BBC BLOGS - Football Tactics
« Previous | Main | Next »

Norwich learn harsh lessons of Premier League

Post categories:

Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 10:06 UK time, Monday, 12 September 2011

Most football experts agree that if promoted teams are to avoid relegation from the Premier League then they need to beat other sides whose main aim is to avoid the drop.

That is why, after an encouraging start against Wigan, Stoke and Chelsea, Norwich's 1-0 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion on Sunday is a setback for the Canaries.

They may have edged possession and dominated territorial advantage but, for all their good build-up play, Paul Lambert's side managed only three shots on target.

Peter Odemwingie scored for West Brom against Norwich

West Brom battered Norwich with nine shots on target, including Peter Odemwingie's winner. Photo: Getty

"Norwich played quite well but ultimately West Brom looked a lot more effective with Peter Odemwingie up front," says Match of the Day 2 pundit Lee Dixon. "The Norwich defence could not really cope with him in first half. He pulled centre-backs Leon Barnett and Ritchie De Laet all over the place and Norwich did not have anyone in a similar vein.

"I've watched Norwich a couple of times. Forwards Chris Martin and Grant Holt are both energetic and run the channels but they lack a bit of extra zip that someone like Odemwingie possesses.

"His pace affects the opposition's back four because it gets them thinking of the threat in behind, whereas teams playing Norwich are not necessarily going to get hurt the same way. It just looked like they lacked a bit of pace to stretch the game at times."

No more was that in evidence than when Odemwingie scored what proved to be the winner after only three minutes. He cut in from the right to latch onto Nicky Shorey's long pass and intercepted De Laet's poor header.

Conversely, says Dixon, Roy Hodgson's defence did not have the same worries and were able to step up, therefore winning the ball back higher up the pitch.

Lambert achieved much of his success in the Championship last year by using a diamond formation. At times on Sunday, wide midfielders Elliott Bennett and Andrew Surman tucked in allowing full-backs Kyle Naughton and Marc Tierney to get forward.

Tierney, in particular, was one of the game's outstanding performers, sending in a succession of crosses from high up the pitch. However, his forays forward meant Norwich's centre-backs were further exposed to defence-splitting passes.

That is something that could cost them dearly against better teams but Lambert has already shown his tactical flexibility by picking three centre-backs against Chelsea.

What may concern the Scottish manager more is the fact that Norwich have now conceded a penalty in each of their four Premier League games this season.

Even though goalkeeper Declan Rudd saved Odemwingie's spot-kick on his full debut, the way in which Steve Morison tangled with Steven Reid suggested that the Canaries need to be more careful. There was minimal contact - and it looked like Reid fooled referee Mark Halsey - but Dixon believes Norwich to re-think their approach.

Graphic detailing Norwich's attacking success

"I thought Reid made a meal of it and went down very easily but it's not a coincidence that they have given four penalties away," says Dixon. "The keeper got sent off the other week against Chelsea and those through balls into that area where Odemwingie scored from lead to desperate tackles on the edge of the box. It's a discipline thing - knowing when to tackle and when to sit off.

"Players are aware that forwards are going to ground more easily these days. If I was playing, that would be in my mind, so it must be in theirs. As a defender, you have to try to keep them out of the box, which was always at the forefront of our minds when we were defending at Arsenal, because any sort of foul is not as punishing."

Lambert will look to address these issues before the next game against Bolton. Norwich then face Sunderland and Manchester United before hosting Swansea on 15 October.

The former Wycombe manager, who took his coaching badges in Germany, is known as a supreme motivator and has been likened to ex-Celtic boss Martin O'Neill, whom he played for at Parkhead.

The 42-year-old has certainly seen signs his team can cope, telling BBC Sport after the West Brom game: "If they keep playing like that, they will be fine. There's no doubt they are playing well enough to win games.

"We're creating things, which is important, but we can't start the way we did [on Sunday] and try to claw it back. It's difficult enough when its 0-0."

Dixon, however, believes there needs to be significant improvement.

"Certainly in the games I've seen so far, they've shown signs they can knock ball around well. They can get it wide and cause teams problems," he says. "But ultimately they've got to score more goals and keep them out at the other end.

"At the moment, they are losing that fight."

You can also discuss more tactical issues and follow me on Twitter


  • Comment number 1.

    It's difficult to not compare Norwich with Blackpool from last season, , they're very similar. I think they've came up too early, I think relegation will be the best thing for them. The £30M parachute payment will allow them the build upon their squad for another challenge. I think there wont be an exodus as, to be honest, they dont have any 'real' Premier League quality. And I think this season will give Lambert (who's excellent) good PL experience.
    I expect Norwich, Blackburn, and Swansea to go down.

    Good blog!

  • Comment number 2.

    As an Albion fan who attended the game yesterday I think that's a fairly spot-on assessment.

    Albion were very sloppy in the 2nd half and conceded a lot of territorial advantage but ultimately despite long spells of possession and lots of balls into our box, Ben Foster's not made a meaningful save in the 90 mins.

    I like Norwich and I hope they stay up, but perhaps they need to find a way of turning teams around. Albion certainly aren't one of the tighter teams in the league yet we could sit and soak up pressure without conceding hoards of chances. As we've found out in the past, it's an unforgiving league and you need to create and take your chances, as the opposition inevitably will at some point.

    Great 3 points for us in ironically our worst performance so far. Good luck Norwich.

  • Comment number 3.

    Maybe Lambert will show that he has the ability to be a good premiership manager and a bigger club may take a punt in the future.

    But with the limited (all be it hard working) resources at his disposal keeping Norwich up would be real result.

  • Comment number 4.

    First can I point out that Ruddy was sent off against Chelsea, which was a penalty, and Barnett was sent off against Stoke, which wasn't a penalty it was barely a foul and certainly not in the box.

    Overall if you are talking about the penalties against Norwich. Two were very soft, against Wigan and West Brom. One was a clear penalty, against Chelsea. One was a ridiculous decision that probably cost three points, against Stoke. The refereeing has been pretty poor overall, missed a clear penalty against West Brom, missed a clear penalty for Wigan.

    Maybe Norwich need to learn that throwing yourself to the floor theatrically in, or near, the box wins penalties?

  • Comment number 5.

    Well, when all is said and done, maybe Norwich's players just aren't as good as those of their opponents.

    Sure, tactics are a tool by with you can make the most of your resources but there is still only a maximum capacity that the group can play at.

    The blog describes yesterdays goal as coming from an error from De Laet and to an extent, all goals really come from an error somewhere but if it wasn't for that, would a draw have seemed such a bad result?

    A team like Norwich is likely to struggle this season purely and simply because of the resources that are a bigger and bigger part of football nowadays. Wish there was more to it, but perhaps the reality is that there isn't.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's nice to see newly promoted teams set out to play decent, flowing football rather than just put up the barricades and aim for damage limitation. I think all three of the PL's promoted teams are capable of playing positive football and to score a few goals. Whether this will be enough to avoid the drop remains to be seen, but just like Blackpool last season if these teams set out with a good attitude and provide good entertainment then they might just win a few admirers even if they do end upbeing relegated.

    This is in contrast to my beloved Blackburn, who have been fairly woeful so far, and really cannot have many complaints about their position at the bottom of the table. I suspect that we have been widely tipped to go down this season, and indeed many would not be too sad to see us go as we don't win much praise for our style of play from the football purists.

  • Comment number 7.

    #4 Cedrion

    The refereeing has been pretty poor overall
    Lucky then that the players themselves have been absolutely perfect in every respect then and that Norwich's results have been the result of the ref and absolutely nothing else has gone wrong in any of the games.

  • Comment number 8.

    Lee, a few school boy errors here but I think others have flagged them so I won't repeat, you are afterall not a journo.

    I was at the game yesterday and I thought we played well. Tierney and Hoolahan were the most creative and threatening but I have to question Holt starting now. Any canaries who feel angered by Reid throwing himself to ground need to look at our Captain, how many times last year did he do to other teams as Reid did to us? I love Holt, his work ethic is something we never saw in players like Hucks, but I just think this is a step to far for the big man. I would like to see Morrison and Vaughn start next game and see how it goes.

    I would also like to praise the defence, I feel generally more confident now than I have done for a long time in our rearguard options.

    I think we will finish above Blackburn, QPR and Swansea (at least) without difficulty so definately no reason to be panicing in my opinion.

    OTBC and loving life in the PL!

  • Comment number 9.

    MrBlueBurns - Would I be right in assuming your team is not a PL one and that you instead like to wind up the fans of your teams nearest rival?

    Refereeing has been pretty poor. I think that's a fair, objective view that few would argue with. I think the difference is not nesesarily the refs though. I think maybe the difference is the seasoned PL players just know how to play the refs better than our boys.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sorry CanaryJim, but MrBlueBurns is correct.

    Like Swansea, you aren't good enough for this level. So you have to excuse your lack of defense and goals by talking about this 'pretty' football you play. Simple fact is you're unlikely to survive with your Championship squad, because the premiership is a huge step up.

    Stop blaming refs, and start looking at your own team. Do you seriously think Holt and co are premiership standard players?

  • Comment number 11.

    Canary Jim

    I agree with you that the refereeing is generally poor. We ourselves found out that newly promoted, against the established sides, you struggle to get decisions your way- I think on our 1st Prem season we didn't get a pen until about March and seemed to get a lot of soft ones given against.

    However I don't think Halsey had a particularly bad game yesterday (he comes across as being one of the more genuine, less-influenced referees) and I don't think any of the decisions he gave were responsible for the result of the game.

  • Comment number 12.


    I'm a Chelsea fan as it goes, (not a Tractor Boy is that's what you're implying) and I enjoy the taste of success we have had in recent times, but that is on a par with the increasing general level of contempt and cynicism I have for football. Which is a shame because I love the game.

    I meant no disrespect and I wish you as much success as I would any other fan. It's just that players are much less perfect than ref's and I get sooo bored of people whinging about them. Take Dalglish this weekend for example.

    When I say that Norwich may well be not good enough, I mean that sympathetically in that how can you be expected to compete given the lack of fairness in the economies of football nowadays.


  • Comment number 13.

    #4 & #9
    I think that was one of the main points of the blog. I'm not sure MrBlueBurns said anything too controversial.

    The blog pointed out that Premier League players tend to be experienced at conning penalties out of referees. Norwich need to come to terms with this, although it would be better if referees were better at picking up dives, and score some goals themselves.

    One fairly strict interpretation of diving would be that if the fall was clearly not following a natural trajectory it is to some extent a dive and should be yellow carded. The situation isn't helped by commentators who say things like "he had every right to go down there". Wrong! If he literally got knocked down then fine but if not then he shouldn't go down, a free kick can still be given for a stumble caused by a kick.

  • Comment number 14.

    Lee Dixon and #11 COME_ON_YOU_BAGGIES

    Can someone define 'soft penalty' for me please? It is either a penalty or it is not, surely?

  • Comment number 15.

    At the moment we are looking like a rabbit in the headlights as the step up to Premiership football is a large jump from the Championship, it'll take time to adjust and the question is whether we will adjust in time to get the 40 points on board, and before 'getting that first win' becomes the monkey on our backs.

    Having said that, some of the refereeing we've had so far this season has been abysmal (note: it's been a talking point on every MotD so far), and but for a few decisions we could be sitting on 5 or 6 points now. Yes, the ideal situation would be to score enough so the referee's decisions don't matter, but down this end of the table it's a very tough mini-league, and two or three points can easily be the difference between 17th and 18th.

    But yes, it is worrying at the moment that Foster probably hasn't had to wash his gloves this morning; it's going to be a long hard season. But we have to keep the belief!

  • Comment number 16.

    #13 akaBigFella

    The situation isn't helped by commentators who say things like "he had every right to go down there". Wrong!
    I agree. It is one of those phrases that describes a form of cheating that someone seems to have gained an element of acceptability. It's absolute cobblers and it's come about through the ex-pro's that litter the world of football presentation.

    In my experience, the worst offender for perpetuating that idea is Shearer on MOTD. It's actually quite a disgraceful thing and yet nothing is mentioned!

  • Comment number 17.

    It never too bad for clubs who don't spend lots like Norwich to go straight back down, obviously Norwich would ideally like to stay up but the parachute payments make life much more comfortable in the Championship, I like Norwich and hope they stay up.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think the comments re. the standard of refereeing are very valid. We've been involved in 4 tight games so far this season and have come out on the wrong side of the decisions in all 4 games although I doubt it would have made a difference in the Chelsea game as it was a penalty albeit not a red card.

    We've been caught out a few times with some of the defending and our finishing in the final third but as a promoted club we don't really stand a chance if big refereeing decisions are always and I mean ALWAYS go against us.

  • Comment number 19.

    Cedrion wrote:

    First can I point out that Ruddy was sent off against Chelsea, which was a penalty, and Barnett was sent off against Stoke, which wasn't a penalty it was barely a foul and certainly not in the box.

    Overall if you are talking about the penalties against Norwich. Two were very soft, against Wigan and West Brom. One was a clear penalty, against Chelsea. One was a ridiculous decision that probably cost three points, against Stoke.


    I've no idea if you are right or wrong as I didnt see the games.

    But the reality is, ALL FOUR penalties were given. ie. As far as the referees were concerned, they were penalties.

    And at the end of the day, it is that which counts.

    If Norwich keep conceding them - rightly or wrongly - they will struggle.

  • Comment number 20.

    #7 MrBlueBurns

    Lucky then that the players themselves have been absolutely perfect in every respect then and that Norwich's results have been the result of the ref and absolutely nothing else has gone wrong in any of the games.

    The players have not been perfect. Some of the defending has been awful, and we are sorely lacking in pace up front that would make a difference in games.

    Though a referee giving a penalty and sending off a player for a foul outside the box in a match your team is winning is always going to leave a bad taste. It's a culture shock really, even having watch Premier League football on the TV, seeing the cynical win at all costs attitude which isn't quite as prevelant in the Championship and League One.

  • Comment number 21.

    As an Ipswich Town fan I can honestly say that Norwich were hard done by in their last match. They certainly deserved better refereeing decisions - a stonewall penalty for an elbow in the face is just one example. Norwich play good football and in time will come good. Lambert is a fantastic manager and they have a good squad. I wouldn't be too worried if I were a Canary as there are some shocking teams in the Premier League that will be in more trouble than Nowich City.

    I'm obviously more interested in Ipswich Town but our season hasn't really got off to the best start either. Hopefully a few decent results can power our way up the league and we can join the Anglian revival in the Premier League!

    As much as it pains me to write this but I genuinely wish Norwich luck in staying up this season. They are a club run the "right" way and, apart from Delia Smith, are pretty likeable for a neutral observer.

  • Comment number 22.


    It was Shearer I had most in mind when I typed it. A player I had a huge amount of respect for but losing it fast.

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    #20 Cedrion

    The worst refereeing I have ever seen was in the Chelsea v Barcelona game two years ago and even then that should not have mattered because Chelsea had the chances to win the game, despite the ref, by they didn't take those chances.

    Picking up on #18 trent_canary1, they have been tight games, sure. But that tightness could have been loosened if you had players that could finish a move. You haven't (alot of which is not your fault because of the economies of modern football which I have sympathised with earlier) and that is probably more important than the ref.

    The phrase about perfection is one I've borrowed from a friend who is a ref, and I think it rings true.

    All I'm saying is, the reasons for your results are much more to do with the players you have than the ref's.


  • Comment number 25.

    I was at the game yesterday and we need a bit more pace up front and as far as the ref yesterday as someone said on another blog, if I had hit someone like that in the stands It would have been a police matter and a ban from the ground, you could see tampas glance to the left to see were Vaughn was and followed through with his elbow and put in hospital. We will be alright but we have got to start getting the points but in Lambert we trust and if anyone can do it he can. OTBC

  • Comment number 26.

    By soft penalty, I mean one where perhaps a player initiates contact or reacts theatrically to it. I expect you'll say contact= penalty, but ultimately, realistically, we see offences that occur weak in weak out in penalty areas treated differently to those outside. If every 'offence' in a penalty box went punished, we'd see 30 a game, instead we leave it to the officials to judge which are worthy and which aren't.

    On the point of Norwich. I think it's easy to grasp onto the pluckly losers tag, but the plucky losers always get into trouble.

    Ultimately, despite dominating territorially yesterday, Ben Foster has barely made a save. Yet Albion scored, hit the post, missed a one-on-one, had a penalty saved and more shots overall. This- and I guess is the point Lee Dixon alludes to- is what Norwich need to address rather than point to conspiracies and unfairness from officials. They may well get some bad decisions, but you also need to make your own luck.

  • Comment number 27.

    ~26 - Good post.

  • Comment number 28.

    Everyone is mentioning the penalties given agianst us (im a Canary fan just admire fergie). But what about the obvisous one we should have had yesterday??? You cant fake blood and the way tamas swung his arm round its got to be delibrate or clumsy. I dont care which but we should have had a penalty and a red card for that.
    I don't mind penalties agianst us if we are being caught out for our lack of experience but you expect the same in return and we didnt get that yesterday.

  • Comment number 29.

    As a Hull City supporter, I think Norwich have learnt the lessons from the likes of my beloved club following our two years in the PL - wage bill approaching £40m with mercenary players left us almost bankrupt once we were relegated.

    Better (unfortunately) to do a Burnley or a Blackpool, spend wisely/frugally, take the medicine of the £64m parachute payments if you go down and regroup.

    With the increasing riches of the billionaires clubs in the PL, for large provincial clubs is there any real alternative these days?

    The likes of Sunderland and Stoke only survive because they are bankrolled by their wealthy Chairmen over and above the Sky money.

  • Comment number 30.

    By soft penalty, I mean one where perhaps a player initiates contact or reacts theatrically to it. I expect you'll say contact= penalty, but ultimately, realistically, we see offences that occur weak in weak out in penalty areas treated differently to those outside. If every 'offence' in a penalty box went punished, we'd see 30 a game, instead we leave it to the officials to judge which are worthy and which aren't.

    Which is the problem, I cannot blame a single forward for throwing himself to the ground because we all know that unless they do that they will not get the decision even if they are clearly fouled.

    Perhaps if Refs had the nuts to actually treat offences in the box the same as outside and to give fouls where a player stays on his feet we would see a lot less theatrics.

    Concerning Norwich, yes they aren't premier league quality, but then neither are Swansea (my team) or QPR (Barton and SWP will help but aren't enough). Add that to Blackburn imploding and Wolves/Wigan/WBA being inconsistent and you have a bottom six/seven where potentially one or two of the newcomers could actually survive.

    The important thing for Norwich and Swansea is not to panic, keep playing as we play because that is a big part of the team spirit, if we all of a sudden decide to start lumping it upfield we will lose a lot of what we have built into our club, we will lose spirit and support and that is when our lack of quality will really show through.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ahh the old 'promoted team plays attractive football...'

    read: get relegated. forget playing attractive football. get some pace upfront and on the flanks. pack the midfield with ball winners and get some stoppers at centre back. If you havent got the cash, get organised and play like Everton, Wolves or Stoke.

  • Comment number 32.

    We often talk about diving likes its a new phenomeon, but this brilliant piece of comedy from Fry and Laure is almost 20 years old

  • Comment number 33.

    Where is the impact players off the bench? Where is korey smith? Why isn’t hoolahan playing at the top of the diamond? Crofts at the base and K smith and lappin or fox in between them, Bradley Johnson or Lansbury on loan i know who i would rather have.

    Russell martin and wardy are missed in the back four which currently lacks leaders and are missing ward who has got excellent distribution and presence

    Norwich are playing long ball instead of passing and moving at the tempo they played at last year. They have lost the bite and enthusiasm they used have and the young players like Korey smith deserve a chance.

    The tried and tested players who sealed promotion need to be playing coz the new signings lack passion and composure

  • Comment number 34.

    A very good assessment on Canaries by Lee Dixon!

    Personally, I think it's a compliment comparing Norwich to Blackpool of last season. Blackpool had started with all guns on fire while Norwich, besides some encouraging performances, failed to add valuable points to their tally when needed. I can see them exposed as the season progresses.

    When a Championship side arrives in the Premiership, naturally, you compare it with the usual suspects, when assessing their chances for survival. Taking that into account, Wolves have started very well, West Brom are very well organised, QPR have the cash and the opportunity to improve, if needed, in the winter window, Wigan have an experienced now manager in drop fights, Blackburn have perhaps better players. The picture looks gloomy for the Canaries.

    Still, I like their football. Good luck to them.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 29.At 14:14 12th Sep 2011, suttontiger wrote:

    The likes of Sunderland and Stoke only survive because they are bankrolled by their wealthy Chairmen over and above the Sky money.


    I think Sunderland have a large attendance record, in comparison with many Premiership sides. On top of that, Bruce buys wisely and they've sold players for a lot of profit.

    On the other hand, it's laughable to suggest that my beloved Stoke City are a "chairman bankrolled" club. Stoke City are not in their first season in the Premiership, neither in their second or third. All these seasons they've been establishing themselves as a Premiership side, they've been spending quite wisely actually.

    Perhaps, the last day acquisitions have raised a few eyebrows but Tony Pulis had to strengthen Stoke because, apart from the Premiership, they have the Europa Cup to attend this season. If they progress, a large chunk of the cash spend will be returned as Europa Cup profit. If they get a better position on the table when the end of the season comes, more cash will be added to their coffers. I think Tony Pulis was wise in strengthening an already relatively strong Stoke side.

  • Comment number 36.

    Football UK

    In Stoke's first Premiership season, they're wage bill was more than 100% than their turnover. I don't dispute that Pulis has gradually improved that side and that they've established themselves on merit. But given Coates has 'donated' £30-40m of his own money into subsidising this, you can't use Stoke as a business model for the likes of Norwich, or even my side West Brom, to follow. Birmingham City did it, they got relegated and almost straight into administration.

    P.S. Europa Cup profit- my understanding is that unless you progress to the final stages of the Europa Cup, it's very difficult to make any money out of it.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'll pre-face this by saying that Norwich have indeed been harshly done by with refereeing decisions so far this season, and thoroughly deserved to be promoted last season after playing some cracking football.

    However, it is amusing to see Norwich fans criticise opponents for diving when their own star striker spent most of last season hitting the deck without just reason, and they didn't seem to mind too much then...

    So in all honesty, as long as Grant Holt leads the line for Norwich my, (and I imagine many people's) sympathy for them conceding soft penalties is going to be slim to none.

  • Comment number 38.


    Maybe Wolves may have been a better example for Football UK to use.

    Anyway, I've heard this argument that European non-Champions League football is not a money maker since the days when Chelsea were in the UEFA cup back in, say, 2000.

    However, I simply do not understand how this can be. Are people really saying that the travel and administration costs of an away match are greater than the prize for that particular game? Surely the income at the turnstiles from the home game would exceed the costs of a foreign leg? Or is it simply that clubs are careless when drafting a players contract and the win bonuses (an odd concept unless a trophy is lifted) make the effort uneconomical?

  • Comment number 39.

    However, I simply do not understand how this can be. Are people really saying that the travel and administration costs of an away match are greater than the prize for that particular game? Surely the income at the turnstiles from the home game would exceed the costs of a foreign leg? Or is it simply that clubs are careless when drafting a players contract and the win bonuses (an odd concept unless a trophy is lifted) make the effort uneconomical?


    From what i've heard clubs do make money but not really enough in 'football money' i.e. £10 million or so unless they win it. I think i've read that winning the final earns you less than just qualifying for the Champions League group stage hence why winning the Europa League is less important to a club like say Tottenham than finishing 4th..

  • Comment number 40.

    #39 We all follow United

    Thanks, and I see what you mean.

    A perfect example then of one of the flaws in UEFA's fair play idea, when it comes to promoting competition through the even distribution of 'their' money.

  • Comment number 41.

    Mr Blueburns

    Neither of us know the answer to that, but I think we agree on the overall point that Stoke aren't a good example to use.

    West Brom and Wolves both operate within their means and are more-or-less debt-free, although it's probably worth noting that Wolves' current owner only paid £10 for the club as a good-will gesture from the outgoing chairman if he agreed to wipe out the existing £30m debt at the time. It's a very difficult ask with the likes of Stoke and Sunderland and potentially QPR. Wigan and Fulham have over £300m debt between them, a debt they'll probably never repay. The solvent teams have to try and compete with that.......

  • Comment number 42.

    @38.At 15:20 12th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Relative rewarding in prize funds . The Portugal club sides last year 3 semi finalists , the PL none the reason being the money gained from a move up the PL league would be of greater financial reward rather than the actual prize money gained . Take a look at the Europa league new boys , Shamrock Rovers , 1 million euro from qualifying for the group stages , thier "prize" fund of winning a small league last season 200,000 euro . Spurs pize fund last year from the PL £12m , not including other gains . 1/12 of your income or 5 times your income , the choice is basic economics .

  • Comment number 43.

    Its early doors to be relegating teams already, Norwich and Swansea are both struggling to score goals in the Premiership, Blackburn and Sunderland have the same problem, and all 4 will have to wait until January to find that 20 goal a season striker. For Norwich fans you have a trip to the Reebok to look forward to, which will be the archetypal relagation 6 pointer, not as a Bolton fan I expect the Whites to be in the relegation mix come May 2012, but right now after 3 back to back thumpings by Citeh, Liverpool, and United, the Norwich game has assumed must win status for us.
    In Bolton we can score goal, but my oh my we are woeful defensively against top class sides. Owen C has to act now to sort out the defensive fraililties otherwise we are going to have to score 3 or 4 goals a game to win.
    Nice footballing sides have come and gone in the Premiership, every side needs an edge, United and Citeh have played the best football so far this year and they have attackers who can create a goal out of nothing.
    Some scrappy 1-0 do the team confidence the world of good, 13 wins are whats needed , the other 25 games a season can be as pretty as you like, but losing at home to West Brom would not have been on Paul Lamberts wall planner.
    Good luck for the rest of the season, forget the pretty stuff get effective.

  • Comment number 44.

    A perfect example then of one of the flaws in UEFA's fair play idea, when it comes to promoting competition through the even distribution of 'their' money.


    Very true, it's their own fault for creating a tournament with Europe's elite in it, then having one containing the rest. Then again, I suppose if it hadn't happened the 'G14' clubs were making threats so their hands were tied really.

    On topic, from what I saw yesterday Norwich are going to really struggle this season. They struggle to create chances and the defence looks average for this level of football.

  • Comment number 45.

    #43 eeesm

    wait until January to find that 20 goal a season striker.
    Unfortunately, this alludes to another problem with the money in the modern game.

    Chelsea have Drogba, Anelka, Torres, Sturridge and now Lukaku as well as Kalou. All of these have proved that they can score (broadly) 20 goals a season. (Let's ignore jokes about Torres for the purposes of the point I am making.)

    If Chelsea, and they are by no means the only club, have the money to have all the talent, it makes it very hard for the 'smaller' clubs to get anyone to do the job for them that needs doing.

    The best advice these smaller clubs could take is to look in your academy for a youngster that might get the goals cause I would suggest that that would be a better use of resources than trying to buy such a striker.

  • Comment number 46.

    Mattski - However, it is amusing to see Norwich fans criticise opponents for diving when their own star striker spent most of last season hitting the deck without just reason, and they didn't seem to mind too much then...


    Read my post at the top, I completely acknowledge Holt throwing himself to ground all the time.

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree the defence as a unit look frail and lack leaders, chances can be created if the manager utilises his squad and picks the younger players who he showed faith inleague 1 and championship, some of these young players have starred in the fa youth cup just over two years ago, instaed of loaning them out let them play alongside established quality players whicch Norwich can afford and then they would see a difference.

    Norwich lack pace and movement but yet the manager kept jackson on the bench and used morrison as a sub? no sign off K smith in the squad and hoolahan has to start as a link with the forwards, all the top teams have a flair player Norwich used theirs too late.

    For Norwich to get behind sides as a mentioned earlier they need to change the engine room quickly before it's too late, holt, jackson, vaughan et al will get goals with the balance of youthful enthusiasm and established quality mixed in in the midfield, crofts, hoolahan, smith, fox or lappin, bennet as an impact sub

  • Comment number 48.

    Just seen Tamas has been charged by the FA - so that it's official now that we have now not been given 1 pen when we should (vs WBA) and given 1 away when it shouldn't (vs Stoke - it was outside the box). A conspiracy??

  • Comment number 49.

    Chelsea have Drogba, Anelka, Torres, Sturridge and now Lukaku as well as Kalou. All of these have proved that they can score (broadly) 20 goals a season. (Let's ignore jokes about Torres for the purposes of the point I am making.)

    If Chelsea, and they are by no means the only club, have the money to have all the talent, it makes it very hard for the 'smaller' clubs to get anyone to do the job for them that needs doing.


    It's not just that, it's the rest of the team as well. Whilst say Kalou and Anelka have done okay for Chelsea, they're helped by playing with other good players such as Lampard, Drogba, Malouda etc and in a team that dominate posession in a lot of games. I doubt either one of them would get double figures playing in say Norwich's team (no offence).

  • Comment number 50.

    #49 We all follow United

    Oh yeah, if anything the point I made at #45 was just the tip of the iceberg.

    Which echoes the first point I made on this blog at #5. The likes of Dixon can pick it apart all they want, but what chance to the likes of Norwich have?

    That said, pragmatism must overtake romance if they want to avoid Blackpool's fate. In my opinion, Holloway almost too arrogant to recognise they had to change to survive.

  • Comment number 51.

    Still, as a Norwich fan, it could be worse. Think back only 2 years :-)

  • Comment number 52.

    Canary Jim

    Last season I can think of multiple incidents where we got nothing we should have. Dorrans getting cleaned out by G.Nev when clean through at 1-1, Odemwingie being awarded a free-kick for a foul 4 yards inside the box at Blackburn, Michael Oliver sending off Pablo Ibanez after 8 mins at Blackpool later rescinded (bit too late then), then failing to send Almunia off for worse when we played Arsenal.

    Basically, point is. It's par for the course, particularly against top 6, you've got to get on with it and stop making excuses.

    In 90 minutes yesterday Ben Foster's not made a meaningful save. It can't be the ref's fault every week......

  • Comment number 53.

    Canaries fan here and just wanted to say that perhaps unsurprisingly, I am frustrated by some of the decisions that we have been on the wrong end of this season thus far. However, as many of the non Canaries on this post have mentioned, until we get a grip of ourselves and put away chances at one end and defend effectively at the other, we are simply going to be the maufacturers of our own demise.

    I remain hopeful that we can start to fire on all four cylinders very soon and give the PL a good go, but would remind Norwich fans that we always knew it would be difficult and that two successive promotions have - in my view - created an artificial level of expectation amongst some of us. It's gonna be a scrap, and we need to get smart to the wily ways of established Prem players.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 36.At 15:08 12th Sep 2011, COME_ON_YOU_BAGGIES,

    I really can't understand your logic, mate.

    Please, provide me accurate link showing that the Stoke City chairman donated the cash to Stoke City F.C., as what I understand is that he bought a sound football club, with a state of the art stadium, promoted to the Premier League without overspending, like other clubs do and stayed in the Premiership by getting the best out of players other clubs didn't want (if you need names, please feel free to ask).

    Mentioning Stoke City in the same wavelength with Baggies, Wolves and Norwich is a little bit strange, as:
    - the Wolves chairman puts the Premiership cash to the bank
    - the Baggies are like an elevator between Championship and Premership
    - while Norwich need to survive in order to talk about them.

    As far as I know, Stoke City are:
    - a Premiership side for a number of years
    - financially sound
    - a club that doesn't sack the manager on the first opportunity
    - financially sound
    - have a roster with, mainly, British players.

    Also, to suggest (or am I wrong?) that they spend cash to make a team is a little bit like a joke. Isn't it? Tony Pulis had to strengthen his squad with quality, for very good reasons:
    a) the club plays Europa Cup football this season and they wouldn't like surprises in the Premier League, due to the attendance in Europa Cup
    b) they could afford it, as they've spent little for years now
    c) they got additions that allow them to have options, therefore they're putting themselves in a strong position towards stability.

    Talking about chairmen bankrolling football clubs is one issue, talking about chairmen who milk football clubs is another and putting Stoke City in either of the groups is laughable to say the least.

  • Comment number 55.

    Of course in football your team will sometimes be on the lucky side and sometimes the unlucky side of refereeing decisions. However, that does not serve as much of a comfort when you watch a player get elbowed in the face, dripping with blood and taken to hospital and still nothing is given. These so called 'soft penalties' are frustrating but all players will try to win them and what bothers me more is consistency from officials. Norwich have had players sent off so far this season for things which in other games players have received a yellow card for, and there really is no excuse for all the officials missing the incident against Vaughan when the ball was being played into the area. I think it would be interesting to hear from referees exactly why they make their decisions sometimes and perhaps they should be held accountable. As a Norwich fan, I mean this when things go our way as much as when they don't.

    It would be great if Norwich could take their chances so that the results don't come down to refereeing decisions but unfortunately for a club like us they do.

    Norwich haven't played incredibly, our defence is weak and yesterday we were clearly unable to convert any opportunities into shots on target, let alone goals. Yet being in the Premier League is a massive achievement for us and we should enjoy it. I hope we can soon get that first win and maybe it will change things for us but whether we manage to stay up or not, just being in the PL is far more than I could have imagined 2 years ago.

  • Comment number 56.

    #33 gilo79

    At the start of the season Wenger had no intentions of loaning Lansbury out. He was either going to be sold or be part of his squad, so it was by no means a "no-brainer". £3m plus or free? Tough tackling midfielder or creative midfielder? Completely different options.

    I agree that we need pace and a more clinical edge in front of goal. That being said, Vaughan has just got himself fit and will provide that extra pace we need and we all saw with Jackson last season that he has pace. All it could take is for one of those two to get themselves a couple of goals, boost their confidence and potentially they could start scoring more.

    One issue with creativity was the absence of Pilkington yesterday, replaced by Surman. Having played a 442 against Stoke, and looked threatening in the process, Lambert obviously decided that we should try the same tactics again at home. The issue is that Surman is not an 'out and out' left midfielder. He wont run at players all the time and we have to consider that this affected our creativity in that set up.

    It is still early in the season and we have to give players a chance to settle and adjust to the league, not just jump to conclusions that we will be fine or that we will go down. A run of 2/3 wins at this stage of the season propels you up the league.

    I will finish with a familiar saying. "It is a marathon, not a sprint"

  • Comment number 57.

    There have been some very valid and sobering points made by fans of other teams. If I am totally objective then I cannot disagree with most of the comments posted.

    Most modern footballers are very adept at 'drawing the foul' and Holty used this tactic to our advantage on numerous occasions last season. With this in mind I sympathise wholeheartedly with the ref in trying to determine what is considered to be a genuine foul and what is viewed as a player using their 'skill' to win a foul. Indeed when an MotD commentator came out with the classic line on Saturday that the striker felt contact so was entitled to go to ground what hope does the ref have?

    We shouldn’t look for excuses in decisions made by match officials and should focus on our own performance. Anyway, the only penalty decision that has potentially cost us any points this season is the one given to Stoke mainly because Barnett was sent off in the same incident.

    I have the utmost admiration for what has been achieved at Norwich in the last 2 seasons, but this season was always going to include a large dose of realism. We only kept 11 clean sheets last season and we have pretty much the same defensive unit this time around. I just feel that teams who play with an injection of pace and movement will drag us all over the place. Coupled with our lack of a cutting edge in the final third of the field and that adds up to a long season.

    Lambert was right to give the players who won promotion an opportunity to succeed and I truly hope they do, but being a realist I feel we may come up short this time around. As long as Lambert is still around though the future still looks bright enough.


  • Comment number 58.

    5. At 12:20 12th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    Well, when all is said and done, maybe Norwich's players just aren't as good as those of their opponents. Sure, tactics are a tool by with you can make the most of your resources but there is still only a maximum capacity that the group can play at.
    True and yet not true.

    A good manager and good tactics can get a team "punching above their weight". With no offence intended, I'd say Everton & Stoke are doing that in the Premiership. Further back in time Wimbledon had success with average players. Even my nemesis Walter Smith had Rangers to a Uefa final by maximising what he had.

    On the flipside we can currently see teams filled with "stars" that fail to fit in. Again not being disrespectful here, but Torres, Joe Cole etc. How about teams like Bayern Munich - who are playing much better with essentially the same squad, but under a different manager?

    So are players really limited solely by their ability?

  • Comment number 59.

    As a completely disinterested observer, can I say that the elbow on James Vaughn should have resulted in a penalty and a red card. The fact Vaughn now might need plastic surgery is an absolute disgrace. The WBA player was clearly shown 'sighting' his victim with a sneaky glance before the 'accidental' hit that - away from a football field - would have seen him acquire a conviction for common assault. The FA need to act. With proper refereeing (and the WBA penalty award was a joke), Norwich would have got a well-deserved point.

  • Comment number 60.

    41. At 15:41 12th Sep 2011, COME_ON_YOU_BAGGIES wrote:

    Wigan and Fulham have over £300m debt between them, a debt they'll probably never repay. The solvent teams have to try and compete with that.......


    You do realise that Wigan had a small 7m debt payable to Barclays bank, which has now been paid. We've made a profit this financial year.

    Oh and today we'ver been declared as totally debt free.
    The only club in Britain without any debts.

    So your statement is far off the mark.
    Fulham carry 140m of debt.
    Bolton and Everton 70m each. Sunderland 60m debts. Villa 100m. They're your most in danger Premier League clubs.

    Your comment on Stoke as well is far off the mark, in their first season they had a turnover of 40m and wages of just over 20m, so how was their wages 100% of their turnover? Infact they made profits the first two seasons and spent shrewdly. The season after they spent big on Kenwyne Jones but had the money available to do so. They're managed very well and have a good financial structure. This Summer was the first time they spent big but with the extra revenue of Europa League, not a lot but around 10m, that's covered those signings.

    I'd say both Stoke and Wigan are ideal role models, Wigan more so as we play good football as well as being debt free. Wolves and WBA are also good financial models.

  • Comment number 61.

    Apparently Norwich need to stop giving penalties away - How insightful.

    What is particularly odious about this piece is that it's one of those articles which purports to be a 'thoughtful' take on a newly promoted team by people who are usually used to 'watching the grown ups play' in the premier league but in fact is a quite a thoughtless piece which serves only to expose a particularly slovenly slice of football journalism.

    Are lazy and rather pointless comparisons to other recently promoted teams like Blackpool interspersed with quotes which ultimately suggest the conclusion of relegation after four games (two more than Lee Dixon admits to having watched) really the best we can do these days?

    It really is no wonder that while the PL is the holy grail for most English teams, a great divide exists between the PL and the Football League not only in financial backing but also in the capacity for reasonable, balanced analysis in the world of the latter, against the poorly researched, rather unimaginative 'comment' of the former.

  • Comment number 62.

    Last season WBA could not buy a clean sheet. This is perhaps a reflection of how poor Norwich is!

  • Comment number 63.

    Norwich will learn two things or perish. There are no short cuts when it comes to having a serious goal threat,the players able to pose such a threat are extremely hard to find and very expensive but you cannot compete in Premiership with Championship strikers. Second,the more you moan about referees the worse it will get. Things are missed of course but no more than in the Championship,indeed probably less so. Difference is a poor decision last year probably didn't cost you a game and was thus quickly forgotten whereas this year,if you are not careful ,you will end up bemoaning your luck all the way back down.Hope not but Sunday Norwich got what they deserved Im afraid,West Bromwich were superior in every department and as their fans will tell you they didn't really play well!

  • Comment number 64.

    # 29. suttontiger wrote:
    As a Hull City supporter, I think Norwich have learnt the lessons from the likes of my beloved club following our two years in the PL - wage bill approaching £40m with mercenary players left us almost bankrupt once we were relegated.

    Exactly so. Added to which, Norwich have current debts of £20m accumulated following their last foray into the Premier League; 18 months ago administration was a real possibility. Being in that situation, in Autumn 2010, having bounced back with immediate promotion from League 1, the club adopted a 7-year plan envisaging promotion to the Premier League within 4 years, the likelihood of immediate relegation back to the Championship, then promotion back to the Premier League with a team capable of consolidation in the top tier thereafter. Nobody expected the club to be in the Premier League at the end of Year 1 of the plan, but we are.

    Lambert's policy over the summer has been to strengthen his squad in a way which (1) improves our chances of staying up while (2) not jeopardising the club's financial recovery, and which most importantly (3) lays the foundations for a quick return to the Premier League in the event that we are relegated. City fans, forum posters and TV pundits alike need to understand what the club is doing and why.

    We are in Year 2 of the 7-year plan, in a position we aspired to get to by Year 4. It's a fantastic achievement by all concerned, but in the longer term scheme of things we are only part way to where we aspire to be.

  • Comment number 65.

    Tommy wafc and Football UK

    Stoke have no "external debt" but the Coates family have to date put approximately £30-40m of their own cash in to ensure the club runs at a profit. See link above for wages:turnover ratio in 2009.

    Similarly, Wigan may well run on 'profit' now, but it doesn't alter that Dave Whelan put millions of his own cash in to begin with.

    The difference between these debts and say, Liverpool's last year, or any that Norwich, Wolves or West Brom would accumulate, is that these loans would be from a banking institution who can theoretically ask for it back anytime, partiuclarly as the debt crisis worsens.

    It remains unlikely that Peter Coates or Dave Whelan will ever ask for a return on their investment. In this sense, they've effectively received donations and thus cannot really be held up as sound and sustainable financial models.

  • Comment number 66.

    Football UK

    Further to the above. If you search for Stoke debt-free in a search engine, there's another broadsheet article that's about the second or third result down. It talks about them having no 'external debt' (which essentially means it's all internal) and Pulis himself remarks "we are so indebted to the Coates family".

  • Comment number 67.

    Exactly COME_ON_YOU_BAGGIES. Stoke's achievements in staying up continually for several years deserve recognition but it should be noted that in order to get promotion in the first place and then to strengthen their team sufficiently to stay up in their first season they were very much bankrolled by their chairman.

    On the other hand, WBA have had to achieve everything they have done in the last 10 years on almost zero input from the chairman and pretty much solely on income generated from team's performance i.e. parachute payments, player sales etc.

    WBA remain the perfect business model for championship teams - we've got a reputation as a yo-yo team but the fact is we have never spent beyond our means. Ok so we may have had a bit of a fluke season to gain promotion in the first place but since then we have gradually built and built using solely football-generated revenue and 10 years of slow development has culminated in an 11th-placed finish in the Premier League.

    Wolves are similar to Stoke and Wigan in that they currently make a profit and spend sensibly using money from the team's performance but had to call on their respective chairmen for help in order to get to and stay in the Premier League in the first place.

  • Comment number 68.

    Look at some of the money Albion have brought in from player sales in the last 5 years:

    Curtis Davies £9.5m
    Borja Valero £6m
    Diomansy Kamara £6m
    Jason Koumas £5.3m
    Jonathan Greening £4m
    Nathan Ellington £4m
    Paul Robinson £2m
    = £36.8m

    and contrast that to the team that secured an 11th placed finish last year - the whole 25 man squad cost less than £30m. Wigan are similar now in that they have sold players for big fees (Valencia, Palacios) and bought cheaply but Wolves (£7m each on Doyle, Fletcher and Johnson) and Stoke (£20m on Crouch, Palacios and Jerome) have spent big without recouping much of it from player sales.

    When was the last time Stoke sold a player for over £5m?

  • Comment number 69.

    Decent blog and, quite often, even better comments.

    #65 BAGGIES
    It seems to me that you are essentially suggesting that a sustainable, sound business model cannot be achieved with borrowed/investor money. As I see it, there is a difference between borrowing bags of money in some crazed pursuit of glory, and borrowing much less in order to create... a sustainable business model, or a club which can hold its own in the PL and make a small profit - a return on investment, perhaps - every year.

    Obviously, it would be extremely risky, for any club, to borrow "enough" to cover an attack on trophies, as that is pretty much a bet, and if you lose, there is usually no way the debts can be repaid. It is, on the other hand, quite possible to borrow enough to spend a healthy decade in the Premiership and, ultimately, repay the investment - if one is smart, tough and has support. 20-30 millions sound about right - just what the windfall money could comfortably cover if things don`t turn out, and it often effectively doubles the clubs` budget. It should be obvious that this does not mean splashing 30 mil right away, but spending some on players and keeping the rest to cover the wages for the length of the contracts and any foreseeable expenses, such as youth academy, scouting, or minor ground reconstruction. That`s still as much as 3 or 4 players to cover your weakest spots, create competiton in the squad, give the whole thing a sense of urgency. Such an investment, such a "financial injection" is perfectly all right, both from a fan`s and a businessman`s point of view.

  • Comment number 70.

    I wouldn't be too worried for Norwich yet. They haven't taken a hammering off anybody and can look at all their games and see moments where things might have gone differently on another day. Many are building this as a six pointer but having played United and Chelsea before losing narrowly to Stoke I think WBA have been very much underrated. They are a decent side with a good manager, a top class centre forward and are very organised. Losing to them is not a crisis point.

    A look to the bench should reinvigour the canaries if they are down. In Paul Lambert they have one of the most promising young managers in Britain which regardless of the premier league experience in their squad gives them an advantage over Blackburn already. With Swansea failing to score and many teams in the league capable of going on hopeless runs of form over the last couple of years or so (Wigan, Wolves, Sunderland, Bolton) they have plenty of reasons to be optimistic at this early stage.

    The biggest fear is "doing a Burnley" if a club comes for Lambert as Bolton did for Coyle. I do feel he'll stay in situ unless an Everton or Newcastle scale job comes up. With 25000 gates Norwich as a club are not outwardly inferior to many of the existing clubs.

  • Comment number 71.

    I would define a "soft" penalty as one where a foul was commited where the risk posed by the attacker was low, therefore the need to commit a risky defensive action was not required. This would most likely be a situation where the attacker is in a poor position, or the defender has enough time to commit to a safe defensive action.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 66.At 11:29 13th Sep 2011, COME_ON_YOU_BAGGIES

    Apologies for the delay in replying.

    You still miss the point.
    The initial reason for replying to your post because it looked extraordinarily surprising that you put West Brom, Wolves and Norwich in the same wavelength to Stoke City. Are you forgetting that Stoke are playing Europa Cup football this season, having already beat away a Swiss club? Have you forgotten that Stoke are last season's F.A. Cup finalists, having put 5 past Bolton in the semi?
    West Brom without Hodgson would be fighting for survival this season, alongside Norwich and Wolves. I don't think Stoke will, though.

    You are missing the big picture about the Stoke City chairman. It isn't only that he's a local businessman, Stoke City through and through. He's also the owner of a very successful betting company and, to him, owning a Premiership club is free advertising to his company. Furthermore, he didn't buy a club deep into debt. He acquired a club that, amongst other attributes:
    - have very loyal supporters who fill the ground week in, week out, being renouned as the loudest supporters in the premiership.
    - have a jewel of a stadium, new, modern, beautiful, with easy access to motorways and ticking all the boxes in what a modern football ground should have.
    - have stability in the club, with a chairman who doesn't interfere to the manager's job, doesn't replace him every so often, depending on the league standing of the club.
    - have a British core of players, including English internationals.
    - have many examples of revitalising a player's career, when other clubs wouldn't take them in their payroll.
    - have also bought players for next to nothing (read Walters) and today all England know about them.

    Why don't you ask a Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea fan, if their club has to give a last Premiership match, deciding a title or a top four position, where would they prefer not to play an away game? At Wolves, at Britannia, at West Brom or at Norwich?

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 68.At 12:17 13th Sep 2011, TheIncredibleHulkWearsSomenTchoyiPyjamas,

    When was the last time Stoke sold a player for over £5m?


    Really a funny argument.
    The easy answer is that Stoke isn't a selling club LOL.
    To answer the question, though, Stoke could quite nicely have made more of £5m by selling Showcross or the goalkeeper. They don't want to and they don't need to.
    Ain't it simple enough?

    I understand it looks strange that they've spent £22m on the final day of the summer transfer period but it looks strange only because most clubs without ambitions of improving put the money in the bank, then they look at the bank account, with extreme pleasure and then they either go to pray they will remain in the Premiership or start researching of good excuses for not investing part of the large chunks of cash they get annually from the Premier League to stabilise their clubs in the Premiership.

    Stoke haven't put themselves in any sort of danger by investing in improving their squad. It's cash from earnings, spent the way cash from earning should be spent in football.

  • Comment number 74.


    Yes but ultimately not everybody has £20-30m to take that gamble. In the case of Stoke or Wigan, they've effectively been handed it and told they don't need to repay it if the gamble fails.

    In the case of many others it would require a £20-30m bank loan, which can be recalled at any time and in many ways can threaten the future of the club by leaving it in the hands of creditors.

    Finally, where's the direct correlation between £20-30m and success? My team has spent less this year and last than 3 years ago under Tony Mowbray. We in fact, spent £23m and were relegated that year without trace.

    It's effectively like saying it's okay to borrow £20 off your mate, stick it in the fruit machine then pay him back IF you win.

  • Comment number 75.

    Having watched Norwich towards the end of last season and at the start of this one, it is clear that there is less pace upfront than there was then. That is entirely down to the absence of Simeon Jackson. I would like to see him paired with Holt or Morison who would hold the ball up or knock it on while Jackson runs into space. Or he could be paired with Vaughan and their combined pace might cause problems. He has proved himself as an instinctive finisher and i'm disappointed he hasn't been given a chance yet. Not even as a sub! (except in the league cup where he had no service at all due to a complete lack of interest from team-mates). I mean, which of the other Norwich forwards could score a goal like this? Scored for Canada against a strong Ukraine team:

    Come on PL, let's see him against Bolton, even if its just 20 minutes!

  • Comment number 76.

    Lambert and the Norwich hierarchy are not daft. To come up from league one to the prem in two seasons is an excellent achievement, but it is also a very big ask to then stay in the prem. Norwich have missed that season or three in the championship, in which most teams slowly adjust and build the quality of the squad which would stand them in better stead when they do reach the top tier.

    I think that Lambert has wisely bought mostly young players with a desire to improve themselves, that will hopefully do a good job this year, but he has also bought players that will stand them in good stead next year if they do go down. Most of those players would want to stay at the club if they were relegated i would imagine and with a settled squad and the parachute payments, that would give Norwich a solid base to work from to have another crack at the prem.

    Lambert clearly has something about him as a manager and his team are capable of playing some neat, tidy football on their day. Hopefully they can manage to stay up and build from there.

    Good luck from the only Rochdale fan in Norwich!?

  • Comment number 77.

    @ 75,

    beautiful goal! :)

    BUT, is it my idea or was it the thing not to do?
    Shouldn't he have passed to someone with a better chance of scoring?
    Such efforts, 19 times out of 20 are not effective.

  • Comment number 78.

    I really wish you would look back properly at these incidents. The fact is, Norwich have deserved none of the penalties or red cards against them yet when a player gets elbowed in the head we get nothing. The referees have given us nothing so far. Please look at each penalty closely and all of them are extremely harsh to say the least, even against Chelsea where if you look closely it is a dive. Norwich are better than the other promoted teams by far and I would be far more worried not having scored a goal yet, like Swansea. Norwich will not get thrashed many times this season and even against Chelsea had a lot of possession, until the red, they have Vaughan who has just come back and will add pace as well as Jackson who is out of form. Johnson looks fantastic and alongside Hoolahan and Crofts they have three players more than deserving of Premier League status and if they play in a 4-3-3 a fantastic trio. When the luck turns and it starts going for Norwich they will win quite a few under the fantastic manager they have.

  • Comment number 79.

    @74 BAGGIES
    I don`t think investing money is a gamble. I`d say a gamble is borrowing, then buying a bus of players and hoping to win big so you may cover the debt. Investment would be using a club`s promotion to the Premiership to take a reasonable loan, or find an investor, to build on that success and expand the club appropriately, as I`ve pointed out - targetting scouting, coaching, manager`s team, player regeneration, carefully weighed new signings, youth academy, and improvement of club revenues from advertisment, sales and attendance.

    Regarding WBA spending: it did not bankrupt the club. You seem to be suggesting it is useless to spend, while I`m trying to say a club like WBA (and a lot of others) can risk spending 23mil without going under. It hurts the owners` money, but it needn`t put the club itself into jeopardy. The club could`ve spent it in better ways, no argument there. Bad signings are, well, bad.

    You`re right, there is obviously no „direct corellation“ between 30mil and success, but a debt of up to 30 mil would be repayable with parachute money in case one gets relegated. For a healthy club in the Premiership, on the other hand, a debt of 30mil should be sustainable and eventually repayable. It`s not indecent to take on a servicable loan upon promotion in order to be more competitive in the upcoming two or three seasons. It might then happen things won`t work and you still get relegated, but you needn`t lose the club over it.

    What would be indecent, for example, would be for an owner to get the club promoted, spend nothing, get relegated and pocket the parachute money, since that money is there to promote competition in the Premier League, not to sit on the accounts of Championship club owners.

  • Comment number 80.

    I have to say for the most part that I agree with what Lee Dixon says but I do think it's a tad harsh in terms of the penalties, of which two were not even in the area. The Reid one was more a dive. The Chelsea one was the only penalty I think was clear cut, but even that game had some controversy in that Torres should have been sent off.

  • Comment number 81.

    the standard of refereeing is uniformly awful. get used to it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Football UK, you're completely missing the point I'm making - I agree with you that Stoke's recent spending is the result of several years of frugal activity and the money used to buy Crouch etc has come from the team's performance. What I'm saying is without the intervention from the Coates family when Stoke were initially trying to gain promotion and then stay up in their inaugural Premiership season, Stoke would still be in the Championship. Since they stayed up that first year they've begun to follow a sustainable business model and I applaud that, but the point I'm attempting to put across here is that the difference between Stoke and WBA is that Albion have had to get to where they are now purely off their own back and did not have the benefit of the initial helping hand from a wealthy benefactor as Stoke did.

  • Comment number 83.

    The West Brom supporters are correct regarding their clubs lack of debt but they appear to believe that this is a good thing which might explain why a club which reguarly fills its stadium and has won every domestic trophy there is to win in its long history is now apparently content to produce a good set of accounts and a team which despite the best produced by the club since 1980 is still not even in the top ten when it comes to naming their best ever teams. Stoke are,within the rules,chasing glory,West Brom are just trying to stay up...and they will Im sure but if football is not about glory,especially for a club like West Bromwich Albion then what pray is it about? Albion fans of old would view the current squad as 'minimum standard' Im sure.

  • Comment number 84.

    Further,I take issue with the opening line of this blog. Last year West Brom beat Blackpool once,took four points off Newcastle and six off Birmingham but only one off Wolves and none off Blackburn yet 4 off Arsenal and 6 off Everton. In other words they did no better against the bottom six than any other group but stayed up easily finishing 11th. This baloney about beating the teams around you is just that,baloney.

  • Comment number 85.

    Our financial prudence is frustrating at times but at least we are sustainable. Of course we could risk the club's entire existence doing a Leeds but it's too big a gamble. We don't have a rich chairman to give us huge loans like Stoke do and the sad fact is that realistically we are never going to consistently finish in the top 6 of the Premiership.

    It's depressing but the reality is football isn't about glory anymore, it's about money - I agree we have the potential to be a massive club but we don't have the funds to propel us to competing at the very top level. We could easily spend £30m and not finish anywhere near the top 6, as pointed out before we spent £20m when we were promoted under Mowbray and finished bottom! The fact is unless we undergo a billionaire takeover we're going to have to be content to finish in mid-table. Last year we paid the least amount in wages per league point than any team in the Premiership - in today's football that's a huge achievement, a lot has changed since the 1980s.

  • Comment number 86.

    That Reid penalty. It was soft, and totally unnecessarily but was correct. It was pure and simple over enthusiasm by the defender Steve Morison. He gets to Reid, who is going nowhere, and instead of taking up space to stop Reid turning to face goal, Morison, in his enthusiasm, just kept moving forward and ends up around a meter beyond where he needed to be. That meter just happened to include Reid.
    Watch goals on sunday - there are at least 2 of these every week across the 4 divisions.

  • Comment number 87.

    Reid is 6ft 1in (185cm)and nearly 14 stone (87.16kg) A bit too large to go over like he did, It was a very soft penalty.

  • Comment number 88.

    Its funny that this blog is still on the Norwich page as it talks about beating other promoted teams and Norwich's setback against West Brom. Yet since they have beaten West Brom at the Hawthorns and beaten QPR & Swansea TWICE! Also Holt is now on 12 league goals, matching Suarez, beating Torres both 10 times the price and is Englands second highest scorer in the Premier behind Rooney. Shows just how premature this was really, maybe should have left it a bit longer before posting? 39 point in March, 11th in the table, dont think they've done too badly have they? Maybe its time they put a new blog on the Norwich page. OTBC

  • Comment number 89.

    Reading through the comments on this thread is pure comedy gold.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.