There's only four teams involved in football's top honours these days, so what's it like to win silverware every season? This is the blog of one football fan who decided to, fully and unconditionally, do the unthinkable and change the football team he supported to spend one season at the top... AND NOW HE'S DOING A SIMILAR THING FOR EURO 2008 WITH A MATE BECAUSE THE SEASON'S FINISHED AND THEY'RE BOTH BORED

Archives for: May 2008

Defection is infectious…

29/05/08

… Or something like that.

I noticed today that Norwich City’s head physio Neal Reynolds has left his post to join Arsenal as assistant to Gary Lewin.

That actually pissed me off. How stupid is that? I’m the one who defected to Arsenal, yet when I see it happen the other way around I think: “Traitor, he’s just going for the glory.”

Meanwhile, Roeder wished Reynolds all the best on the Norwich website: “We would have liked to have retained his services.”

Well, we would have liked to have retained Huckerby’s services, but that didn’t happen either.

Anyway, there’s just a couple more Silly Conclusions to come I reckon. Don’t want to bore you to tears.

But, many thanks for all the comments on who you’ll be supporting for Euro 2008.

It’s really interesting to see the freedom of choice we all have.

There are many reasons for the country selected: some of you have chosen your Pro Evo (it’s a computer game) teams; some choices are based on a particular player; one is even considering going for the best looking team!

Me? I haven’t quite decided yet. Maybe I’ll rope in a mate to help me choose - do this as a team. That’ll change the dynamic for The Silly Season 2008 Special, coming up in a week or so.

The Silly Season: Euro 2008 Special!

24/05/08

Yes that’s right.

It’s not over yet… Oh no

Coming soon is The Silly Season Euro 2008 Special.

You can all play along with this one…

Here’s how it works: none of the home nations have qualified for Euro 2008, so we have to chose a different country to support.

Easy…

The question is: are we really that patriotic? Or is it the buzz of the tournament that we get the real pleasure from?

Could we support any country and feel the same rush of excitement?

Anyway, I’ll explain this better when I know exactly what will be involved…

——————–

Well done Doncaster and Hull by the way

More Silly Conclusions to come

The answer to beating trophy angst

20/05/08

So, Portsmouth got their hands on the cup on Saturday. The first club outside the Big Four since Everton in 1995 – making The Silly Season’s theory complete and utter bollocks.

But the Champions League final has become the new FA Cup for the Big Four hasn’t it?

In which case, couldn’t the Premier League pull out of the Carling Cup altogether and leave it for the league teams? Sod the UEFA Cup place, they can have that back. I just want to contest a trophy my team could win. League One and Two have the Johnstone’s Paintbrush. Even the Conference has one. Why not the Championship?

Maybe that will help me lose my trophy angst… Maybe I don’t have to sell out to the Big Four after all.

Come on FA, sort it out!


It’s called the league cup, so make it
exclusive just to league teams please

As for the European Cup, well that’s just over-rated rubbish isn’t it really.

However, would I be fighting the urge to buy a vintage Norwich shirt off eBay so much if I had just touched down in Moscow with The Family for the final? Hmmmm…

Anyway, here’s a list of past FA Cup winners. Only six times in the last 25 years has a team outside today’s Big Four won the cup. Does that make my theory look like less shit now?

No? OK…

2008 Portsmouth
2007 Chelsea
2006 Liverpool
2005 Arsenal
2004 Manchester United
2003 Arsenal
2002 Arsenal
2001 Liverpool
2000 Chelsea
1999 Manchester United
1998 Arsenal
1997 Chelsea
1996 Manchester United
1995 Everton
1994 Manchester United
1993 Arsenal
1992 Liverpool
1991 Tottenham Hotspur
1990 Manchester United
1989 Liverpool
1988 Wimbledon
1987 Coventry City
1986 Liverpool
1985 Manchester United
1984 Everton
1983 Manchester United

———–

Former Norwich City midfielder and hero of Norwich City’s 93/94-season UEFA Cup campaign, Jeremy Goss is talking on Sky Sports 1 just as I’m writing this. It’s a programme called Where Are They Now?

These are his words:

“With Norwich, we finished third in the Premiership that season [92/23]. Will we ever see that happen again? I don’t think so, no.”

If the mighty Gossmeister is writing off the future of football what chance do we have?

————

More Silly Conclusions and that announcement thing to come…

The Silly Conclusions: Emirates new clothes

13/05/08

Sorry, I don’t know why I called the last post ‘League’. I must have been in a massive rush.

I was probably trying to think of something funny. I didn’t.

Anyway, more Silly Conclusions

Part of The Silly Season was to see if I could leave one club and learn to love another in the same way.

Did it work? What do you think? I spent most of the recent Arsenal, You’ve Changed post talking about Norwich City’s win over Bayern Munich. I even went and found a YouTube video of that match - which I then watched five times in a row.

Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal (and fans, The Family, of course) had a huge affect on me, and without a doubt Arsenal is my second club forevermore. This season has been a wild journey I’ll never forget, and I have witnessed a very different side to football by spending a season in a Big Four club (as I’ll touch on in another Silly Conclusion post). But, it was not an experience that got rid of my trophy angst - for obvious reasons. (Yes, yes - I know Norwich City won the Milk Cup when I was five or six, but anyone who says they settled their trophy angst at that age is lying.)

It’s been emotional - on both sides
Yes, the campaign of beautiful football, Premier League leading, badly broken ankles, and dodgy penalty decisions were very emotional experiences.

I mean, I felt for Arsenal and I was frustrated, but so where loads of other people. My real feelings were back at Carrow Road - and that’s something I just couldn’t let go of.

I was worried about relegation, I was worried about Roeder (at first)… Hell, I was worried I was going to be murdered after a Norwich fan said I should be live on radio (see Radio Play).

That fact is, not only did I feel guilty for walking away from Norwich for a season, but within a couple of months - after the Emirates new clothes had worn off, so to speak - I missed Norwich City. The canary yellow colour that’s burned into my psyche; Carrow Road; that bloody endless journey into Norwich; Darren Huckerby (Sh*t, I missed Huckeby’s last season!); Delia – loads of stuff.

THE SILLY SEASON TV

Don’t get me wrong. At the start, it was bloody brilliant to do something I’d never previously considered - walking away from the shackles of supporting a (relatively) unsuccessful club, and suddenly being surrounded by the Champions League; the chance to win, well, everything; beautiful football; and other good stuff. It was really exciting at first, but so is bungee jumping (probably).

Close, but no Cygan
You know what, if this experiment lasted four or five seasons, I would have become an Arsenal fan.

I mean, it’s just conditioning, isn’t it? If you spend enough time with people, and a certain amount of time watching one football club, it just happens. It’s a gradual thing - there’s no eureka moment.

Even one of the Arsenal fans I met at some matches this season tended to “drift” between clubs. That’s just how he supported his football – he’s been an Arsenal season ticket holder for 12 years up to this point, but if he moves on, so will his allegiance.

Maybe the wider question here is how I feel about football in general.

My excitement has been sucked out of the game for many reasons: high prices, Americaniastion, blah blah blah.

I don’t mind if Norwich City spends the rest of it’s existence in Championship mid-table, but what I DO mind is knowing it’ll never get better than, say mid-table Premier League at best.

Right now that seems pretty good, but it’s having no hope of actually winning anything major, or at least getting close, that is so painful. That’s why this Big Four monopolisation makes me so angry.

——

Right, stick around for more Silly Conclusions, including stuff I found out about The Family.

Plus, after some fruitful boardroom discussions, a big announcement is coming this week on the future of The Silly Season.

No, I haven’t signed the newly unemployed Sven Goran-Eriksson as a guest columnist…

Or have I?

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League

11/05/08

Do you know what? I think, for once in his life, Keegan’s right – The Premier League is boring.

Whether we, or the deserved winner, like it or not the human condition dictates that we seek variety. And having four clubs as the only ones who can win the league (well, three really) is not enough variety.

So well done to Man Utd. Was it them who won?

I feel asleep.

—————

More Silly Conclusions to come this week!

Arsenal… you've changed

07/05/08

The Silly Conclusion Part 1

So let’s see…

Did I make the right choice by supporting Arsenal at the start of the season?

Er, no - not if I was looking for glory and silverware. Which I was.

But there’s more to it than that – the question was: what is it like to support a Big Four club? Is it different for these fans? Knowing you are going to win one of football’s top honours in the very near future.

I thought Arsenal were the right choice because they were overdue a victory in at least one competition this season after a three-year (I think) drought. And for a good while I was proved right. I guess it goes to show that there is some unpredictability in English football these days. It’s just what exactly Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool are going to win. Yeah, thrilling I know…

It’s plain for all to see how skilled Arsenal are as a team, but they just didn’t have the stamina or, well, brute Englishness to see it through.

The Club
As a Norwich fan I have always had a soft spot for Arsenal since they won both the League and FA Cups in 1993, thus propelling Norwich (who’d finished third – yes, THIRD IN THE PREMIERSHIP. You know IN THE TOP FOUR) into the UEFA Cup. The rest, of course, is history…

You don’t remember? Surely you do… Norwich beat a Bayern Munich team of with Lothar Mattheus and Jan Wouters, and were narrowly robbed by Bergkamp’s Inter Milan in the third round.

Here’s proof. The best bit has got to be when John Motson says: “This is fantasy football“, in that Alan Partridge way that he does.

What a feeling. What a feeling.

Anyway, I’m talking about a different Arsenal. The Arsenal of Ian Wright, Tony Adams, interesting Adidas kits and, of course, Highbury.

That was the Arsenal I admired from afar - not this one…

I think Arsenal have changed - because everything’s changed. I know I sound like a moaning old git, but there was a time when a fan outside the Big Four was allowed to believe, and to hope. It’s not easy having that taken away from you.

————-

Find out more from The Silly Season Conclusion series later this week, when my boss isn’t wandering what the hell I’m doing.

————-

Score prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal

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Winning isn't anything

02/05/08

Well done to Chelsea and Man Utd for making the European Cup completely unexotic.

Just remembered. I can spend my European Cup Final Fund now. I don’t need it to get to Moscow anymore.

You know, that actually feels like a large weight has been lifted off my shoulders. This season-long pressure I’ve had to win something…

Is that what it’s like for fans of Big Four clubs? The only surprise in a season for a Big Four fan is if they don’t anything.

Is that not a bit weird?

Shame I had to alienate almost every single Norwich fan in Britian to find that out…

Anyway, in case you didn’t know, the European Cup Final Fund was money The Silly Season was betting on Arsenal matches to raise the cash for Moscow.


The European Cup Final Fund yesterday

As things stand, it could now get me 10 cheese and onion pasties at Carrow Road or four burgers at the Emirates.


My European Cup (Pie)

Yup, it’s £24.

Anyway, stick around. Next week it’s the start of The Silly Conclusions series - where I decide what to do about this football-supporting mess I’m in, and work out what all this was about.

——————

I’m really hungry now…

Score Predictions: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Norwich City

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