Tuesday, 17 February 2009


You're really in the shit when other clubs think that you're the reason they'll survive relegation.

Plymouth's plight could give City survival hope

Worrying as the bottom of the Championship table is at the moment, City's survival hopes could stand or fall by whatever happens 360 miles away from Norwich tomorrow night, if the following views are particularly widespread.

"The board are determined not to listen to the fans."

"A song to be played at the next home game - Go Now by the Moody Blues."

"The manager's bad signings are the reason we are in this pathetic mess."

"We are sinking faster than a stone.

Change the manager, get rid of all the hangers-on, sort out the highly-paid, not-bothered attitude of some of our players. Act now, please."

"Paul, it is time to say goodbye. If you wish to retain any respect of the fans and the club step down and allow the chance of a fresh face and approach to save us from the drop.

You and your backroom staff are not good enough and have lost control of the players."

All comments on the Plymouth Herald website yesterday following the Pilgrims' disastrous 2-0 defeat at Charlton.

Tomorrow night Plymouth play their game in hand over us at home to Crystal Palace, when boss Paul Sturrock is likely to be coming under even greater pressure should they fail to win.

This is a man, remember, who once effectively led Argyle to two promotions in three seasons, but a club legend would now appear to be fighting for his job as once-loyal supporters turn on him.

Okay, I might have my doubts about Norwich's managerial structure and decisions, but I know that failure will hurt them as much as it does me or any other fan.

The mood at Home Park would appear to be rather more divided, and if our survival depends on profiting from others' failures and misfortunes, then so be it.

Tomorrow also sees Barnsley visit Sheffield Wednesday while Watford host Swansea, and while you'd like to hope that both games go our way, the Tykes and Hornets would still each have two games in hand over us, so, for the moment at least, you can't see them being in the most danger of going down.

No, it's Plymouth who will be really in the thick of it if they fail to win tomorrow night. Big time.

Since beating Cardiff on November 22 to go seventh in the table they have won just once in taking seven points out of a possible 42 - four of which came against one team, Southampton.

In that same period our struggling motley band have at least managed a whole 12 from a game more.

And with a visit from the Pilgrims looming on the horizon it's now becoming apparent that the Canaries' fate will probably be sealed by the next four games at Carrow Road.

We face Burnley, Coventry, Cardiff and, perhaps most crucially on March 14, Plymouth, and, without question, we have to win at least three of those games.

I didn't go to Preston on Saturday because I just couldn't see us getting anything out of the game.

We're facing a top-four side with an impressive home record - one word, Reading, immediately sprang to mind before the kick-off.

City's fate was sealed about 20 minutes in when I tuned into Radio Norfolk and heard Chris Goreham mention something along the lines of how they had started the better at Deepdale.

No, we plainly can't win away from home.

Okay, maybe we can grind out the odd hard-earned point here and there, but in our present plight it's victories that we need, and you can't see where even one of them is going to come from on the road.

Maybe, just maybe, Blackpool, but as for the rest - QPR, Birmingham, Swansea and Ipswich - there's no real obvious source of points in there.

And Charlton on May 3 doesn't bear thinking about if we need something at The Valley.

We have to learn from the games against Southampton and Bristol City and start killing teams off at Carrow Road.

With a possible FA Cup fifth-round visit to Arsenal to look forward to the following week you would have to hope that it's the Burnley side beaten 3-0 at Watford who turn up at Carrow Road this Saturday rather than the one which drew 1-1 at Birmingham.

Fail to win at the weekend, and we then must beat in-form Cardiff.

Defeat or a draw with Coventry on March 28 and we then have to start thinking about having to beat Reading here on April 25 - a day when they could need a victory to secure promotion.

With the players we've got, as well as home advantage, we surely ought to have enough about ourselves to beat Burnley, Coventry and Plymouth.

Were that to happen, the Devon side might well be in freefall by then if the present mood around Home Park continues.

But we can't rely on that, so you have to look at home wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Watford in April as well.

Five wins would take us to 47 points, throw in an odd draw here and there and we would surely be all right, irrespective of what goes on elsewhere.

But it probably all depends on getting something from Saturday's massive home game against Burnley, and you sincerely hope that Sammy Clingan is available and certain other players emulate Lee Croft's all-action approach as we take the initiative right from the first whistle.

At least the mood at Carrow Road should be a whole lot better than the mood down at Home Park, that's for sure.

Just as Argyle are looking to Norwich to slip up to ensure survival, Norwich are looking for Argyle to do the same. It is never any good to rely just on the misfortunes of others as there is no guarantee that those misfortunes are permanent, all it takes is a few wins and draws against continued losses. You have to make your own fortunes. Unfortunately, Argyle can't at the moment.

Article by Steve Geggs, EDP24, 16 February 2009

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