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The Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge

Started on 8 August 2020 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 24 August 2020 by TheLFCFan
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Pre-Season Round-up 2020/21


On the back of an impressive season it was finally time for me to get underway in my first pre season with Norwich. After securing survival comfortably the board decided to entrust me with 50M in the budget which I'm happy to report I have invested all of on the first team.

So to start with as you all know our first signing was Herbie Kane who comes from Liverpool for just 975K. Herbie is a 21 year old English defensive midfielder who will sit just in front of our defence providing cover, and creative prowess from deep.

Already being worth 4.3M, I'm sure that in a few years if need be we can make quite a hefty profit on Herbie, but lets see how he does first. Maybe he'll hold onto his first team spot for years to come?


Next we have Jack O'Connell who became my second signing for the club. As stated before I wanted an all British back four forgetting that Jamal Lewis is actually from northern Ireland so low and behold we now have an all British back 4 instead.

Jack comes from newly relegated Sheffield, I decided to take advantage of their drop in leagues to pick up a left footed centre back on the knock down price of around 19 Million pounds which had they remained in the top flight would easily have demanded double that.

Jack fits right into the team to partner Godfrey and I'm hoping they'll both from a solid partnership for years to come.


Our third signing of the window is none other than a goalkeeper as Tim Krul leaves the club for around 4M. He was awful last season keeping only 2 clean sheets all season and so I've decided to bite the bullet and pick up a solid, proven Premier League keeper for the fee of 20M from Burnley. Another English player to fill that core of domestic players I really want to employ in my time at Norwich.

Nick will come in with the challenge of keeping more than 5 clean sheets. The bar really wasn't set too high last season. I honestly believe he'll pay for himself within the first few years.


Last but not least, Niclas Eliasson who helped Brentford earn promotion via the Championship play offs assisting 8 times in 25, sadly scoring 0. I have high hopes for Niclas in our team though, with better options upfront and more opportunities created lets hope he can get himself on the score sheet a few more times than is usual for himself.

We really needed to fill out the left flank as I've decided to move Cantwell into the number 10 role in behind Pukki and Adam Idah. It wasn't a preference to keep a right footed player out on the left wing and so I want to try and get the most out of the promising attacker in a new position.


Overall a very good window I think, I wanted to try and wheel deal a little better but we didn't have the financial flexibility or pulling power to do so which is the reason I instead decided to spend the big bucks and go all out.

A great man once said "Attack wins you games, Defence wins you titles" so although I might not be too happy with our attacking options up front what I do know is there are goals in them. The defence however had to be my main priority and I hope to say at the end of next season that this window was a vital component in fixing the weakness' we had last year.


This is now what our first 11 looks like, and I'm really excited to get to our first game in the league where we will play Manchester City at the Etihad. Not an easy start but I relish the opportunity to play the best. First though we have a tough pre season ahead which we've already started and are doing well in, and a game against the MLS all stars which was a pleasant surprise to me as I've never participated in this before.

See you all for the opening game of the season!
You've certainly done very well to steer Norwich to safety and do so relatively comfortably too.

I have to admit that I do have my doubts over your signings in the recent window. The money you had at your disposal, I would like to have seen a little more from you than players that I think lack the quality you need to push you forward to the next level. I could be wrong though. Hope I am!
Scott: Maybe you've a point, but given the challenge at hand I want to try and keep the squad as domestic as possible as Fergie did with his own. Given that, it's very hard to buy English players without being held to ransom in the initial stages of the game so I had to make do with what I could get. I think they'll do us just fine though personally, I guess we shall see in time!
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
11 monthsEdited

August - Back With A Vengeance


Manchester City 2-1 Norwich | Premier League | Cantwell
Norwich 3-3 Leicester City | Premier League | Greenwood x2, Jack O'Connell
Brentford 1-1 Norwich | Premier League | Eliasson
Norwich p1-1 Everton | Carabao Cup | Greenwood
Norwich 3-1 West Ham United | Premier League | Idah x2, Hernandez

After a long and difficult pre-season we’re finally back underway in the Premier League. Having won literally of our games in pre-season including the MLS All-Stars game 4-0, we were looking bang for our buck and had every reason to feel like we were making strides in the right direction.

Before the beginning of the season we would have time to make two more incredible signings.

Mason Greenwood having not played a single game for United joined up with us on a year long loan as we agreed to pay a his full wage and give him plenty of game time up top. He immediately becomes our best striker and I’m certain he’ll make a great impact.


The last signing of the summer has to be the best. For an incredible 3.5M upfront with fees that could see the price rise to a maximum of 8.5M – Ismaila Sarr joins the club from Watford after their relegation last year.

Having chased Sarr all summer Watford initially demanded 53M for the player, keen to not be held to ransom we let Sarr do all the work for us as he kicked up a fuss, was transfer listed for 10M, and we whittled them all the way down to just under 4!

Incredible!


Our first game back would be against Man City and of all places at the Etihad, it couldn’t be much harder to begin with but we went in strong as an ox and gave the game everything we could give.

Initially we dominated last years Premier League runners up and after receiving a penalty given away by Cancelo on the edge of the box it was left up to our star man Todd Cantwell to bury it from the 12 yard spot and put us in the lead. He slotted home beautifully, and we were 1-0 up.

It wasn’t long before De Bruyne took a chance on the edge of the box to curl home an effort into Pope’s bottom left corner, and despite dominating possession and taking the lions share of attempts in the second half we sadly went down 2-1 as Joao Cancelo burst through on the right hand side of the pitch and thundered a well hit strike into the far corner. We left Manchester with nothing.

Next up was Leicester at Carrow Road and for the Neutrals this would potentially go down as game of the season but for us managers It was anything but. Rodgers’ side came out firing with Vardy getting himself an early goal after breaking past our defensive line and netting home 1 on 1.

Mason Greenwood levelled the score just 4 minutes later with his first goal in the Premier League, and for Norwich.

Again Leicester would take the lead on the half time whistle, and again Greenwood had an answer. Another well timed finish into the bottom corner from close range would have us wheeling away in celebration at 2-2.

Vardy bagged his second 20 minutes into the second half which left the score at 3-2 for almost the remainder of the game but up stepped new man Jack O’Connell to the plate as he blasted home a bullet header in the 91st minute from a corner. Full Time, a point would have to do.

We next took on newly promoted Brentford where Eliasson would play against his old club, putting in a performance of the highest praise scoring his first ever goal for the club against his former team.

Brentford equalised early on in the second half and again we left with nothing but a point. A disappointing day out for us Canaries.

We were drawn Everton at home in the Carabao cup and after an abysmal showing last year in both cups I was keen to do better in both and get past the Toffees. For a while it seemed like we were destined to crash out as the Blues took the lead and held on right up to the 77th minute. Mason Greenwood coming up for the club again with another important equaliser.

Pope was the saviour on penalties as he saved not 1, not 2, but 3 penalties with Fabian Delphs being the deciding factor at the end of the shoot-out. Buendia, Sarr, and Stiepermann all scored penalties of their own.

And finally after so much patience our hard work in the tough start to the season was finally rewarded with a win as we hosted West Ham and absolutely nullified them in every aspect of the game. Adam Idah was the hero in this one scoring 2 goals, one being from the spot in the first half.

Late on West Ham bagged one back but Onel Hernandez coming on as a sub made damn well sure we would not drop any more points in August. 3-1, onto Chelsea in the next one.


Not the greatest month but we’ll definitely take it, a point is better than none although I would have preferred to beat newly promoted Brentford especially after prizing away their best player from them in the summer.

One to forget, but we were back to winning ways at the end of the month, as we were drawn Sunderland in the next round of the Carabao Cup. I’m eager to get even further into the tournament.
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
11 monthsEdited

September - Our Own Slice Of Perfect


Chelsea 1-4 Norwich | Premier League | Buendia x2, Greenwood, Pukki
Norwich 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur | Premier League | Sarr, Cantwell, Greenwood
Sunderland 1-2 Norwich | Carabao Cup | Greenwood, Byram
Norwich 4-0 Newcastle United | Premier League | Greenwood, Sarr, Cantwell, Buendia

I've been so excited to bring this month to your attention, the second month back in the Premier league in our first full season at Norwich and we've absolutely battered everyone in our path taking a full 9 points from 3 games, and seeing our way into the 4th Round of the Carabao Cup where we'll play Chelsea after coming from behind to beat Sunderland 2-1.

All thanks to stand in right back Sam Byram and the man from Man United - Mason Greenwood who has been on fire since the first kick of the season.

Going in against Chelsea and Spurs I was initially quite worried about how we'd get on. I was desperate for some points to prove to the fans, rivals, and of course my self that we're better than a relegation battle.

Chelsea had absolutely no answer to our sheer dominance, we were 2-0 up in the first half thanks to Buendia and Greenwood both bagging a goal each and despite Herbie Kane giving away the penalty that would see Jorginho bring the blues back into the game, he really dictated the midfield all over on his debut. A wonderfull display.

A little more nervy in the second half it was up to Buendia to seal Chelsea's fate and bury them further in the mud before professional stat padder Teemu Pukki cropped up to make it 4.

Another professional display at home against Spurs would be up next where we would also secure our first clean sheet of the season. We absolutely battered Spurs and didn't even give them so much as a sniff. Sarr managed to score his first proper goal of the season as Cantwell got in amongst them too.

Buendia who has been just as brilliant as Greenwood this season left Spurs fans in shock after curling 30 yard strike into the top right corner. Goal of the month kind of stuff right there. It was fantastic.

The last result of the month was another win and a clean sheet against Newcastle! As the defence has settled in recent weeks it seems we're starting to iron out a lot of the mistakes that we had in the beginning days of the season and we're really pushing on and making ourselves look like European spot contenders of all things!


We sit 3rd in the table after 7 games scoring an incredible 19 goals (Same amount as City at the top of the table) conceding 8 goals in the process. This looks to me like the makings of a strong Premier League side.

None of the relegation zone business, we're here to stay.
A great start to the season. You must be desperate to prove me wrong. Glad I can act as your motivation. ;)
Scott: Never underestimate me B-)
Good start with this. Actually done this myself and loaded it all up, haven't actually played it yet. Norwich have some serious talent if you can keep hold of them.
Oh yeah yeah
Great to see you proving Scott wrong with your signings. I am very impressed by the focus on the English talent as well as Sarr who for that price, could be argued as bargain of recent memory I'd imagine. The results have shown, your tactics are working and the signings are fitting in. The emphasis on defensive improvement in the window has been seen specially this month keeping the same number of clean sheets as you did all of last season. Great job.
SonsOfAnarchy: Thanks man, its long been something I really wanted to delve right into. Norwich to my surprise as well as great young talent have a fantastic backroom staff set up as well!

Justice: Oh yhyh

Seb: Scott is always wrong. I was pleased to get Sarr for such a small fee as you can imagine we only had about 5mill left in the bank and to whittle watford down to such a small amount when initially they wanted 53M for him is incredible. I'm hoping that the emphasis on domestic bias helps the team gel a lot more quickly without having to learn new languages, being away from home etc. Only time will tell if that works well but I think we're already seeing the benefits!

October - The Cup Run Continues


Huddersfield 0-1 Norwich | Premier League | Buendia
Norwich 0-0 Brighton | Premier League | N/A
Liverpool 3-0 Norwich | Premier League | N/A
Norwich 2-0 Chelsea | Carabao Cup | Pukki, Greenwood
Arsenal 3-2 Norwich | Premier League | Ismaila Sarr x2

In the Carabao Cup we were drawn none other than big boys Chelsea after we progressed at the expense of League One's Sunderland. Having battered Chelsea once already this season at Stamford Bridge I was more than confident that we capable of continuing on a wonderful cup run at Carrow Road on a cold winters night.

We were of course the better team again, out playing Franks blues and coming first to almost every ball for a full ninety minutes. The work rate we displayed was unprecedented compared to anything we had already seen this season and our efforts paid off as after a long period with the score at 0-0, Greenwood broke through with a wonderful header to put us into the lead.

Looking like it was all said and done, the final piece of the puzzle was still to be placed as Pukki latched on to well time Max Aaron's cross and directed the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga for the second time this season.

The boys played a marvellous game of football against one of England's best, and Europe's elite. We would avoid the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool (Who would play each-other) and were given Preston North End in the quarter finals. The last remaining non Premier League club in the competition.

We still had the premier league to focus on though and all things considered it was a pretty mixed bag albeit involving a couple of expected results. In the final game of the month we took it to the Emirates in a bid to rectify the heavy 3-0 loss we had succumbed to against Liverpool and the ever prolific Mohammed Salah.

For us, Ismaila Sarr was the star of the show proving just why we brought him nearer the end of the transfer window. The Senegalese winger bagged two goals against the Gunners but unfortunately it wasn't enough to gain anything from the match as Arsenal's David Luiz scored the decisive penalty in a difficult and well fought game.

On the other side of things, we were able to gain another 4 points from newly promoted Huddersfield, and ever present Brighton and Hove Albion.

with three points against Huddersfield away from home we looking good to go to Brighton and steal another win but despite dominating for the majority of the game we just could not find a way through.

We kept a clean sheet ourselves but lacked any of the cutting edge needed to go on and win the game. This is definitely a game I think we can learn from, it's always going to be tough playing the Liverpool's and Arsenal's but when you come up against the likes of Brighton and fail to win at home - You can't expect to be getting near those European spots...Let alone the title.

Still...A long...Long way to go before we should be thinking about that.


Our win at Huddersfield means they keep just the one point remaining at the bottom of the table with fellow relegation candidates Brentford, and to my surprise, Burnley!

We have dropped out of the European spots of course thanks to two unfortunate results against the big boys but with a string of easier matches coming up next month in a much less congested run of games I'm hoping we'll soon rectify that and put us back where we want to be.

Meanwhile, Man City and Liverpool continue to run riot at the very top. Surprise, Surprise.
Oh yeah yeah

Early days but the general form looks good! If you keep it up, a challenge for the European places may be on the cards

November - Inconsistency and Injuries


Norwich 4-4 Wolves | Premier League | Pukki x2, Buendia, Eliasson
Bournemouth 2-1 Norwich | Premier League | Jack O'Connell
Norwich 1-1 Everton | Premier League | Ismaila Sarr (p)

I can't quite tell you what we've been playing at this month. It's been an absolutely abysmal showing from us from start to finish this month and I can't quite get over my anger for just how ridiculously bad we've been given the precedent we set at the beginning of the season.

Wolves up first at home, would you believe we were 3-1 up in the 65th minute, and the game ended with US having to find a late equaliser.

Pukki was the name on fans lips at half time getting himself a brace and making things seem like we'd be heading home with all 3 before Buendia fire a long range shot into the bottom left corner.

Of course as is the nature of Football Manager, the comfortable lead was short lived as Lallana scored to bring them back in to the game, and then Taison fired one in from long range.

A lapse in concentration on a set piece even found us going behind to a Dendoncker thunder bastard after showing up our entire defence and getting through one on one.

Eliasson came on for an injured Sarr and managed to get us an equaliser with a little time left for us to find a fifth but we couldn't manage to get over the line. Awful.

We then were put to the spike by none other than 10th placed Bournemouth. Once again we led the game for a considerable amount of time and dominated for a lot of it. It wasn't until Callum Wilson scored that we seemed to just let go, as Nathan Ake was able to break free of his marker in the 6 yard box and nod home a simple corner.

Again...Awful.

It was only 3 Premier League games this month and the last was home to Everton who by all means have been doing fairly well this year but despite this we took the game to them and dominated completely, scoring first through an Ismaila Sarr penalty.

Registering just 3 shots all game compared to our 20+ you'd be forgiven for thinking that we left with a big win but apparently our defence had other ideas as they just sat and watched as Sandro broke through and tucked away a 1 on 1 finish. Livid. We couldn't find a winner.


I'm lefting feeling blue after this month, some of you will say but Aaron, you're only Norwich. Not good enough, we had all 3 games practically in our hands and gave them all up entirely. The mentality this month has been woeful and I will expect a much better performance against West Brom at home in our next game.
Quite the bottle against Wolves. Next level that.

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