There were many things about Saturday that made it a good day for both me and Norwich City.
The first of course was another win, albeit by the now familiar one goal to nil. The opposition though really weren`t up to a lot, were they?
I thought that Norwich had the measure of them from minute one and Rudy Gestede`s reckless lunge on Grant Hanley only made a difficult task even harder for the visitors.
After he went off though, they basically withdrew into their shells and made little or no effort to attack, putting 9 men behind the ball and leaving only Adama Traore up top on his own, waiting for balls over the top that almost never came.
Granted, the game could`ve been different if Tom Trybull hadn`t popped up with a rather special strike from 20 yards, just on the stroke of half time that ultimately settled the match, but after conceding, it really surprised me that Tony Pulis` men seemed to adopt a “well done lads, we only lost by one goal” attitude.
Our old mate Patrick Bamford was as ineffective as ever and helped with a moment of mirth after the game outside the Barclay, when a Middlesbrough fan asked me “How much did you lot pay for Oliveira?”
“Five million” I replied.
“What a waste of money” he said, only to be chastised by his mate who told him “We paid fifteen for Assombalonga, so shut up.”
“Exactly” was my response.
As they walked off, my lad said to me “Didn`t they pay six million for Patrick Bamford?”
“Yes they did” I chuckled.
The biggest cheer that Middlesbrough got was when Bamford was replaced to ironic cheers, followed by full on appreciation type applause for his replacement, Jonny Howson, and that was all from the City faithful.
On 52 minutes there was the fan organised minute`s applause for Michelle Dack, a nice and worthy tribute, well done all.
The most interesting moments of the game though were when Moritz Leitner and Onel Hernandez were introduced. Leitner was given 30 minutes as a clearly struggling James Maddison`s replacement and boy, what a player he looks.
He has that air of confidence and class that top players always seem to exude and immediately set about running the game from midfield. Granted, that against ten men and a seemingly unwilling to compete ten men at that, his task was easier but he really showed his passing range and it looks like he`s going to be a bit special for us. Hernandez only had a ten minute cameo but a direct run and shot showed what we`ve bought. He`s pretty rapid and direct.
My colleague, Hunter Yeats from Chile, was over on business with his friend Juan Pablo and Hunter is a huge Norwich fan, as you will know if you read VN regularly. My Co-Ed LeeBoz sourced them some tickets and we all met up in the Gunn Club afterwards for a couple of drinks and we managed to grab a few moments with man of the match Tom Trybull.
We got some photos and were able to congratulate him on his goal, new contract and impending marriage next month – he was polite, friendly and a top man. Talking about that contract, it`s a great bit of business to have found such a player on a free and then signed him for four years, also a relief to have tied Super Tom down.
The Gunn Club also contained the goalkeeper who it was named after and as we were leaving I saw a small boy and his father approach Bryan, with the boy asking for an autograph.
“You`re too young to remember me” said Bryan.
“You`re Angus` dad” came the reply from the small one.
Bryan laughed and said “That`s what I`m most famous for these days.”
Then it was back to Lee`s for Chinese and a catch up, as well as lots of laughs from Juan Pablo, who`s girlfriend Andrea has recently moved into his apartment. While he is away, she is re-decorating and has bought a new bed, despite promising she`d change nothing when she first moved in!
“She wants either a baby or a dog and asks me about three times a week” he laughed, “I might get the dog” he added.
“That will only buy you some time” we all replied “Then you`ll end up with a dog and a baby!”
Great company, good food and a Norwich City win, that`s a grand day out in my book.