In a series shamelessly stolen from Deadspin great Drew Magary, Cartilage Free Captain will preview each opponent before we face them and explain to you exactly why they're complete crap and doomed for the drop.
If you're a Norwich City fan, that's too bad. Your team sucks and you're going to get relegated.
Your Club Sucks: After toiling in obscurity for 70 years, in 1972 you transcended your status as lower-league nobody to reach the dizzying heights of Premier League yo-yo club. Congratulations! Since then you've divided your time between the top flight and various lower divisions. With 21 seasons up and 20 seasons down, it looks like you're about due for a return from whence you came.
You also have the tragic distinction of being the most bland club in history. Aside from having some cool celebrity fans like Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman, there is nothing remotely worthwhile about Norwich City. Here's a list of the most "interesting" things I have learned about your club, courtesy of Wikipedia:
1. "The fans' song, On the Ball, City, is the oldest football song in the world still in use today; the song is in fact older than the club itself having probably been penned for Norwich Teachers or Caley's FC in the 1890s and adapted for Norwich City."
This might be interesting if it was actually your song. But it's not. Stealing someone else's song doesn't make you interesting, it makes you a plagiarist.
2. You changed your nickname from the Citizens to the Canaries because "the city of Norwich had long connections with canaries owing to its 15th and 16th century links to Flemish weavers who had imported the birds to the Low Countries from the Dutch colonies in the Caribbean."
Blessed are the
cheesemakers Flemish weavers?
3. "Norwich were the third-ever Third Division team to reach the FA Cup semi-final."
Kind of reaching for that one, aren't we Norwich?
4. "Norwich won the tie 3-2 on aggregate; their 2-1 victory in Munich earning them a place in history, as the only English team to beat Bayern Munich in the Olympic Stadium."
Really? You get a place in history for that? "The only team of a certain nationality to beat a particular other team in a particular stadium that they no longer play in" is not exactly the stuff dreams are made of.
5. You don't get a five. There isn't a fifth fact about your club that's remotely construable as interesting. Sorry.
Oh no wait, I found a fifth!
5. "A 1-0 home defeat to Luton Town on 26 January 2013 resulted in Norwich becoming the first English top flight team to lose a FA Cup tie to a non-league side in 24 years."
Good luck in the Championship!
Your Owner Sucks: Celebrity chef and majority shareholder Delia Smith is ostensibly the owner of your club. She and her husband have done a wonderful job saving your club from financial ruin and turning it into a profitable enterprise, but she lacks the financial clout to turn Norwich from perennial yo-yo team to an actual Premier League mainstay.
She says all the right things and acts like she really really cares about the team, but when push came to shove, she showed that she's only in it for the money. When actual billionaire Peter Cullum took an interest in taking over the club and promised to inject an immediate £20m into the squad back in 2008, St. Delia turned down the offer. Why? Because Mr. Cullum wanted new shares issued for his majority holding and didn't want to buy out the current ownership. "Thanks for your interest, but finances for a club in dire need take a back seat to me getting paid," she basically said.
Her only other notable contribution to the team was a rant over the PA back in 2005 during Norwich's annual relegation battle encouraging the supporters to act like they gave a shit, a rant which may or may not have been fueled by severe inebriation. Allegedly.
Your Last Season Sucked: Relegation beckoned during what was frankly an atrocious performance last season. Two wins from two to close out the season papered over the cracks of an otherwise horrendous year. For a lower league side, you actually have a decent cup record, but last season you earned the dubious distinction of the first top flight side to lose to a non-league team in 24 years. Ouch.
Your Coach Sucks: Actually, Chris Hughton doesn't suck. Chris Hughton is totally awesome and deserves better than the likes of you.
Your Players Suck: You've cruelly jettisoned Grant Holt, the man who carried you on his
beer belly back for years, and now all you're left with is a bunch of hot wet garbage.
Wes "Wessi" Hoolahan, despite your protestations to the contrary, is not the Irish Messi. He's barely even the Irish Stephen Ireland. Leeds rejects Jonny Howson and Robert "the Snodgrass tastes like Snodgrass" Snodgrass belong back in the Championship.
Your back line of Michael Turner, Sebastien Bassong, and Russell Martin is the personification of "meh". A collection of try-hards and not-good-enoughs. John Ruddy is a decent enough keeper, but when he's behind a guy from Celtic on the English keeper depth chart, you know you're screwed.
Your New Signings Suck: Marquee signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel has a great name and zero talent. His nickname in Portugal was "the Wolf", and with that kind of creativity he should be carving up defenses...when you play non-league sides in the Cup.
To supplement the Wolf's attacking mediocrity you've brought in Johan Elmander, who already proved he's not good enough in his time at Bolton, and Gary Hooper, who's already proved he's not good enough by playing in Scotland. Nathan Redmond is the poor man's Wilfried Zaha, who's the poorer man's Tom Ince, who's the poorest man's Sean Wright-Phillips.
Why you might escape the drop: Because the Canary in the coalmine always lives longest, right?