Mirbat Versus Carrow Road

Mirbat Versus Carrow Road



As I sit here at 7am having been awake for an hour I find myself frustrated and waiting for things to happen. Things that are not within my control, and things that can impact my footballing life in a number of ways.

A season of more downs than ups comes to a head with the last four games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Out of that #ncfc need a minimum of 4 points to get out of Dodge..

The Laurel and Hardy phrase, “Heres another fine mess you got me into” springs to mind!

Overwhelming and impossible most would say, but what is in the mindset of a player at a time like this What can influence a player to overcome apparently  insurmountable odds?

It happens sometimes, it really does.

The one thing that will get you through is determination and above all  the ability to keep calm while the world rages around you.

The best example I can think of:

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Inside the Batt House at Mirbat


Mirbat 1972

Nine men (OK they were the SAS) in a 6 hour battle outnumbered 25 to 1. Recognised as the most heroic action the SAS ever fought, it remains a mystery to most people because it was part of a secret war, one that officially our country had no part in.

The UK governments position was that they were there as trainers. In fact they were the main driving force behind a highly effective effort to support the Sultan of Oman

And so when the first mortar shell hit just before dawn, Roger Cole swung out of his cot and onto his machine gun along with his 8 other compatriots. They had no idea they were up against 100’s of PFLO (Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman Insurgents)

The first attackers are about 500 yards out and Roger clicked his machine gun to the constant fire position.

The Battle of Mirbat had begun.

Against a well armed Communist force the SAS had an old fashioned 25 pounder artillery piece from WW2, an Anti aircraft Gun, Coles machine gun and a couple of mortars.

It is the stuff of legend how Fijian SAS member Labalaba used the 25 pounder, (designed to fire shells 7 miles) at point blank range to keep the oncoming horde at bay.

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WW2 25 pounder used at Mirbat

A gun designed to be operated by 4 men in battle, operated by one man.

Laba did not survive the fight, but the battle was turned by the unit CO Kealy. He ordered the teams star mortar man to fire all around the location of the 25 pounder.

One stray shell would have finished them off.

Instead, it was the straw that broke the back of the attacking insurgents. Soon after helicopters and a relief team from G Squadron turned up, It proved to be the tipping point of the war.

Laba and one other were dead and Kealy got the DSO

Carrow Road 2014

The SAS version of Rorkes Drift is what is needed at Carrow Road on Sunday..

The unstoppable Liverpool in town and just 11 men in yellow stand in the way of Suarez and the Liverpool backed onslaught  on the premier league title.

Only 11 men in the face of insurmountable opposition. The team might do well to remember those 9 men who stood strong and won through. For Cole, Laba and Kealy, read Ruddy, Johnstone and Hooper!

NCFC have won through before against the top teams and at some point the luck in front of goal, (that has been totally absent this year) has to turn in our favour.

The time for the faint hearted is past, the time for punching above your weight is nigh! Death or glory boys!

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NCFC v Liverpool April 2014

Changing your mind

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Mr. McNally might be about to win against the odds.

Mr. McNally might be about to win against the odds.



The date is 15 March 2014, the time around 6: 30 PM. I’m in a Yo Sushi bar in the middle of Norwich celebrating my daughters recent birthday.

Celebrating? The rest of them might have been, I was like a bear with a sore head.

As Myfootballwriter explained, Norwich city had just gone down 4-2 away at Southampton, with yet another shocker of a performance. Rob Butler of Canary call was blowing a fuse on BBC Radio Norfolk, with the fans up in arms about this latest capitulation. To be honest, I really thought I have got over being disappointed by bad games whether at home or away this season, it had become such a common occurrence.

I wasn’t even mad at the manager, Chris Hughton anymore. It was the “blindfold walk into the void” being performed by the board of directors that was entirely responsible for the large dark cloud and the troubled mind.


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David McNally and Chris Hughton Norwich City FC


Why couldn’t they see what was clear to the tens of thousands of fans that had to watch this dearth of entertainment week in week out, at home and away?

Even at this late stage, with few matches left to play, surely it was now time to ditch this one-dimensional, ineffective impostor of a football manager?

Fast forward one week.

The wife’s away in Scotland, and young Jo has a county swimming gala at 5 pm on Saturday night. Result, missed the first home game of the season in order to take Jo to his important swimming event.

At 2 pm I flick on the radio and start to imagine that I’m sitting in my seat at Carrow road. The next three hours turn out to be a roller coaster of wondrous entertainment, with a fantastic result. What’s more or the other results go our way. In just 90 minutes, the world has turned around.

All that and a goal of the season as well!

The team was now in 13th spot, seven points clear of Sunderland in the third relegation position. Everything looks Rosy, once again, as I examine the league table on BBC sport.

And then something became stunningly clear..

Looking at the bottom of the table (on BBC Sport ) gave me pause for thought on my previous weeks ranting, and my desire to see the board spring into action with a hasty departure for Mr. Hughton from my world. Upon analysis of the of the table on Sunday 23rd March 2014, the evidence suggests that contrary to my previous thoughts, the board may just have got it right.

From the bottom up:

Fulham, Cardiff, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, West Brom & Swansea makeup the bottom six teams of the premier League table.


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Barclays Premier League Table 23 March 2014 - All six of bottom teams sacked a manager


Each and every one of them (with varying levels of success) have changed their manager at some point during the season.

Each and every one of them are three points or worse off than the canaries of Carrow Road.

There are still seven games to go with varying levels of challenge to meet. Not going to mention the last four.

Remembering Iwan Roberts first year was a flop, he went on to become a legend. We have two or three players and manager in a similar position. I have some level of hope that we can come through this year of discontent and have the positive outcome of a new season in the premier league to look forward to.

The jury will remain out in Norfolk, but credit where it is due. In racing parlance, a certain Mr. McNally may just have against all the odds and opinions backed the right horse as we go into the last furlong.

We will see!