From the lofty heights of the Premier League, Cardiff City have swooped for Norwich City winger and academy product Josh Murphy. Canary fans will disagree as to whether Murphy’s recent performances have merited such a move, but no-one would have turned their noses up at the £11 million transfer fee offered by the Bluebirds for Murphy’s services.
Appropriately, Josh’s move mirrors that of his brother Jacob. Jacob was the first to claim a consistent spot in the Norwich first-team, showing fans flickers of promise. This was enough to attract the beady eyes of Newcastle, a new Premier League side at the time, and off he went for an equally inflated transfer fee. Next season, the Murphy’s may become the first twins to ever face each other in the top flight, both having left their home nest far behind.
So, how does this affect Norwich and their fans, as we all prepare for another Championship season? Since their 2013 FA Youth Cup success, City fans have invested hope in the pair as potential stars for the future. From their first appearances at Carrow Road, we have all waited patiently for their ‘finished products’ to emerge. And I don’t think anyone - the brothers included – would claim that we saw that.
Last season, City’s authority figures all publicly implored fans to ‘be patient’ with their project, in response to heavy criticism. It’s no coincidence that much of the fans’ frustration was channelled towards Josh Murphy: we had been patient with him long enough, and now expected him to perform consistently. And disappointingly, many of Murphy’s great moments were overshadowed by poor performances in-between - we could not be patient any longer.
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My spin is that Josh has been frustrating in producing quality only in flashes and I'm not sure he has the mental strength to play a full part in a promotion chasing team, he just appears to me that he doesn't bust a gut in yellow and green and drops his head too often. It will be fascinating to see how Warnock manages him.
- Who can we seriously call a Norwich City legend?
I was one of the 18,000+ who made the effort to witness the recent and entertaining 'City Legends' game against Inter Forever and for me the opposition team name seemed far more appropriate than the one we adopted.
- Who will be next in-between the sticks?
Norwich City have rarely lacked talent to fill the goalkeeper position. The names of Kevin Keelan, Chris Woods and Bryan Gunn (to name only a few) are familiar to most City fans. To long-serving supporters, they were the heroes of the ‘good old days’.
Next season, there will be little time for patience. Fortunately, large transfer fees for those like Murphy and Maddison will just about compensate for the lack of parachute payments. We have one more season of financial freedom: we need to sign players who can be trusted to perform at their full potential, in supporting a push toward the Premier League. Otherwise, we risk becoming like our Suffolk neighbours: miserable, stuck in the Championship, without the financial resources to escape.
Murphy’s move is good for our club. His talent is undeniable, but for it to flourish reliably, he demands patience that Norwich now cannot afford to provide. Our best attackers have all been reliable: we trusted Huckerby’s pace and power, and Holt’s presence and ability to terrorise defenders – and they led us to glory. Our need for a reliable, consistent attacker cannot be understated, and Murphy’s exit has given the chance to make it happen. Over to you, Mr Webber!