Date: 30th August 2017 at 8:26pm
Written by:


One of the first things I thought after the terrible display at Millwall was how fast things change in football and how easy excitement can turn into frustration.
 
I personally think that confidence in the management of a football club has to do mainly with perception of where the fans feel the club is standing versus the expectation of where it should be. There`s an ocean of distance in this matter on where Norwich City was standing before Millwall and how it stands after Millwall.
 
When confidence is lost, fans start to stop believing in players, coach, board and at the end of the road, the owners. At the moment, a fairly small but loud portion of Norwich City supporters are losing belief in some of our players and the new coaching regime. It may have faded a bit during the passing days as the scars of that nasty defeat start to heal but it’s still there. 
 
The sporting director in our new set-up holds the key into restoring confidence levels, by making personnel moves in times of distress. 
 
You might like or dislike Grant Hanley as a player, but you can`t argue that the timing of his signing is perfect. Especially after the carnage at The Den, and with a weekend off, it makes the ideal scenario for a new boy to arrive and get acquainted with his new surroundings. And for the fans to start forgetting one of the worst defeats of recent times.
 
Grant Hanley didn`t have the best of seasons` last year, playing only four games. But in his defence, he was part of a Newcastle squad full of fantastic players, most of them too good for the Championship. I have also heard a few Newcastle supporters saying that Hanley never really got a chance to justify his expensive move. 

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To understand a bit about where Grant Hanley stands as a player it might be wiser to wipe his year at Newcastle from the slate and get acquainted with his time at Blackburn Rovers, where he spent most of his professional years.
 
Hanley broke into the first team when Rovers where still in the Premier League and he worked in a solid partnership with former club Captain – and now Crystal Palace regular – Scott Dann. He would probably remember fondly scoring the winner in a famous victory against Manchester United. 
 
Then in April 2012, Hanley suffered ankle ligament damage in a match at Swansea and the club were relegated. Hanley’s absence in the run in was a big loss.
 
Scott Dann left the club after one and a half years and Hanley took the Captaincy in a Rovers team that lacked talent, even for the division. Besides goal scoring machine Jordan Rhodes there`s not much that I can remember personally. Nevertheless, Hanley led Rovers during four decent seasons in the Championship, two of them in the top 8.
 
We all know what happened to Rovers last season, and it`s not a coincidence that they got relegated to League One after losing both Hanley last summer, and Rhodes the previous. 

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I have heard a few Norwich City supporters saying that Hanley is not mobile enough. Well, I could argue that I don`t particularly care too much if a defender is mobile or not, as long as his positioning skills are good enough and he knows well the traits of a seasoned defender. Franke, and Martin seemed pretty mobile to me last week, and we all know how that fared. To me, anticipation and positioning are much more important than mobility for a centre back.
 
I also believe that Hanley could eventually be a massive influence in the defence. The best leaders lead by example, and even though I really like Russell Martin as a leader, his sub par performances make it hard to retain a starting position and even more so, a leading role. A leader that can`t perform on the pitch, simply can`t lead. 
 
If Hanley does well in his first outings, we could have a solid commanding voice at the back – and solid teams are built from back to front.

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It seems to me that Stuart Webber knows well how to manage a professional football club. He understands timing and urgency. And he knows the obvious: the easiest way to get to the supporters` hearts is to make new signings in times of distress. 
 
Now the pressure is on Hanley to perform and save the day, or he may well end up becoming our newest scapegoat.

OTBC

 
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