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The Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge

Started on 8 August 2020 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 24 August 2020 by TheLFCFan
Scott: The league to me right now is the most important thing while we develop into what we need to be to challenge for these cups.

February - Out of the Mud

Leeds 0-1 Norwich | | Kane
Norwich 2-1 Watford | | Eliasson, Connolly
Norwich 4-1 Everton | | Lewis x2, Kutucu, Connolly
West Ham 2-4 Norwich | | Connolly x2, Lewis, Kane

I said to myself before the beginning of February that if we're to qualify for the Champions League then the easy-ish group of fixtures coming up had to be nipped in the bud with a 100% win rate, absolutely no question. Chelsea are full of slip ups and we need to step up our game and go on more of a winning run to fire us into where we want to be.

Ever since I begun playing wing backs our form has shot up in the right direction. Playing wing backs and 3 at the back taking out my wingers and opting for extra midfielders, the wing backs bring the width to the team and in doing so seems to have brought the best out of Jamal Lewis.

This month on the goals front Jamal Lewis was on fire towards the end with Aaron's assisting him THREE times for all of his goals. Lewis himself bagged a couple of assists too.

With Leeds in the gutter it was important we didn't slip to 20th in the table and luckily through a Herbie Kane long shot we were able to win the game although unconvincingly.

We then took on Watford who have always been a bit of a thorn in our side a little the same as Bournemouth but once again we found a way and ran out with 3 points pushing us ever closer to Chelsea.

Over to the dark ends of Merseyside, we made a right humiliation of Everton beating them 4-1. We went 1-0 up before Santos equalised for the Blues but we took it as a test of our resolve in the second half and absolutely battered them. Lewis the star man for us virtually won it by himself. 2 goals and an assist.

Lastly before we took to the Europa League knockouts against Marseille, we had to play West Ham at the Olympic stadium who were again no match for us Canaries. Since Connolly's had more time in the first team he's been banging in the goals and I'm happy to say he's repaid my faith recently. Certainly more so than Kutucu and Pukki have since the turn of the year.

We move into the top 4 for the first time since September! Leapfrogging Chelsea, top 4 is now completely in hour hands with 10 games to go and our run in isn't too hard either! We've Palace, then chelsea and Aston villa in the next 3 league games and with wins in all of those I completely believe we'll be in amongst Europes elite next year.

Up up and away!

March - The European Return

Norwich 2-0 Crystal Palace | Premier League |
Marseille 0-6 Norwich | Europa League Round of 16 |
Chelsea 3-3 Norwich | Premier League |
Norwich 0-0 Marseille | Europa League Round of 16 |
Norwich 0-1 Aston Villa | Premier League |

We're back into everyone's favourite month! Regen day, and the return of European football...Although nothing of note from the youth intake for the second year in a row. Pretty disappointing considering the level our facilities and coaching is at but not to worry. I'll hope for better next year.

We do come back into the Europa League though just after a wonderful routine win against Crystal Palace who at times over the season have proven a difficult team to play for some of the big 6 as usual.

We took on Marseille in what was thought to be an even clash but the first leg proved the gulf in quality between us and them as we hammered them a whopping 6 goals to 0. Our first experience in a European Knockouts was welcomed to Carrow road with a huge Aaron Connolly hattrick in which spurred on the whole team to see us into the Quarter finals.

After our 0-0 draw we would find out it would be Manchester City as our next challenge in the quarter finals with the potential of playing either Monchengladbach or Sevilla if we completed the unlikely tasks of reaching the semis.

The one important game for the month though was the most disappointing against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in which we led 3-1 for the majority of the game before 2 80th minute goals hit home by Tammy Abraham.

A frustrating day out for us when really Chelsea were not in the game at all. We gave them a way in and the mentality clearly wasn't there. We just didn't want it bad enough.

The last game at home to Aston Villa...Again we dominated and I think that maybe the Chelsea result took it out of the boys. We had everything against Villa and yet we still lost somehow just 1-0. With no way back, and 2 games in hand for Chelsea things were now out of our hands.

April - Dare To Dream

Brighton 0-2 Norwich | Premier League | Buendia, Connolly
Norwich 2-0 Manchester City | Europa League Quarter Final Leg 1 | Kamara, Connolly
Norwich 2-0 Bournemouth | Premier League | Aarons, Buendia
Manchester City 0-1 Norwich | Europa League Quarter Final Leg 2| Connolly
Arsenal 1-0 Norwich | Premier League | N/A
Manchester United 1-0 Norwich | Premier League | N/A
Norwich | Europa League Semi Final Leg 1| Kutucu, Sarr

I just want to talk about one thing right now and I think you all know what that thing might be already...The European Dream might well and truly be on guys!!

We came up against City in the quarters this month starting off at Carrow Road in a match we utterly dominated and set ourselves up for the second leg 2-0 on aggregate with goals from Connolly and Kamara. Man City were stunned by us on the day and had no reply for our drive and passion to win something for this shirt.

The game was half way done and it was time to be welcomed to the Etihad for the decider in which our opponents needed 2 goals just to stay in the tie.

Those 2 goals unfortunately for Pep Guardiola and his banned of merry mercenaries would never come though as Aaron Connolly once again scored from inside the box taking the score to 3-0 on aggregate.

We would play Monchengladbach in the semis and with our recent performances we had every right to believe we could even go on and win the competition. With Dortmund and Chelsea playing in the other tie we were still well up against it were we to get to the final.

As you can see we still had an important game before we could even think about that though and we routinely beat them 2-0 at Carrow Road before next months decider. We had one foot in the door!!

Our league form begun well this month but ended abruptly with 2 1-0 losses to United and Arsenal. The United game we deserved to lose fully but with 10 men, Arsenal were spawny as anything to grab a win let alone a point. We battered them and should have been well clear.

It hurts to know that top 4 might just be out of our reach now because of our own silly mistakes.

It seems the only way we're getting Champions League Football for next year is if Chelsea bottle it. In Europe as well as the League.
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
1 yearEdited

May - The Final Push

Norwich 5-1 Newcastle United | Premier League | Cantwell, Buendia, Sarr, Kutucu x2
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-3 Norwich | Europa League Semi Final Leg 2 | Kutucu, Connolly, Sarr
Tottenham 0-1 Norwich | Premier League | Sarr, Connolly
Norwich 4-0 Sheffield United | Premier League | Eliasson, Kutucu, Cantwell

It's there!! We've actually done it, the chance to win the Europa League awaits us at the end of the month and I couldn't be happier with how we performed in the run up to the final

Our goalscoring form has been utterly fantastic this season, we've scored just 7 goals less than the title winners Liverpool who celebrate winning the league for now the third time in the row beating United to the top!

77 goals which is 3rd most in the league, just leads me to believe that our defence is the only issue we have now. That being said, in the second half our defending improve massively and I genuinely feel like had our league form been as good as it was in the second half of the season we might genuinely have pushed Liverpool far for the title just as United did.

Of course we put cockney boys spurs to the sword for what feels like the 50th time in just a couple of seasons, Newcastle and Sheffield were also on the list of teams to go on our win record. We took the chase for top 4 right to the final day where if we won and Chelsea lost we would nick 4th spot on goal difference.

Despite battering Sheffield 4-0 and doing our own job properly, Chelsea held firm and remained in the top 4.

Beating Dortmund, it would be the same Chelsea to play us in the Europa League Final in a weeks time. Chelsea have stood in our way in the league and will do again in Europe.

We want Champions League football so lets go and get it!!

I have to say despite missing out on the top 4 by an inch we've done so well to end 5th after the start to the season we had. We were at no point terrible but I felt like we let ourselves down a lot in places and really that 4th spot should have been ours.

Next season is going to be a big one and lots of improvements will be made, mainly on the wings I should imagine. Sarr, Eliasson, and Cantwell have all been fantastic but I feel like in terms of our starting players on the flanks, we need improvement this summer.

I've made the decision that I would like to sell Eliasson this summer. Cantwell will remain a Norwich player unless a huge fee comes in. I'm undecided on Sarr, he's been fantastic but we can still get better than him.

Let's just see what happens after the final...
You need to proof-read some of these updates pal. ;) A fantastic season though and despite the disappointment of coming so near to finishing in the top four, Champions League football isn't out the window just yet.

What a story it would be if you can go on and win the Europa League. Good luck!
Scott: Dunno what you're talking about! Thanks mate, it's been brilliant to solidify ourselves as a top 6 team we just need to make that final push in the Europa league, and then build on our league form next year. We're looking very sharp lately

The Europa League Final

I had every right to believe we could win this game. With the likes of Manchester City and Napoli brushed away at both times of asking, we now had one final hurdle to clear in the form of Frank Lampard's tricky Blues.

Since I took over at Norwich, we've been relatively ruthless every time we've played Chelsea. I'm sure you'll all remember the 7-2 battering we gave them last season and not only that but the 5-1 romping we gave them in the League Cup. The most important game we would play against them was now, with a European cup and a place in the Champions League on the line.

We kicked off the game at the Parc Des Prince on a hot summers night at the end of May. The game was under way and we were looking bang for our buck already going close to goal twice through Buendia and Diaz who both let their chances go begging wide of the mark.

19 minutes in we gave up a free kick on Chelsea's right hand side which would see Mason Mount get his first real contribution of the game to whip in a good cross. The Englishman stepped up and fizzed it in with great pace as Romelu Lukaku rose like a Salmon to reach it, heading the ball into Henderson's left bottom corner.

1-0 Chelsea, we had it all to do now.

The game went quiet for the rest of the half and I was just glad we could get in at half time just the one goal down as Chelsea had their fair share of chances after going infront. Obviously I had to tell the boys that this simply wasn't good enough and so with a change of tactics we went out all out attack in a bid to catch them out in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

That didn't quite go to plan, we had our chances but again squandered them. For those 15 minutes we looked the better side so why fix something if it's not broken? We continued to attack and eventually when it all seemed over we got our reward.

A corner came in from Todd Cantwell which was headed back out wide to Juan Diaz. Diaz touched the ball down well first time and laid it off to the skipper Godfrey who smashed it top bins from outside the box!

Captain Fantastic leading by example!

The score was now 1-1, and as things were even stevens we continued to turn up the throttle letting even more chances go, much to my dismay.

A couple of minutes later, I'm sad to report...The game was over. In the 86th minute a corner was swung in by Mount which was cleared well by Godfrey. The ball went as far as Reece James on the right side who whipped the ball in from deep as Zaniolo rose to the occasion and thundered home a bullet header which in the end would win Chelsea the game.

It's sad to have lost the final like this, we played really well and at the end of the day we just didn't have the luck on our side. Both times of asking, Chelsea deny our spot in next years Champions League draw but we still remain in the Europa League and after this...We've some unfinished business.
Gutting. :(
No matter that you lost the final it was one hell of a season. Beating the elite teams over and over, also reaching that final. Superb, soon I'm sure that you will have a trophy. Astonishing work!
Nerazzurri's avatar Group Nerazzurri
1 yearEdited
Unlucky finishing outside the Top 4 and losing the Europa League Final. I'm pretty sure next season will be one to cherish for Norwich.
Oh no no
Scott: :(

OneMoreGame: Thank you bro, we're improving all the time and I think it won't be too long until we see some kind of glory!

SonOfAnarchy: I hope so bro! The season we've had though was fantastic regardless of how it went towards the end, let's hope for an extra push next year!

Justice: :(
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
1 yearEdited

2021/22 Summer Signings Round-Up

I've got a whole array of signings to bring to your attention today but first let me quickly run down the format in which I'm going to order them. Firstly just to make things easier for me as I write, I'm going to list the cheapest to most expensive signings that are English. Then, we'll do the same but with foreign players. Have a read through, and let me know what you think!

So first is Kirk Clayton who is one of two youth players to join for free from Manchester City. It came to my attention that him as well as the next player were set to be released by the citizens and we clearly saw something in them that Pep did not. Kirk is the least promising of the two, but still I like a challenge and will do my best to make something of him.

The player joining in with Clayton is Steve Peet. With fantastic physical and mental attributes for his age I fully believe with hard work on the training ground and some important game time that this guy can definitely make something of himself in the Premier League. For us? I'm sceptical, Kana is an absolutely world class defensive mid and it would take something special to get in ahead of him, but lets see what happens!

The first player to join us for any kind of fee is Elsid Lashley from Fulham. We've a lot of Deep Lying Playmakers at the club, and it wasn't my intention to by another but when I saw he was available for as little as 1.7M I just couldn't say no to guaranteed future profit.

Elsid is a homegrown English international and we all know those are few and far between when it comes to cheap English prospects. He won't be anywhere near the first team yet but he'll be training with us and going out on loan in the future in a bid to impress me and get a chance in the first team.

The most expensive transfer of the season with 21 paid up front with potential clauses to be triggered in the future is English centre back Ezri Konsa. I was worried a lot last season that we were falling short at the back especially when we started playing 3 at the back in some games so I decided to invest in more depth, but also quality.

With O'Connell getting older, it's likely he'll take a back seat to Ezri but still being a fantastic defender I expect Jack to continue making a contribution to the team this season.

Possibly the most exciting transfer of the window? That's right, 18 year old Jude Bellingham is now a Norwich player. Fending off the likes of AC Milan and Man United to his signature, Jude was placed on the transfer list by Birmingham after requesting to leave the club due to lofty ambitions.

When I saw that Jude was available for just 22M I had to make those calls. Realising I've recently begun trialing the mezzala role along with a box to box midfielder (Jude can play both well) it made a lot of sense to bring him in and help out around the centre of the park.

We had only 3 out and out midfelders last year who were all relatively similar in playing style so after changing the tactics up in January we need to shake things up and add something a bit spicier. Jude brings that in abundance.

Jude wraps up our domestic signings, and in comes Mirco Minardi from the sunny med. After Sam Byram left the club for 7M we were in the market for a right back but with no one fitting our style available for the right price it more sense to delve into the loan market and fill the space relatively well until something more permanent becomes available.

Not much to say with this one, he won't play a great deal but who knows how much he'll impress when he does.

Then in came the player with potentially my favourite name ever. Vinko Dude. Not much to be said with this one, I see a lot of potential in the player, he looks solid for his age and for roughly around 1M pounds it was an absolute steal from Dinamo Zagreb I believe it was we took him off.

Vinko will be tagging along with the first team this year and I'm hoping he'll be able to get some game time in Europe as well as the cups!

Three more to bring to you now and THIS is where things begin to get spicy. Adam Hlozek unbelievably still at Sparta Prague 3 years into the game was available for just 15M pounds. We all know how good this guy is, and the transfer needs absolutely no explaining. We were left short on the right side last year so I wanted to bring in a top young talent who could give the big guns a run for their money.

He hasn't developed yet into what we know he can be but in time - A short amount of time - He should be ripping this league apart.

Another striker! I know, it seems like I can't really make my mind up but with Pukki getting old now we only really have Connolly, Diaz and Kutucu. Kutucu hasn't impressed me greatly, Diaz is still an upcoming talent and while Connolly has done well for us in the latter stages of last season he was never brought in to be our out and out star striker.

So with all that being said, in comes our new complete forward Brenner for 16M after we activated his insanely cheap release clause. I can't wait to get this guy out onto the pitch and I really think the league might be in trouble once he finds his feet.

I'm hoping Brenner along with this next signing will automatically set us at a new level.

Last but not least, Raphinha! A player I've been looking at for ages and even watched personally against Montpellier in a 2-2 draw. I can't tell you how long I tried to unsettle this guy for and although he was well up for the move he never seemed to kick off about Rennes rejecting my persistent bids.

Which in theory, I'm actually pleased about. A bit of loyalty clearly doesn't go a miss with Raphinha so that's a good little added on bonus to the brilliant technical ability of the Brazilian winger.

Left footed Raphinha is likely to play on the left flank more often than not but when needed will move to the other side as an inverted winger.

This guy and Brenner linking up is going to be nothing short of deadly.

Player Sales:
Todd Cantwell - Wolves - £46M
Ismaila Sarr - Borussia Monchengladhbach - £22.5M
Niclas Eliasson - Al-Sadd - £8.75M
Sam Byram - Southampton - £7M
Teemu Pukki - Newcastle United - £7M
Onel Hernandes - Besiktas - £4.5M
Melvin Sitti - Fulham - 4.5M
Exequiel Zeballos - Augsburg - Ln Fee 120K p/m

So as you can see we've actually had a massive shake up. Todd Cantwell our very own homegrown player has left for just shy of 50M to wolves. Todd was never fantastic for us although he always put in a shift. His 17 goals for us in 110 apps to me just wasn't good enough. So when Wolves came knocking, 46M was more than a good deal.

Ismaila Sarr also leaves now although he was absolutely fantastic since joining for such a small fee, I didn't think he was good enough to be at a top Premier League club. Now I know we aren't there right now but if we continue to think like a small club then a small club we shall remain. 22M was enough.

Then, after that it was really just about making good money from dead wood. None of the other players leaving had a place in my plans and I'm glad to say we profited off the majority of them.

Zeballos has left for Germany where he'll ply his trade for Augsburg. I've been non stop offering him to spanish clubs but no one wants to take the bait so unfortunately, if he's to ever play for Norwich then 5 years in Germany is what he's going to have to do. I'm not sure how this one will pan out just yet.

So, onto the new season!
Big movements this summer. Looking forward to seeing how the new boys settle in and how this could impact on the upcoming season. Hlozek stands out for me but of course you can't look past Bellingham!

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