Canary Corner – Part 20


The middle part of any season is often the most crucial. It can really determine how a season is going to pan out and decide how likely it is there will be trophies or whatever success you crave at the end of it. In this update, I came very close to doing something I haven’t done for many years. My finger hovered over the resign button.

It didn’t start badly. A handsome win over Wolves where the gloss was only taken off in the closing moments had us in decent shape in the top 5.

Whilst the 2nd stage of the Champions League saw us dominate Celtic without being able to put them away. This will be a recurring theme.

I even got £6m for Marcus Bent, he was disappointing. But then we lost to Crewe.

We recovered with a win over Watford, even if we now have no left backs available.

Who needs left backs when you have Darren Purse? This late equaliser gave us actually a very good result and ended our European football for 2007 on a high.

Then things began to turn sour. Here Magnus Hedman turned into Lev Yashin. It’s a ten from Len

Set backs happen all the time in football, I can handle that. We rarely lose at home but Man City said that. Hamilton Ricard remains a nuisance

Losing the goalkeeper is not good, but a Robbie Fowler double sees us enjoy Monday Night Football at Craven Mansion.

Robbie likes to have Christmas off so he put on a great limp after we went 2-0 up here, but still, a wins a win. Esteban Cambiasso arrives for £2.5m as his contract was unprotected and he’s obviously great.

Quite why my players take it in turns to score braces I don’t know but here’s another. Happy Christmas

Newly promoted Stoke are up next and they go down to 10 men. They take the lead and Roy Carroll is like…Maik Taylor? I don’t know. He saves everything. Keane equalises and Cambiasso rams in the winner in a pulsating last 10 minutes. Our blushes are spared.

Scott McDonald is the new Hamilton Ricard. He always scores. It’s another home loss to supposedly weaker opposition.

Hartlepool in the cup and I feel my team need a rest. They’ve played twice a week for most of the season. We haven’t lost an FA Cup tie for 2 seasons.

Until we visit Victoria Park

The replacement keeper, Kallqvist, has a nightmare. Bring back Nigel Martyn.

We’re off to Millwall and 2-0 down on 63 minutes. I think this is my lowest ebb. Not the score necessarily but we conceded to Quinton Fortune and there’s little future for me after that. Anyway, Cambiasso, sweet innocent Cambiasso, pulls one back and Dean Richards gets sent off. Cambiasso goes mad and pulls me back from the brink. Mike Duff always knows how to cheer me up too.

Cambiasso looks a find. We celebrate by losing to Wes Brown.

It’s a similar story at home to Arsenal, but Richard Wright is late into a challenge and sees red. Kennedy does the rest before Harbuzi, who has gone missing this season, sticks away the winner. We’re still in the top 4 but miles off the pace.

Harbuzi and Gudjonsson had a lot of bids for them in the summer and their form has dipped dramatically. It’s a real shame. We have little money for reinforcements as we leak money like nothing I’ve ever seen. Just expand the stadium. Do something. Do anything.

Off we go to get humped by Leeds.

We head to Birmingham and find ourselves 2-0 down inside 17 minutes. What has become of us? We fight back to lead 3-2 but then Choutos completes his hat-trick and it’s just a point. Not our year.

With the league well out of reach and both cups already exited, we face the joy of back to back Champion League games. Cambiasso isn’t allowed to play but Fowler now is, so that’s something at least.

The trip to Roma on this game is not one I relish. They’re just so good. Totti scores twice but Darren Purse is proving to be at least good at something (not defending) and lovely Kenners equalises. It’s a good result.

Can we back that up at the stadium formerly known as Fortress Carrow?

Can we shite. Do Roma really need Ronaldo?

We’ve still got a chance of qualifying, all we need to do is win at Celtic and at home to PSV. “All”

We do at least finish on a high, Chelsea are swept aside but this sort of performance has been all too rare

As a result, we sit 4th, 15 points off top spot but well clear of 5th at the moment.

We still score a lot of goals but nowhere near as many as we used to. We still can’t defend. Those two things combined is probably the reason for our downfall.

I think this will be my last season here. I’m starting to feel like I’ve taken them as far as they’ll go, the scouts recommend me players who get 5 stars but when they come to actually putting on the famous yellow they’re all rubbish. Agali is the latest striker who can’t hit a barn door and Wei Du is more like Wei Don’t (defend). I’ve been working on that one. Delhommeau is homesick and Mexes kicks off whenever I ask him to learn how to play centre half. He’s just a sweeper. Nobody plays a sweeper, it’s not 1990 now Philippe.

The whole lot of this squad sicken me. Except Richard Woodrow, the Goalkeeper/Midfielder. He can stay. Hell I hope he replaces me when I eventually leave. So at the end of the season if the ground expands I’m going to have a ruthless clear out. If it doesn’t I think the end has come. We’ve got a Champions League to win yet though, so I’ll see you next week for our inevitable group stage exit.