3820: Norwich City: Peter Grant gets
by : Colin Illingworth
Before the appointment of Peter Grant the Canaries had leaked 19 goals in seven league and cup games, were just four points off the foot of the Championship and had managed to keep just two clean sheets all season. Despite having one of the most exciting squads in the league things were looking bleak. Three games into his new job though the former West Ham United number two has had an immediate effect and promotion to the Premiership is looking like a real possibility again.
They recorded their first away win of the season against promotion hopefuls Birmingham City and four days later shot the free scoring leaders Cardiff down to size at Carrow Road, keeping their second clean sheet in as many games. The only blot in his copybook so far is the penalty kick defeat at Port Vale but again they managed to keep the opposition out, and as any decent manager will tell you, if you can stop them from scoring you’re half way to victory.
A whole host of names were linked to the vacant position at Carrow Road following the termination of Nigel Worthington’s contract. Alan Curbishley, Mark Bowen, Gary Megson and Nigel Pearson were all in the frame but the board plumped for former Norwich midfielder Peter Grant and Ian Russell, chairman of the Capital Canaries supporters club, has been hugely impressed with the new boss, even though he wasn’t his first choice for the post.
“He wasn't my first choice, simply because I didn't know enough about him. I have since heard good things about him though and I was pleased when the announcement was made. He certainly seems to know what he wants and is hungry to be successful, so I think he will bring a quiet but no-nonsense approach to his management, which can only be good for the football club and players.
“Originally, I thought Alan Curbishley might have been the man. Parallels between Charlton and Norwich have been made before and it appeared to be an ideal match, but Curbs ruled himself out by stating he only wants to return to the Premiership.
“Grant already knows the club and this is an instant advantage. He gives me the impression that he is a winner and will demand nothing less than 100%.”
And so far that has been the case. Despite two fantastic wins in the league Grant has stated there is still room for improvement and wants to excite the loyal fans with some exhilarating football, but ultimately end the season with promotion back to the Premiership. And Ian, whose favourite all time Canary is former England goalkeeper Chris Woods, can see no reason why with a little bit of luck and good fortune why Norwich shouldn’t be competing for promotion come May.
“Any Norwich fan will tell you that we have the backbone of a side who can compete with the best at this level. It's a long season and there are plenty of points still up for grabs. The Championship is going to be a tight league this season, although I still fancy West Brom and Birmingham to be the teams to beat.
“If he can add a couple of decent players to the group then I believe there's every chance of Norwich getting into a play-off place come May. Following the divided opinion of Canary fans over Worthington, it's refreshing to know that everyone can get back to being united and fully behind the club and management once again.
“Grant couldn't have asked for a tougher two fixtures, but we've come out of them with maximum points and two clean sheets. It's still very early days of course, but the new manager has certainly 'set his stall out' and appears to have very clear plans to get the team back in the promotion hunt. Players often raise their game for a new boss, so we'll see how things are after another five or six matches before we get too carried away. Plugging the leaking defence was a must and three consecutive games without conceding is certainly a considerable turnaround.”
In his short time at the club Grant has said all the right things, got the fans on side with two fantastic results and has the city buzzing once more. If he can build on this momentum it surely won’t be long before Premiership football is back at Carrow Road.
26 October 2006