The difference between Norwich and Newcastle and Premier League survival could simply come down to which side plays as a ‘team.’
The net spend over the last two transfer windows for the two clubs is markedly different. Newcastle have spent around £70m and Norwich (despite needing to strengthen after promotion) have spent in the region of £12.5m – that takes into account the sale of players like Lewis Grabban and Bradley Johnson as well.
If Saturday is anything to go by then only one of the two sides on display at Carrow Road looked like they were all in it together as ‘a team.’
The displays of emotion, togetherness and joy as all three goals went in and especially Martin Olsson’s winner, were there for all to see. At full time, the sight of Alex Tettey hobbling on to the pitch with his foot in a protective boot and Seb Bassong conducting the cheerleading reinforced the message that ‘we’re all in this together.’
Alex Neil has been banging on about the team spirit for weeks and even when we were on that terrible losing streak in the first part of the year, there were no outward signs of dissent or a lack of belief from anybody.
The arrival of Timm Klose and Steven Naismith have obviously strengthened the squad on the field and whenever another player is asked about Klose, you usually get something like ‘he’s a bit of a character’ in response.
Naismith’s character is well known to Alex Neil and his Captain, Russell Martin and the recruitment of these two lads especially has shown how important getting the right sort of player in can be.
Yes, they have to do it on the pitch but it’s around the dressing room and Colney that they also have to have the right make up.
Newcastle by contrast look like a side of individuals, albeit very expensive ones and you wonder what will become of the club should they fall through the relegation trap door?
In the last transfer window alone, they spent £24m on Shelvey and Townsend. Both have shown they can operate in the Premier League but there’s a reason they weren’t good enough for Spurs and Swansea. I know a Swansea fan and he had nothing good to say about Shelvey. His assessment was that ‘he points at other players a lot and likes to try a Hollywood pass without putting the effort in, we’re well shot of him.’
Rather bizarrely I thought, Newcastle didn’t buy a single defender in January – something they so desperately needed.
If Newcastle are relegated, there will be trouble at St. James’ Park. It has widely been reported that none of the Magpies’ squad have a relegation clause in their contracts, which means they will be stuck with some very expensive acquisitions that they may struggle to offload. They shouldn’t expect to come straight back up again either because we all know that the Championship is dog eat dog.
Staying up is a job far from complete for Norwich City but what they have done is give themselves a chance. They must get through these next two games with, in my opinion, four points to really ram home the slim advantage they have gained in the last three matches. If we lose them both then we’ll be right back in the mire but win them both and we’d be in the box seat for survival.
It’s that close or should I say Klose!?