“So, what’s it like then?”  

How are the Attanasios going to answer that question when they return to Milwaukee?  

They will presumably arrive home with enough merchandise from the club shop in their arms to open their own Stateside branch of On The Stall City. 

Norwich City’s 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough offered a reality check as to what the new shareholders have let themselves in for. 

The Pink Un:

“You can just feel the potential of the place,” is the sort of thing I can imagine them saying as they hand out another inflatable canary to anyone curious enough to show an interest in their first trip to Norfolk since officially climbing aboard the yellow and green machine. 

The first half an hour of the game on Saturday underlined why the club is an attractive proposition. There can’t be many teams outside of the top division anywhere who will have boasted an £8 million striker expertly firing home a goal before jetting off to the World Cup at the weekend. Fewer still will have a player like that alongside one of the most prolific scorers in the club’s entire history. 

As strikers, Josh Sargent and Teemu Pukki will be judged by the weight of goals they get this season. Both players have much more to their games and one hopes that Dean Smith can still find a way of accommodating them as a strike partnership when the Championship returns post-Qatar. 

It’s wrong to say that Sargent is totally wasted on the wing, a large proportion of his goals this season have come while playing in that position. However, the American makes no secret of the fact that he sees himself as a centre forward and feels far more comfortable as a number 9. 

Anyone longing for an old-fashioned strike partnership runs the risk of being accused of auditioning for a role as an attraction at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade next summer.  

I understand that football tactics have moved on since the days when everyone just played 4-4-2 with a six-foot battering ram and a smaller, quicker striker up front alongside them. What makes this particular pairing less prehistoric is the sheer willingness to work for the team that both Pukki and Sargent display in spades. It means the team doesn’t necessarily have to lose out in other areas of the pitch. Both strikers won warm applause from the home crowd on Saturday when they chased back to win the ball in midfield. 

While Pukki hasn’t been his usual prolific self recently, scoring in only one of his last 10 games, he has been responsible for setting up four of City’s last six goals. Midfielders Kenny McLean, Aaron Ramsey and Gabriel Sara have all profited to score off the back of Pukki’s tireless endeavours. 

Yet, despite all of that potential, the owners of the Brewers were left with a bitter taste of Norfolk boos at full-time. What they saw from The Directors’ Box was the frustrating trait that Norwich City have displayed all too often over the years. From a position of apparent strength, they ended up disappearing into their shells and messing it up. 

It’s a sentence that sums up their last two shots at the Premier League, when they were promoted as champions, as well as the 90 minutes against Boro. 

City supporters are a realistic bunch. They don’t expect Champions League runs and a haul of major trophies but they would like to support a club and watch a team that is performing as well as it possibly can on and off the pitch. 

They don’t need to be told how difficult it is for Norwich City to establish themselves in The Premier League, they know. 

It might well be that Mark Attanasio’s biggest asset is his attitude rather than his money. He spoke to my BBC Radio Norfolk colleague Phil Daley before the game on Saturday and reflected on how often his baseball team had made the Major League Play-Offs despite being one of the smaller clubs. 

“There’s an old children’s book called ‘The Little Engine That Could’” Attanasio said. “You’ve got everything here that you need. It’s already good and it could get better.” 

With all due respect to Daniel Farke and all the great work he did at Norwich City, I would much rather the Canaries’ next Premier League campaign (whenever that may be) is based on ‘The Little Engine That Could’ rather than the ‘Little Miracle’ that Farke so regularly talked about when describing the very notion of City staying up. 

I’m not familiar with the book but I’m assuming it begins with the little engine having to recover from conceding a stoppage time winner to Middlesbrough. 


World Cup fever?

Has World Cup fever kicked in for you yet? 

There are many reasons why this particular incarnation of the tournament may not have captured your imagination. 

The timing of what we’re used to experiencing as a summer spectacular, the month-long pause on Norwich City’s season and the long list of reasons why Qatar is not a suitable World Cup host will be explored thoroughly this week. 

Yet it is happening and Josh Sargent will become just the eighth player to go to a World Cup while with Norwich City. I must thank the excellent NCFCNumbers Twitter account for posting that fact last week. 

It’s impossible not to want Sargent to succeed. We felt the same about Andy Townsend, Bryan Gunn and Robert Fleck at Italia ’90, Efan Ekoku at USA ’94 and Leroy Fer who scored a goal at the 2014 finals. 

Sargent has, I’m sorry to report, missed out on one World Cup milestone already. My youngest son recently asked if he could start collecting the stickers for the World Cup. He’s only 4 so I imagine his interest in completing the album that we now have on the kitchen side will have dwindled before Qatar and Ecuador (I checked the fixtures in the album) kick-off on Sunday afternoon. 

It’s one of those hobbies that I must try not to takeover. It’s an expensive business these days but I quickly turned to the USA team page only to discover that there is no Josh Sargent sticker. 

Mind you ‘Toto’ Scillachi wasn’t in my Italia ’90 album and he ended up winning the Golden Boot. No pressure, Sarge.