It’s looked like a foregone conclusion for a few weeks now but the hopes of the Canary nation finally became reality on Saturday when Norwich City thumped Reading 4-1 to win the Championship title for the second time in three seasons.
The way the game unfolded doesn’t really matter too much it was the result that mattered and nothing more. The Royals took the lead after coming out of the traps a fair bit quicker than Norwich only for Kieran Dowell to equalise a short time later. It was 1-1 at the break with Reading having put in the sort of shift in that first half which had seen them as serious playoff contenders for most of the season.
The second half was completely different though with Daniel Farke presumably having a few encouraging words for his charges at the break. What that meant was that the real Norwich City came out for the second period and literally blew Reading away.
Dowell bagged a second to give City the lead before Xavi Quintilla fired in a 20 yard free-kick that showed his superb technical ability in dead ball situations, something we have arguably missed this season. Emi Buendia has been on set-pieces for the most part but it really must be the only thing on a football field that he isn’t great at. I bet he’d even do a decent job in goal if he had to, but dead balls? Not so great. Teemu Pukki then tapped into an empty net after a short back pass to make it 4-1 and that was that.
The Championship trophy will be presented at Barnsley next week and it’s a crying shame that the fans won’t be allowed into Oakwell to see it. The trophy presentation at Aston Villa two years ago was a wonderful day out and one that will live long in my memory.
This has been an incredible season, even without the fans being allowed in to see it, revel in it and participate in it. It’s been too long since Farke “conducted” the Carrow Road crowd but make no mistake, he had to deliver in 2020/21.
There was no time to feel sorry for themselves, the players had to shake themselves down and go again. Farke had to deal with the loss of Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis in the summer but Stuart Webber provided his Head Coach with the players he needed to dominate the Championship. Just enough new faces to help dismiss any relegation blues and enough of the team’s quality spine to make sure that Norwich would be more than competitive.
The team have been exceptional. They have dominated most of the teams they have faced and have, with the help of Ben Gibson, Dimitris Giannoulis, Xavi Quintilla and lately Andrew Omobamidele, tightened up considerably at the back. The balance of the team is much better than 2018/19 when we often had to outscore opponents rather than keeping clean sheets.
Going forwards, Webber and his Head of Recruitment, Kieran Scott have had more time than anyone else to help plan for their next assault on the Premier League. Webber has previously admitted that his recruitment last time didn’t give Farke the tools for the job. This time around, we all hope it will be different.
Players may leave, if the price is right, and there will be no space for sentimentality in the squad. It seems likely that Alex Tettey and Mario Vrancic won’t be getting new contracts and both Farke and Webber know that more experienced players will be required than last time around.
There is much to ponder but I’m confident that those in charge will learn the lessons from 2019/20. In the meantime, I’m going to just soak this all up and enjoy the next three months.
It may not be this good again for some time but Norwich look as well placed as they ever have been to establish themselves in the Premier League.
Thank you to everyone at Norwich City football club – you’ve made the Canary Nation immensely proud to support you yet again.
ON THE BALL CITY!!!