Are you experienced?

Experience. That old chestnut. In football terms is the most flaky over used point in an argument. It’s the kind of thing you say when you can’t think of anything else to say but you are still pretty sure you disagree with what is being said.

Last season lots of people thought Norwich would go down because they lacked Premier League experience. A year on, a lot of people seem to be tipping us for relegation again, but this time precisely because we’ve got the so called experience that they seem to crave and proclaimed would be our undoing last season. Except it’s not know as experience any more, it’s called second season syndrome. There seems to be a crossover point, the difficult second album. That second year at University the American’s call the sophomore slump. So it appears not to just be a football phenomenon.

The truth in football is often more simple. “We don’t know how good you are” is the honest phrase from the mouth of a football fan that you will rarely hear. Just how good are the teams coming up from the Championship? How good are their players? Norwich got mocked for having a group of “lower league players”. QPR fans were particularly scathing about the Norwich side after we beat them home and away because it wasn’t packed with the former Premier League stars of the past which they seemed to think would guarantee victory and were eager for their club to sign.

Rather than simply being honest and expressing doubt or inquiry the mind of most football fans springs to ridicule. Nobody really knows how well the promoted clubs will do. Norwich and Swansea both had excellent seasons, both brought players from lower leagues and had managers who had never managed in the Premier League before. Both teams were full of players with no Premier League experience and both finished comfortably in mid-table and were commended for the quality of their football.

Both managers are now in charge of other clubs, because that’s Premier League experience. You come in, you do well and you move up the ladder. The Norwich team is young and hungry. Last year showed we’ve got quality. Lack of experience? Second season syndrome? Nope, just good young players and a shrewd astute new manager at the helm, I think we’ll be fine.


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