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That game at Crawley...
at 19:50 18 Mar 2015

earlier this season has turned out to be a pretty decisive night for the futures of many of those given an opportunity.

The lack of impact from Nouble, Wordsworth, Marriott, Hewitt and Bajner ended their careers at ITFC (harsh for Bajner, but he barely touched the first team afterwards and jury is out on Hewitt).

Taylor was in the shop window and never played again.

Whilst the performances of Bru, Bishop and Clarke, who all did really well, have seen them both become regulars in the first team squad.

Pretty decisive in hindsight even if it was a rubbish experience.
Just to rub things in a bit...
at 14:05 2 Mar 2015

The Swiss Ramble blogger has done something on Norwichs finances which he published today.

It makes painful reading, both in terms of Norwichs financial position now and also because its a perfect highlight of just how skewed finances are between the Championship and Premier League.

The same guy wrote a report on Norwichs finances for 2010 and it was effectively that, without selling land to the local housing authority, they were on the brink of administration having broke covenents on debt repayments (sounds familiar). The land sale bought them some time and, in the meantime, Paul Lambert got them back into the Championship.

Fast forward 4 years and a promotion and 3 PL years have seen their turnover increase from £23m to £98m last year and they have written off all their external debt, whilst making a £9m profit.

In any other business, their turnaround in financial fortunes would have been miraculous. But instead, all it really came down to was getting the right manager at the right time when they were about to go under.

Next year, the bottom placed PL team are going to earn a further £30m. When a team gets relegated, the parachute payments are doing nothing more than encourage the club to keep spending, because the PL want promoted teams with strong competitive squads so that their league remains marketable. Norwich apparently have 40% relegation release clauses in their contracts so, along with sales of players like Fer and Snodgrass, they dont even need a parachute payment.

Yesterday, Norwich brought on a £6m striker for the last 5 minutes to kill time. He was third in line to start the game. We brought on Luke Varney a player who cant even get a game at his parent championship club and will be released in the summer.

Yesterday for me was as much about losing a derby as releasing just how ridiculously far behind Norwich we are financially, simply because of 2 excellent seasons on the pitch that changed their fortunes dramatically.

We have to win promotion, its the only way to resolve it. Yet, each year we get closer to the point where its going to become financially impossible. Money isnt everything, but its almost impossible for it not to become the only factor in the next 10 years.

All of which makes this year start to appear even more critical.
Saw a half and half scarf yesterday....
at 11:55 2 Mar 2015 half yellow, one half blue.

I was nearly sick. Then I saw that the blue half was Chelsea and I actually was.

What kind of sickos do Norwich have?
Policing etc...
at 21:47 1 Mar 2015

For various reasons, was south of norwich before the game.
Walked to the stadium with zero aggression, but barely any other itfc fans around. Walked into stadium without issue. Stood practically next to the Norwich fans and hardly any aggression there either- one great moment when an ITFC fan leaned over the barrier and offered his pack of cigs to a norwich fan he had been shouting at all game. Norwich fan took one and put it behind his ear.
Walked out of stadium, asked police if we could go the other way, they just said wait until the crowd had passed and we did, then walked back again.
Chatted to some old Norwich fan on the way out who confessed finds it all a bit too stressful, hopes we dont meet in play-offs etc.

From all of that, the game was as mild as going to any other ground in the country. No different.

And yet all I read now is about fans who were mistreated by police etc and the way our fans were handled. There are obviously going to be fans who want to go to the derby to "give it the big un", but it does seem to demonstrate that whilst there was carnage trying to herd fans en masse to the station, everyone else got by without issue. I dont think Id ever get the train to Norwich again, because the policing of it seems to be as heavy handed as always. Yet, if you dont go by that route, it was no different to any other game.
Micks thoughts on our squad...
at 13:46 24 Feb 2015

“I’ve got a squad of 18 for the 14 games which are left so there’s always that conundrum of whether to do it or not. We’ve got Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday. It’s a fairly hectic schedule.”

Weve named a squad of 19 for tonight and we have 5 players our injured. I think our squad is a little bigger than 18 now.
Its amazing how much of the media feel they can predict...
at 13:45 16 Feb 2015

with any confidence how the championship will pan out.

On Football Weekly last week, they were previewing Boro at Arsenal and were complimentary about Boro (justified), yet it was summarised with "they will probably be in the premier league next year".

Im not sure I could say "probably" about any of the teams at this stage, not least Boro. Their last 10 league games involve playing 6 of the current top 8. They have a run of games in late March where they play us at home, followed by Bournemouth and Derby away in consecutive fixtures. If they win all 3 of them, they would surely be big favourites, but I would be surprised if they dont drop points in at least two of those games.

Away at Norwich is hardly going to be easy for them either.

For me, Derby look like they have the best squad and the experience of last year chasing promotion. But Bournemouths squad has promotion experience too.
From the always excellent "Loft for Words"...
at 19:58 3 Feb 2015

Probably not much else to add to this, although its worth mentioning that the context of this is even more relevant when he quit just two weeks later.....

"Here’s Redknapp before the Man Utd home game:

“I go home Saturday night from Burnley and I can’t talk to my wife. I can’t talk to anybody. I get so low. It’s scary. It’s not right really, but that’s how it gets you. When I stop feeling like that is probably the time I should retire. When I go home and think, 'Oh, it doesn’t matter – what’s for dinner, darling?’ Have some fish and a nice glass of wine. I go home now and just sit up watching television, watching football until about 05.00 on Sunday morning in a room on my own. It’s wrong. It’s a silly way to live your life, but if you care, you care. You can’t change the way you are.''

And here’s Redknapp after the Man Utd home game:

''Do I look like I feel under pressure? When I get home I'll take my wife for a nice meal somewhere, have a nice bottle of wine, then in the morning wake up and take my dogs for a walk. My life's very good.” "
The drummer...
at 22:29 1 Feb 2015

There is always value in games like yesterday. If the game is rubbish, its the time you notice stuff like "oh, that floodlight still hasnt been fixed" or "they really need to clean the roof".
Amongst other things, I noticed the drummer and once again, how it doesnt work. Think of almost any Ipswich song thats been sung down the years, the classics, and then try to imagine drumming a beat to them. It doesnt work, the pace is different.
So, a drummer ends up dictating the songs based on the ones that actually work with the drum beat he wants to play. And so it changes the atmosphere. Its exactly why the England band doesnt work- "The Great Escape" might work really well for a band to play, but it creates a totally different atmosphere. The drummer played "Ipswich Ole" over and over and over on saturday.
Gold Cards...
at 22:31 29 Jan 2015

Ive banged this drum enough already, but its pretty annoying as a customer to say "hey, this product doesnt seem to be providing the value I was led to believe it might" and, in response, be told "Well, nobody made you buy it. You have a choice".
Re: thread on ITFC highlights....
at 17:26 25 Jan 2015

This is the website of the company who own the rights to the ITFC highlights.

Few bizarre choices of DVDs on there (do they own the rights to anything in the 92-2000 period? And why is there nothing since 2006, except one on Roy Keanes first season?), but they have a few things which arent for sale on the ITFC shop, whilst all of them on this page are available to download and own digitally-

The most obvious ones to me are the 91/92 promotion season and the 00/01 Premier League season, neither of which are for sale on the ITFC website yet are the two greatest seasons of the last 25 years.
Didnt really understand the Derby COO comments...
at 11:32 12 Jan 2015

or those of Derby fans either, saying how ironic it was that they won with a long ball goal.

Surely thats not a positive? It doesnt really say much that having argued that we play long ball football, rather than their own more expansive game, the only way they could find to actually win the game was to use that style of play they criticise. Effectively, it suggests that system is more effective.
Trying to keep feet on the ground...
at 11:31 9 Jan 2015

if we draw on Saturday, thats a decent result and keeps the gap between us and Derby below us.
If we lose to Southampton, it will be no disaster to get beaten by the 4th best side in the country, particularly as we probably wont have played our strongest side.
If we draw at Millwall, its could be viewed that any draw away from home is decent enough.

That would represent a series of results that are reasonable enough on their own and yet we will be 4 games without a win and suddenly the Brighton game will carry some pressure. So, whilst looking ahead, be cautious.
FFP Changes...
at 17:06 6 Nov 2014

Losses that were decreasing from £8m to £6m and onwards to £3m suddenly shoot up again to £13m. So much for getting player wages down. The clubs have been cutting their running costs to the bone to try and maintain high wages for as long as possible. But now the wages will just go up, whilst the other stuff will probably stay where it is.

But it does seem to indicate that Marcus Evans might be able to start investing more in the playing squad if he chooses.

The last line of Phils report is perhaps the most revealing/disappointing- that clubs have effectively agreed to increase their spending because the Premier League are putting pressure on them to spend more, in order to ensure the PL keeps its appeal and competitiveness. So, in return, there is the hope that the parachute payments and solidarity payments can be increased (probably by a relatively low amount).
Here is why Paul Jewell was an idiot...
at 22:17 9 Oct 2014

1.) When appointed to the job, he was asked "what have you learnt from your experiences at Derby?". He said that he learnt that he probably tried to change too much too soon.
In his first summer at the club, he signed something like 15 new players and it ended in failure.
At Christmas, he was asked "what do you think went wrong?". Jewells answer? "I probably tried to change too much too soon".

2.) When Jewell was appointed, he was asked what type of side he was looking to play. He talked about how he had always liked to play attacking football, liked a traditional 4-4-2 with wingers. In his entire time as manager, he barely ever played a 4-4-2. In his first summer at the club, he signed Lee Bowyer, Jimmy Bullard and Keith Andrews, all central midfielders, to join Grant Leadbitter. He didnt sign a single winger in that time, nor in the rest of his ITFC career.

3.) In his first summer, he talked about taking time, building for the future, a long term plan. Then proceeded to sign a whole series of 30-something players, many on short term contracts, or loans. They team suffered some horrendous results, had a brief period of 6 games where a formation worked before it was horribly exposed and the club sunk towards the bottom of the table. We lost 4-0 at Burnley and Jewell asked fans for patience, reminding that it takes time to build a winning team (despite no evidence that he was building a long term strategy).
At Christmas, Jewell confessed that he had actually been working to a short term plan to win promotion, but it hadnt worked (quite spectacularly hadnt worked). Contradicting his requests for patience from supporters, which were simply with the aim of deflecting flak from a terrible team.

4.) We got injuries to almost every central midfielder and he played Hyam and Drury, both completely out of the pitcture at that point (Hyam said he was about to leave on loan at the time). They did well and he kept them in the team, suddenly professing that, this time, he really was building a long term plan. By the end of the season, Hyam had dropped out of the team and we were playing players like Leadbitter and Bowyer, both of whom were set to leave in the summer.

5.) He spent the entire sum of Connor Wickhams transfer fee on a series of players that had no future value, but were all about a big push for promotion. A push which went very wrong.

6.) He released many of our youth players, to the point that we had absolutely no youth system to speak of, something which hit us hard when the U21 league arrived and we had no players to fill it. Caolan Lavery was offered a risible contract and subsequently scored goals in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday. Cody Cropper is at Southampton. When we failed our Academy audit this summer for Category 1, one of the main failings that they club could actually put their finger on was the lack of young players who had been given opportunities in the first team in recent years. Jewell didnt play them, nor keep them.

7.) Jewell spoke of building a team for the future once again, yet his last acts as manager were to sign a whole load of experience short term signings, including a goalkeeper to replace the goalkeeper he had signed only two months earlier. His argument for doing so? That we needed some experience to help us move forwards with a young team.

8.) He openly ridiculed Gunnar Thordarssons as being "boring" because he was so intent on learning the game.

9.) Jewell brought Bullard, Chopra, Taylor and N'Daw to the club, all of whom ended up creating enormous bad publicity for the club. He brought Lee Bowyer to the club, who already had enormous bad publicity. Carlos Edwards brought bad publicity to the club whilst Jewell was manager. His judge of player ability was poor, but his judgement of character wasnt much better.

Jewell was given the almost unprecedented opportunity to have two different projects at ITFC. He failed the first one spectacularly and failed the second one almost as spectacularly, leaving us at the bottom of the table. Worst Manager ever.

Please bookmark for future reference. It will save me having to write it out again. Ta.
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