To finish off the week, we look ahead to this weekends clash at Oakwell between the Reds and the high flying Canaries, as Norwich City come to town.


To finish off the week, we look ahead to this weekends clash at Oakwell between the Reds and the high flying Canaries, as Norwich City come to town.

Earlier today, I managed to contact "Girl in the City" to her readers, from the Norwich City Blog: Let's Be 'Avin You. AKA Rachel,  tackled the questions this week from OnThePontyEnd.com, as we find out a few things and more about the opposition.

You can also find Girl in the City on Twitter: @letsbeavinyou



Wilky: What were your pre-season expectations for Norwich City and how are you fairing compared to those?

Rachel: Well, my pre-season expectations for us were very much along the lines of ‘consolidate, avoid a relegation scrap, and a top-half finish would-be-rather-nice, thanks!’ I certainly didn’t think we would be challenging for promotion, so not only have we exceeded my personal expectations, but I think many others too. We have managed to build on last season’s achievements, and have maintained the momentum gained from promotion from League One, which has been pleasing.

We have a fantastic squad, which, although perhaps not the best on paper, have a real unity and determination to win. Our mentality of never-giving-in has impressed me most -I think we‘re now up to eight goals scored in stoppage time, and have won something like fourteen of our points in the last five minutes of matches - impressive even if I do say so!

Wilky: Statistically, Norwich City dominated Barnsley at Carrow Road earlier this season, despite the result only ending in a narrow 2-1 victory to the Canaries. Was that a typical display of your side on home turf this season?

Rachel: Yes, from what I remember of the game against you, we pretty much dominated the first-half but then you scored in first-half stoppage time! Thankfully we fought back to claim all three points, helped by the inspired introduction of Anthony McNamee. (Who as done little else since then, I’m afraid to say!)

I’m not sure I’d say it was typical. Our displays at home this season have some what differed, to be honest. There have been games we have largely dominated, but have found ourselves behind or pegged back. There have been games in which we have looked laboured, and struggled to impose ourselves in, most noticeably against teams who were struggling for form at the time. We haven’t always been as clinical with our chances as you’d expect, and that has been costly, but we have also benefited from a few very late goals, which have clinched us points at the death. So it’s certainly been an experience at Carrow Road the season, to say the least!

Wilky: In your opinion, what has been your best result this season and why?

Rachel: I would probably say the 4-1 thrashing of Ipswich back in November…but not just for obvious reasons!

There’s no denying it was good to reclaim ‘East Anglian’ bragging rights - at least until our next meeting - after all, we had waited 18 months for that! However, I really think it just added to the belief amongst the fans and players, and helped spur us on in the league. In fact we have lost just twice in the league since that result!

Wilky: If there were three things you could change instantly at Norwich City, what would they be?

Rachel: Mmm…interesting question! I’d like to wipe the club’s debt, that would be a good start! I’d also like to bring in a top quality striker to give Grant Holt a hand up-front and I’d like to add a hefty buy-out clause into Paul Lambert’s contract, so that at least if he did leave we’d get some money out of it!

Wilky: Your Blog, titled "Lets Be `Avin You" has paid homage to Delia's (now infamous) half-time rant, which no doubt caused some embarrassment back then. Can you describe any other situations or people that have heaped embarrassment on your club before or since?

Rachel: Oh bless her, I do love Delia! I know there were some people embarrassed at her rant, but for me it was just a fan trying to show her passion for the cause….whilst under the influence of a sherry or two! People seemed to forget that had it not been for her, our club probably wouldn’t be here now, and she does genuinely want what is best for the club and it’s supporters.

As for others…I can only think in terms of Chairman, Managers and one or two players that have perhaps caused us some embarrassment, but that really relates to the club in terms of the financial implications, and the relegations we have suffered. Times I'd rather not dwell on!

Wilky: What's your Clubs theme tune and which is your favourite one (current or past) and why?

Rachel: “On the Ball City….” is the theme tune, which by all accounts is described as the world’s oldest football song. (Not sure how they know that, mind you!)

Before every home game, led by a couple of chosen fans, we belt out a rendition of “On the Ball City….” It’s not the funniest, most ingenuitive, or up-to-date song, but I love it.

Wilky: What will the Norwich City fans be mostly likely singing from the North Stand this weekend?

Rachel: As mentioned above, we’ll start pre-kick off with a rendition of “On the Ball City…” then it depends on how the game goes. They’ll be a round or two of “There’s only one Paul Lambert” or “Paul Lambert’s green and yellow army…”; at one point, “City til I die…”; if Grant Holt scores, or throws himself into a crunching challenge which ruffles up one of your defenders, then they’ll be a chorus of “We f***ing love Grant Holt.” At some point they’ll be reference to Ipswich, in that we “always s**t on the old blue and white, doh do, doh do….” and if we win then I imagine they’ll be a verse or two of… “Ee ii ee ii ee ii oo it's up the Football League we go, when we win the title, this is what we’ll sing, we are Norwich, Super Norwich, Lambert is our King.”

No doubt they’ll be a bit of banter between the two of us as well, but you’ll have to wait and see how those songs might go!

Wilky: If Norwich City doesn't gain promotion this season, are you worried that Paul Lambert may leave Carrow Road and be the next "Young Manager" to make that leap to the Premier League?

Rachel: There is no doubt Paul Lambert will go on to manage at a higher level. He is proving himself to be a tremendous manager, and I can’t speak highly enough of him and his coaching team since their arrival at Carrow Road. He is a born winner.

I hope Lambert can realise his Premier league aspirations with us. If we don’t get promoted this season, then I would hope he’ll stay with us for at least one more season, and try at the second attempt, but I’m not na├»ve another to think that if a Premiership club came in for him, he wouldn’t leave. That’s football, but I just hope we can keep hold for him as long as possible!

Wilky: Ahead of our game, what's your score prediction?

Rachel: I can never bring myself to predict a defeat, and after the disappointment of our 1-1 draw at home to Doncaster on Tuesday night, I think the player’s will really be up for this one. Like you, I’m going for a 2-1 win; unlike you, I’m going to say in City’s favour!

Wilky: What would you say your squad's strengths are?

Rachel: As a group of players, they are determined, spirited, have tremendous willingness to persevere and just never know when to give in. The attitude and application is spot-on.

Wilky: Who is Norwich City's present star player and why do you see them in that way?

Rachel: Grant Holt is our talisman He leads the line so well, knows where the goal is, and works so hard for the side, but for me Wes Hoolahan is the key man in our team. No disrespect to the other players, but he is the one player who possesses the quality, the creativity and ingenuity to unlock a defence. He’s our little Irish genius!

Wilky: If you could have any one Barnsley player for your starting XI, who would it be?

Rachel: I’ve really like the look of Jacob Mellis, who is on loan to you from Chelsea. He looks like a real talent, and I’ve heard he’s doing well for you, so I’d probably go for him. I certainly can’t go for Danny Haynes, despite the fact I know he’s also a key player for you!!

Wilky: What is your opinion about Barnsley FC as a club, and as a team?

Rachel: Barnsley FC - a well-respected club, with good history, but that has had to endure many ups and downs, particularly over the past couple of decades.

However, at present there appears to be a stability about the club. You’re getting the best out of the resources you have available to you and have a good manager at the helm. Robins appears to have put together a well-equipped, organised team, and I’m in no doubt tomorrow’s game will be a difficult game for us.

Thanks to Rachel for joining us. If Holt is likely to be the troublesome talisman for the opposition, we can look forward to the Ponty End vocally supporting the former deedar!


Read the reciprocal interview by Wilky on Let's Be 'Avin You here: The Opposition's View: Barnsley
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