a toe injury and hopefully Jonny Howson – the man driving City forward in recent weeks – isn’t too far behind him. There’s also the small matter of a transfer window opening in four days where Hughton will surely go after that winger he failed to sign in the summer to give the front men some much-needed service.