Glimpsing back but looking forward

Saturday 19th January 2013 6:49

Bassong: big impact

Bassong: big impact

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Norwich City FanZoner Ben Tuck is worried about the Canaries suffering another post-Christmas slump.

New striker could boost Norwich survival hopes

Not many people know but alongside the 'best team in the world' Swansea, and the soap opera-like goings on at QPR, 'Little Norwich' was the other new team in the Premier League last season. With a solid squad in place, which now had Premier League quality and experience, bringing in some assurance at the back and replacing the old warhorses with new blood was the summer task.

The greatest impact has come from Sebastian Bassong; bringing in his physical presence and calmness to a back four which had made a horrendous start. He has allowed Michael Turner to go from being (wrongly) booed by fan at Chelsea to being heralded for his defensive heroics in the last few months.

Now that we have come out of our 10 game unbeaten run, we have hit somewhat of a sticky patch.

The fact that this turn in form arrived with the jammed Christmas schedule is not to be overlooked. Apart from the enforced exclusion of Bradley Johnson at West Ham, Chris Hughton has not rotated his midfield at all since Stoke (Nov 3rd), leading to fears of him only have a Plan A.

The Opta Stats on the ball possession retention makes for hallowing reading. The only teams below Norwich when it comes to ball retention are Stoke, Reading and West Ham - two teams who play long ball and one team who, in all honest have struggled in countless games. The main gripe of this with fans is that having experienced free flowing attacking football for three years under Paul Lambert; this can feel like a step back in style.

quality

Now that the transfer window is upon us I would like to see one or two Premier League quality additions to the team, while bargains are sure to be had in the lower leagues (of our regular 11 - only Bassong, Alex Tettey and Javier Garrido have not played in the Championship or lower) we must sure look to bolster the quality we have. A lot of fans are calling for a new striker, Grant Holt is the 'wrong side' of 30 now, Steve Morison is not a fan favourite and Simeon Jackson seems not to be favoured by Hughton's Management.

So maybe a young and gifted striker coming in may freshen up our seemly blunt attack. Personally I was excited by the idea of Hooper but feel with Celtic in the Champions League he will stay and then move on in the summer. His purchase would be a massive signal of our intent, but I doubt it will happen. This January I am more interested in keeping the team we have, maybe a few of the 'fringe' players can be sold. I feel for the likes of Tierney, Fox and Surman who doubtlessly have the quality in this division but seem to have fallen out of favour or don't fit into the more rigid Formation under Hughton.

The main target is still survival, the only number any Norwich fan should have in mind is 38. We as a footballing culture have seen teams fall away after Christmas; in fact we as fan base have experienced this ourselves in 92/93 when we let the title slip from our hands with a poor second half. Survival this season will mean financial fortune for the next few seasons, especially now with our debt now all but gone.

Season tickets will rise next year, but be frozen the year after. The added cost is 74p per game over the 24 months meaning that fans will not bear the brunt of the financial failure of the past much longer. Along with Swansea we have shown the teams in League One and the Championship that you can achieve Premier League stability without breaking the bank and long may it continue.

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