The second most important event on the football-loving European's calendar, the European Championships, is upon us. I state this without the slightest intention of being remotely sarcastic.
For all our misgivings about them, they might have come just at the right time for Norwich City Football Club and it's fans. The last few weeks must have been some of the most nerve-racking in the entire history of our Club. No sooner had the last drop of champers been licked from the last glass, and not long after Paul Lambert's final delicate use of the Scottish expletive "crep" slipped from off of his forked-tongue at the Annual Dinner, than we were blown out of our comfort zone by Grantzilla's bombshell.
As if this wasn't enough. Things were looking decidedly ominous at Villa Park for, for despite our deepest hopes that that lovely little Ole Gunnar would become manager there, unwelcome noises were emanating from Norway. In the event, 'laughing boy' decided to stay put in order to enjoy the few weeks of the Scandinavian Summer available to him with his family and morphed back from being one of Randy's chosen people to being one of God's frozen people again in the space of one week.
Agonisingly we watched as the bookmaker's odds on our Messiah's imminent departure to the leafy lanes of Aston slowly shortened, until the worst thing happened in the worst possible way.
It seemed that our only hopes of a reprieve were to assume that the Irish Mentor's advice would be suitably negative as to dissuade Lambo from touching the job with a barge-pole. Not to be.
Perhaps then Randy and Paul would not see eye to eye. After all, rich American entrepeneurs don't do Gorbals- speak and rugged Glaswegians don't do the American Dream. Surely it would be a mis-match and Lambo would soon be looking for the nearest exit to the M6 out of Spaghetti Junction, whilst Randy would have learned that a 'Glasgow Kiss' did not involve the lips.
Alas, again it was not to be and our next sighting of the great one would be of him looking dapper in his Villa uniform, complete with blue shirt and claret and blue tie. "Suits you Sir," I said to myself begrudginly.
The following was such a melee of contract speak and McNastyisms that we could all be forgived for being in a state of total confusion. Nor do we really know the outcome. Questions, like the amount of money we got in the end, the fate of Culverhouse and Karsa and even whether GH will be at Carrow Road next season, remain unanswered. No doubt these matters will be resolved whilst we watch the rapid demise of England's Euro chances.
Oh! I nearly forgot. Whilst all this was going on our Club seem to have achieved a coup. Step forward the highly qualified and extremely likeable Chris Hughton to be installed in the hot-seat; and we seem to have come out of this torrid time rather well. I, for one, am as confident now about us surviving second season syndrome as I was at any time under PL. Things just seem .. er, right. If not Serendipity, then "Plan B" being fulfilled to near perfection.
So the Euros have indeed come at the right time for us and we can now put local issues safely aside and concentrate on the first of many important sporting events of the Summer.
As I get older, I get more childish and my attitude towards England and the Euros has had a complete turn-around since Holtgate. Being firmly in my second childhood (?) I was so miffed by Woy's treatment of Grant that I decided to turn my back on the whole show and do some gardening instead, whilst mumbling "Hodgson out" repeatedly to the roses. I did actually have an inkling though that my usual patriotic zeal would be aroused as soon as we came face to face with the French. Well, it is the French.
As for Hodgson? Wasn't he the man who recommended McNally to Delia? Maybe not such a bad egg after all.
As for Grant? Perhaps he really was too old after all.
England's chances? Who knows? Two games, eight goals, three red cards and a missed penalty already. Very entertaining stuff and hopefully a sign of things to come. It could well be that Hodgson's zonal what's it and his emphasis upon a tight defence will enable us to bore our way to the Final whilst the rest fall on their swords cavalier-style.
Yella (09/06/2012 am.)
Welcome to Yella, who will hopefully be contributing regually to the back page, that's a excellent start. Thanks For joining Us . ..Gordo