Spread the love


Lifelong Norwich City fan, and author of several excellent books on the club, Edward Couzens-Lake, looks back at a traumatic year or so at Carrow Road, and expresses hopes of a new dawn under Neil Adams in the Championship. There’s also a massive discount offer on Ed’s ‘Fantasy Football’ hardback (£5), which tells the story of The Canaries’ best ever season back in 1992/93.

 Whisper it quietly, but the Canaries are quietly content with our start to the Championship season. And let’s face it, we didn’t have to do much to improve upon the misadventures of last season.

Those self-styled footballing critics who demonised the club’s hierarchy for sacking Chris Hughton had clearly not seen us play over the previous two years or so.

A 7-0 mauling at Manchester City; 5-1 at Liverpool; 4-1 at Villa; Lambert and all for goodness sake. All that, and a fondness for binary-yep, a run of sixteen games where our ‘Goals For’ column was 1,0,1,0,1,1,0,0,1,0,1,0,0,1,1,1. Dour, lifeless, unimaginative, negative, heartless, hopeless football.

Eighteen wins in 70 Premier League games for Chris Hughton. And we were criticised for sacking him? The only criticism the Board deserved is that it should have been done a lot earlier.

Nice guy? Undoubtedly. Respected and liked within the game? Definitely. The right man for the job at Norwich City? Unquestionably, as it turned out, not.

Last season’s relegation ended up being so predictable and inevitable that our final Premier League games were not hallmarked by tear-stained faces and banners of protest amongst the faithful. Just a grim realisation that our fate was well deserved. The subsequent appointment of youth team boss, Neil Adams, had a grim reality about it as well. Club soundbites suggested that all of Europe had been scoured in the search for a new coach and that myriad names had been considered, talked up, interviewed.

Lennon, Mackay and Zola were the frontrunners, whilst some, deluded and desperate, suggested we make a play for former boss Paul Lambert, then experiencing difficulties of his own at Villa Park.

Yet Adams, the quiet and gently spoken man, who’d led his team of hopeful locals and other teams cast-offs to FA Youth Cup glory against Chelsea’s no-expense-spared teenage elite, got the nod – appointed on a platform of attacking football, unity, team spirit and opportunities for his young tyros to go all the way.

Whether ‘all the way’ means an immediate return to the Premier League come May remains to be seen. But the signs are good.

John Ruddy, recklessly abandoned by Roy Hodgson remains, as does Nathan Redmond – likewise Gary Hooper; 19 goals in 35 games his last haul at this level. Ex-Brentford loanee, Lewis Grabban, has done much to exorcise the memory of van Wolfswinkel, whilst Alex Tettey continues to impress in midfield. And look out for Josh Murphy, one of Adams’ successes from the youth team and a player who may well end up playing for a top four club one day.

Yes, he could be that good.

We travel to Griffin Park with hope and expectation. Hope that we can win and expectation that we will, whatever happens, have at least played with that objective in mind.

And, against a team with a coach whose idea of how to play the game mirrors that of our own – it should be a good game and one to enjoy. Which, for us, is still something of a novelty.

Edward Couzens-Lake


Buy ‘Fantasy Football’ for just a fiver (this week only) by clicking here.


Gossy The Autobiography is also available, along with Ed’s other books, on Amazon by clicking here.