Date: 4th January 2010 at 1:42pm
Written by:

Ah, 2009. You and I haven`t exactly been the greatest of friends, have we? I know we didn`t really see eye to eye about a lot of your ideas, but I just wanted you to know there are no hard feelings. Now you take care of yourself, won`t you? Okay, cheerio, say hi to 2007 if you see her?

Right, he`s gone. Man, what a steaming, rotting, putrid corpse of a year he was! If he were a person, and not just an arbitrarily defined period of time with no real form, I`d hope he got syphilis. Instead, I`ll just stick to slagging him off to all the other years now he`s gone. He had a series of pretty nasty tricks outside of football that he played on me, and that would`ve been bad enough, but he had to mess with my club too! He (very nearly) destroyed one of my childhood heroes, gave me the worst football match I`ve experienced in my lifetime (except 5-0 at Portman Road), and left me so pathetically desperate for morale that I`m genuinely excited about beating Millwall 2-0.

At least we know he ain`t coming back. Let`s hope the newly-elected 2010 swings in with an Obama-esque enthusiasm and commitment to righting the pre-existent wrongs?

So what are my hopes for the new year? Well, you lucky, lucky, people, I just so happen to have a bunch of crib notes to write from that I concocted for myself at the start of December. Let`s see what I wanted then, shall we?

First off, I`ve put “Big Nasty Bullies! Me likey!” There`s no doubt that we haven`t exactly been the popular, friendly, “nice” Norwich City of years gone by this year. And, like a lot of folk, I`ve loved it.

Yes, we stole Colchester`s manager, and yes, I`d have been mighty peeved if someone did that to us (and I`m sure I will be when they do?), but y`know what? It happens all the time, including to us (I was there to watch us beat Everton days before they poached Mike Walker), and whilst I don`t necessarily think it`s a good thing, I`m not that fussed, ‘cos there`s a lot of Not Good Things that happen without anyone caring about the poor little guys that get hurt.

And for once, it`s nice to be the guys who are stealing the lunch money instead of quivering in the corner of the dinner hall with somebody else`s unwanted tuna and broccoli sandwich. So I`d like this to continue please. Except according to Walsall, it seems it already has. Now we`re even bullying referees! Go us.

Next, I`ve scribbled something incomprehensible with the words “Not Selling!” in it. There`s not even the slightest question that to sell any of our current first team would be lunacy, particularly the ones people would buy. I hope the players themselves know that it would be daft for them too – the most they`ll get is a Coventry or something, so they`d be going somewhere of a similar size and structure, only rubbish, and would have the inevitable career slump.

Much better to stay with a team on the up, then see where the land lies in the summer. So all we need is the club to come forward and say “Dear everyone, we have decided that we`re not selling anyone, so unless you`ve got enough money that we can make a 20-foot replica of the entire squad out of it, please bother somebody else. Faithfully, NCFC.” But lo and behold, McNally`s already done that. Hooray for the angry, nasty bully.

Something I`m sure we would have all agreed we wanted was an end to this incredible run of ours. Now bear with me a minute?see, we all know that teams who go on an outrageous run of winning eventually lose, then die on their arse. And we just kept bloody winning. And even when we did get beat at Leeds, it didn`t count, ‘cos we so obviously shouldn`t have been. So I reckon that 3-3 at Yeovil was quite possibly the single best result of the season so far. Clearly I`d prefer to keep winning, but statistics say that ain`t gonna fly. So snatching a draw from a game we should have won, and came so painfully close to losing, seems like the best possible compromise. Winning run over but morale still boosted at the end of the game, small reality check in place, lots of nice press quotes about “digging in” and “never giving up”?all in all, a perfect way to not earn three points.

On a related topic, I also had “And enough with the sodding JPT!” See, around mid-November, it occurred to me that we were on a fabulous league run, were progressing comfortably in the JPT, and had the second round of the FA cup coming soon. I started thinking about January. A January where there would inevitably be squad-unsettling transfer talk. A January where we would presumably as half-arsed as we always are in January. A January where we`re playing Colchester. And I added in the potential for a third round draw against some “big” team like, ooh, I dunno, Everton, say. And a Wembley match in the offing as well. And I thought “No! This is the sort of thing up with which I shall not put!” Sure, the FA cup remains all excellent and stuff, and has in no way lost its glamour since they sponsored it, and messed about with the draws, and put it on Sky, and removed the Cup-Winners Cup from Europe, and no-one except the big team that won nothing else that year won it every year, but to be frank, I want Hot-Lips, Horse, SuperChris, Ginger Pele, Rusty (can you remember a year when you felt the need to single out so many players as “special” by the way? It rocks) and all the rest to be thinking about nothing, absolutely nothing, except winning every league game they play (except the occasional hard-fought away draw, natch).

So I was delighted with the extremely professional way that we conspired to comfortably lose against Carlisle, having already beaten them in a league game I was sure we`d lose. How many times have we said before “I`d rather have the league win though?” Well this year, we did. So you can imagine my unbounding delight when, with mere seconds to spare, the lads do the decent thing and stop paying attention to Papa Waigo in the 93rd minute. If anything, I felt they left it a bit late to let him through. And they put way, way too much effort in to the penalty shoot-out. But all it did was make it look exactly like we had no intention of losing. That, my friends, was a stroke of genius.

And the last thing I wanted was a nice, straightforward “No injuries to the good ones.” We`ve a few folk in the physio room at the moment, to be fair, and I`d like there to be fewer; we could certainly use some defenders?

But lets be fair – much as I love them all, who would you rather have freezing his nuts off on a January afternoon instead of being massaged by a blonde Swedish lass: Jens Askou, or Wes Hoolahan? Micky Spillane or Darel “couldn`t look more suited to the holding midfield role if he changed his name to Keane” Russell? Jamie “I love you, best of luck in your new job” Cureton, or?erm?any of the first team? So we`re even getting injuries in the right places.

So, what are we left with? Well, in summary, it appears that everything I wanted, I`ve already got. We`re winning games against team we should beat comfortably, and comfortably, we`re scoring like Tiger Woods at a Haggard Old Trout convention, we`ve dispensed with any unnecessary frivolities, our team looks like it might just stay together, and I want Darel Russell`s babies again, after a brief falling out over the summer. So what do I want for 2010? Simply for it all to keep coming. And to put seven past Colchester, natch.

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