As we turn optimistically to the weekend following 6 excellent points vs London sides, very good friend of true faith, yer man Delfy gives us his thoughts on NCFC and all things Travel Tavern and Turkey flavoured. Rather a good read, if I might say.
TF: After a rough start of only 2 wins in the first 10 matches, how much of an improvement was the 3-1 over West Ham? Enough to suggest City can climb away from the relegation scrap?
Delfy: It was good to see the boys put in a performance after the drubbing at Man City, I was a tad worried that we still did not seem to create much in the first half and made a poor West Ham side look like world beaters. That said, we got a little bit of luck with the penalty and from that moment on you could see the confidence return & I think the majority of fans went home relieved if not delirious with delight.
TF: How much pressure is Chris Hughton under at Carrow Road. Does he have strong support in the boardroom and in the stands?
Delfy: He is undoubtedly under pressure, whether it is deserved or not is a matter of opinion. Personally I think he has done himself few favours with what are perceived as negative tactics against teams we should be having a right good go at, for example packing the midfield away at Hull and then failing to get a result against 10 men. I don’t think the situation is too dissimilar from the Toon & Pardew, you have a few poor performances and state he is not up to the job, then he grinds out great results against Chelsea & Spurs and the disgruntled terraces go quiet again.
TF: When I saw Norwich in last season I’d describe them as a pretty functional team. Is that a fair description or has Hughton began to introduce more flair into Norwich?
Delfy: Flair is not a word you would associate with Norwich at the moment and I think it is something that every football fan craves. Our most creative player Hoolahan seems to have been sacrificed for a more industrious midfield and in most games we play only one up front. Consequently some supporters don rose tinted glasses and harp back to the golden days of Lambert and his attacking philosophy.
TF: Have you been impressed with the new players brought in during the summer?
Delfy: I was impressed with the initial signings. Hooper, Van Wolfwinkel, Fer, Redmond, even Elmander seemed a good replacement for Holt. Unquestionably these signings have added to the strength of the squad, yet it is fair to say that with the exception of Redmond, nobody has shown the ability to light up Carrow Road. Conversely I don’t see any of them being ‘flops’. Fer is really beginning to show his quality and I am very much looking forward to the Wolf and Hooper both being available for selection at the same time. Moreover I think we quietly went about our summer signings with real purpose and professionalism, just like Kinnear and Newcastle.
TF: This is NCFCs 3rd season back. Has this met Canary expectation? Where does the club go from here realistically?
Delfy: Realistically I would be delighted to finish 11th again and amazed if we were any higher. Long term the future is looking very good. We have some excellent talent coming through as demonstrated by our Under – 18 team winning the Youth Cup (against Chelsea) last year. Twins Jacob and Josh Murphy claimed the majority of the plaudits but there are real hopes for quite a few of that team. McGeehan, Toffolo, Morris and Wyatt are all names to look out for in the future. To me, their victory epitomises everything about Norwich City and being a Norwich City fan. Over 18000 went to the first leg at Carrow Road and 3000 fans made the journey to London midweek to see Neil Adams side lift the trophy. Additionally the whole of the first team were in the stands. I’m not sure that would happen at other clubs, it definitely wouldn’t at Ispwich, they can only manage 16000 for their ‘first team’.
TF: Do you think Norwich would ever move from Carrow Road and if so where could they go?
Delfy: I can’t see that happening. I can think of nothing worse than a plastic stadium like the ‘Stadium of Light’. Carrow Road is a landmark of the City just like the Sports Direct Arena (TF: “turns blind eye”) is for Newcastle. I have heard that there is the potential to add to our current provision by adding a level to the City Stand or Jarrold Stand. I think every Norwich fan would much prefer the idea of that than moving.
TF: Is there a healthy local non-league scene in Norfolk and does it attract City supporters like it does with Mags on International Weekends and suchlike?
Delfy: Absolutely, both the grass roots and non – league scene is very healthy in Norfolk and the surrounding areas. Our local paper ‘The Pink’Un’ follows the fortunes of Norwich City, Kings Lynn, Yarmouth Town and Gorleston Town to name but a few. In fact look closely and you will see many players who are linked to Norwich. Chris Sutton and his son are currently playing for Cromer and Craig Flemming is manager of Lowestoft Town. In addition the local game is very strong, there are some great village sides such as Acle Rangers who boast a rich history and a strong link with Norwich City.
TF: Where does Norwich draw its cultural influences from? What makes Norwich different?
Delfy: The pedestrianisation of Norwich City centre is still a political hot potato, ‘catch’…
TF: Does Norwich have to battle for support from London clubs in towns like Thetford which have been known for WHU support due to Eastenders moving there post war or is Norfolk basically Yellow and Green?
Delfy: More yellow and green then ever! Some of us Canary exiles do worry about who our children will support and that can be difficult especially true for some ‘Capital Canaries’, but in the main the joy of being a Norwich fan is passed down from generation to generation.
TF: You’ve lived up in the NE for a good few years and have seen NUFC play home and away. What’s your opinion of the support and your best ever NUFC moment?
Delfy: I have no time whatsoever for the unsavoury element of your ‘support’ that trashes local football grounds, punches horses and sings ‘shoes off if you love the Toon’, but every club has its fair share of muppets. I would much prefer to look at the raw passion that I have experienced on derby day or the close association of the fans with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. I am fortunate that I have experienced St James Park on many occasions and when it delivers those special moments and the crowd responds it brings goose bumps. My Favourite experience has to be Norwich City away 10/12/11, Norwich won 4 – 2 but the main talking point of the day was the terrible drinking performance of the Geordies post match. I can’t name names as some are very much linked to this fine publication.
TF: Can you envisage a Mike Ashley free NUFC? What do you think it would look like? Does the United4Change movement have a chance of changing the current leadership?
Delfy: The most disheartening aspect of Newcastle United in my opinion is the ownership and the contempt in which the said hierarchy treats its own fan base. The ban on the local media is terrible, the resulting almost non-existent communication between those who run the club and those who support it is insulting. The whole Kinnear episode embarrassing. Consequently Time4Change has to be a fantastic initiative, it gives the real fans a voice and underlines that they will always be the heart and soul of the club. That said I find it unlikely that it will have any real impact. After all, so long as the majority of fans continue to buy replica shirts and continue to hand over their hard earned coffers to Ashley, then he’s going nowhere.
TF: Outlook for NUFC this season and prediction for the Match?
Delfy: I think you are on the cusp of being a very decent side. Comfortable top half finish. Fear you will have too much for us at home. 2 – 0 Toon & a poor spectacle to boot!
Many thanks to Delfy for his time!