It has been all change in the Norwich camp over the Summer; one manager has left and another has stepped in, players have left and players have been bought and all have come together to train hard in preparation for the season ahead.
After Paul Lambert’s departure to Aston Villa at the end of last season there was much speculation about who his successor would be. I think many of the fans will be pleased that the replacement was a motivated and experienced manager in Chris Hughton, who I am sure will do this club proud.
With the manager sorted it was then time to focus on organising the squad and getting some key players committed to the team; mainly club captain Grant Holt who had requested to leave. Hughton made that a priority, tying the influential player down to a new 3 year contract.
Next, the new manager was tasked with bringing in some fresh faces to help establish the Canaries in the Premier League, which is a tough ask after the success of last season’s 11th position finish. At the end of the 2011/2012 season, first team players Zak Whitbread, Aaron Wilbraham and Adam Drury (who had his testimonial match this year), along with youngsters Matt Ball and Josh Dawkin were all released from the club, whilst Andrew Crofts was sold back to Brighton and Daniel Ayala will spend the season on loan to Nottingham Forest.
Despite these losses, there has been a flurry of signings and rumours of more to come! The defence and midfield has increased in depth and competition for places with the arrival of the experienced Michael Turner from Sunderland and Steven Whittaker from troubled Rangers. Ryan Bennett completed his move after his loan spell last season. Two top performers from the Championship last year have decided to join the Canaries with the talented and highly sought after youngster, Jacob Butterfield signing from Barnsley and another Leeds player, Robert Snodgrass, has joined former team mates Howson and Johnson in a yellow and green shirt.
Hughton has quite a task in hand and tested out numerous different teams and formations in the 7 pre-season friendlies. Norwich have only managed 2 wins in these friendlies, a 2-0 victory over Peterborough United and a 1-0 win against Celtic in a return fixture. They picked up two 0-0 draws against MK Dons and Hull City and a respectable 1-1 draw against Dutch outfit Ajax with James Vaughan being named Man of the Match.
Norwich’s 2 defeats came at the hands of German clubs Hertha Berlin (3-2 defeat) and Borussia Monchengladbach (2-0 defeat). Jonny Howson was named the Anglian Home Improvements Man of the Match for this game.
With the season starting this weekend away to Fulham, the travelling Norwich fans will be have high hopes of not only a good start, but also a great finish for the season. Can Chris Hughton take Norwich City to a higher finish in the Premier League? What are your thoughts Canaries fans?