RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Saturday, June 1

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: NORWICH CITY FC

[The graphic above is when club hero, the Scotsman Bryan Gunn, who is perhaps responsible for Norwich City’s large Scottish pipeline, airballed a pass back during a match against bitter club rivals Ipswich Town back in the day. A sad moment which now lives forever in youtube clips of footballing failure.]

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football metaphysics methodology utilizing dork methodology of minutes played over the past 100 club competitive club matches to determine which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic force on a club’s current trajectory. Then intuitive analysis is conducted utilizing football metaphysics, performed from an un-American soccer fan’s perspective. We do this every 1st and 15th of the month, cycling through the 20 clubs currently in the English Premier League, because it is the top domestic league based in an English-speaking country, which as un-American miscreants, we were all born to be saddled with this limited, segmented tongue of the global colonizer, oppressor, and capitalizer. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA most prominently, where we live. And yet, it is really important we clarify we hate English, and also America. Maybe we hate ourselves. Our panel consists of chairman Raven Mack, director tecnico Paul Robertson, and director rudo Neil Bulson. Our individual contributions to this 5000 words of gibberish will be noted by our name at the end of the blurb. If you enjoy this absolutely free internet content from an un-American soccer perspective, venmo me tips @ravenmack23. You may also enjoy the Sportsball 69 podcast.]

Let us discuss the football metaphysics of this Norwich City football club, which overtook all others and climbed to the top of the English Football Championship table this past season, to earn re-entry unto the very Premier League they were banished from multiple times over the years. They were one of the original Premier League clubs in 1992, but since a 2005 relegation, have bounced all around, mostly in the Football Championship, but with four other seasons in the Premier League (most recently 2015-16) as well as falling all the way down to League One once (2009-10). A couple years back, they hired their first non-British Isle manager in their long history, bringing in German Daniel Farke, who tbh has the foreboding physical aura of a Cormac McCarthy protagonist, which fits perfectly within the larger aura of Norwich City. You see, football metaphysics is not about pretending to know football, and analyzing pyramids with reverse metrics. It’s about the simple yet powerful tendrils of human existence somehow connecting in ways that make sense. And a foreboding German dude taking over a scrappy bunch of less-than-premier players on a club that – despite the national historical trend of boring blues and reds – sports bright yellow and green, as homage to their Canaries nickname, but such that an actual aura of something different is created, even if by accident. I tend to buy the most garish football tops I can to sport as everyday dirtgod apparel, whatever is on the most clearance priced price, and Norwich City always comes up in these searches. Such beautiful colors, and who the fuck wouldn’t want to be a canary?

This past season, of the three promoted clubs, only Wolverhampton was able to hold onto Premier League status, finishing a strong 7th. The other two (Fulham and Cardiff City) crashed back out. All three clubs promoted the season before held on, but two of them have struggled, and one was dropped this past season. And the season before that, two of the three promoted clubs were immediately relegated again. So Norwich City is attempting to escape this up-and-down status, and repeat the success of the previous Football Championship champion Wolves, and exorcise their own failure demons of bouncing back and forth, being a club not quite Premier League, but too good for the Championship. Are they equipped to do so? Wolves kept their core club intact, adding a few key upgrades. The two paths to success are to do that (if strong enough core), or stand relatively pat with what you have, plus pick up a few dudes from this season’s relegated clubs, and hope to finish outside the bottom 3 next season.

Related in spirit, I – Raven Mack the Dirtgod Imam of Football Metaphysics – have brought on two fellow life scientists of the metaphysical sporting arts, in my pals Neil and Paul, who will here forth assist me in these expositions of English Premier League clubbings. I hope this helps us maintain this schedule, and add to the compendium of Americans by birth writing about the world’s football, in the hopes that Americans who love the world’s football don’t have to keep reading such dumbass commentary that is too American-centric to be good. It is fitting we relaunch this 25-Man Metaphysical Roster according to the already established schedule on this day of Champions League finales, when the world – even in America – is watching the pinnacle of club football, while it features a pair of English clubs. [Raven]

#1: CHRISTOPH ZIMMERMAN (his FIRST METAPHYSICAL STAR, which is some shit we made it up for the dudes who finish first on these lists) – Hailing from Dusseldorf, known for its fashion and arts scene, young Christoph was sent to Borussia to make a name for himself, first with Mönchengladbach, and then with Dortmund, but was stashed away on the reserve teams in his native land. Sold to the English, he ended up in Norwich, which is probably a far cry culturally from Dusseldorf, with its fashion and arts scene, since Norwich is, well, Norwich, and is maybe most famous for producing carnies like that Paige chick in WWE who rose to fame fucking the entire locker room. Young, abandoned by his country, young Christoph nevertheless has been a stalwart for Norwich City the past two years, and even put on the captain’s stripe this past season as Norwich took the English Championship by storm. He is 26, 6’4” of fine Aryan stock, and his entire life is laid out in front of him, which is usually when shit goes bad, but the only way out of Norwich is either fucking the right carnies or proving yourself a leader of men. Maybe both. I don’t know. This probably isn’t the life he expected for himself. I imagine he dreamed of staying in Germany and fucking their carnies, but life isn’t fair, and sometimes you have to find yourself in new worlds, with new carnies to fuck and you speak different languages but the fucking is all the same, and out of that you find yourself the captain of a football team, the center-back serving as the backbone for the whole fucking deal, and maybe that is your way back home, or maybe you find you like it here, settle down with a carnie, as much as one can anyway, and make a life of your own in a strange land with strange people. Now thrust into the Premiere League, Christoph will find whether this is home or whether home is just a bittersweet memory. Do the girls in Dusseldorf still think of Christoph? Or is he just an exile making the best of what life made for him? Does life wait for him or does life beckon from some further place with its own carnies and its own fucking? These are the energies Christoph Zimmerman brings to Norwich City. It is an energy that can go either way, but fuck man, that’s just life. [Neil]

#2: JAMAL LEWIS – Hailing from Luton, young Jamal is just that: young. 21 years young. Oddly, he plays for the Northern Irish national team when he isn’t busy holding down the left back position for Norwich City. I say oddly, because you wouldn’t think a 21 year old black kid from Luton would rep the orange Irish way, but I guess his mom is Belfast born, so fuck it, don’t listen to me when it comes to making possibly racist assumptions. Young Jamal has spent his entire footballing life in the Norwich City system, which means that he is part of the heart and soul of their rise to the Premier League. He is not bought and paid for, a mercenary from the continent, but true Norwich. There is a purity in that, a clean energy, a positive energy that isn’t littered with past failures or abandonments and not many of us get to go through life like that, so shit, more power to him, I guess. But the world is just opening up for Jamal Lewis, son of a wild Irish woman no doubt, and he hasn’t suffered his first pain yet. That is still to come, and so it’s hard to trust in the spiritual energies of a dude who’s had it all work out for him for the most part so far. What happens when the Premier League stage is too big for him? What happens when his mom runs off with Thin Lizzy or what’s left of them? Jamal Lewis’ test is coming, and whether it makes or breaks him might tell the tale for Norwich City’s psychic spirit energies. That is a lot to bear, but fuck it, there’s gonna be a jailbreak somewhere in this town and Jamal and the boys need to be getting up and going down. [Neil]

#3: TIM KRUL – Krul is a Dutch GK who only came to Norwich City this past season, but he (as all good GKs should) played every minute of every match in their main competition. Krul historically has had some injuries, but did have multiple seasons of Premier League lower-level consistency as the minder of the posts for Newcastle United the early part of this decade. But he also spent a lot of time on loan after injuries, and while part of Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League squad in 2017-18, did not return to prominent role at that level. While he does give the Canaries someone with immense PL experience, this is exactly the type of philosophical choices that need to be made ultimately to determine whether a club looks to simply survive the Premier League (finish 13th to 17th) or make a move for a younger talent to try and thrive like Wolves did this past season. I imagine they’ll stick with Krul happily and hope for the best. [Raven]

#4: MAX AARONS – I'm always a mark for the young scrappy defender on the lower level Premier League clubs. Personally, this is the Alfie Mawson rule, but that might vary per your personal rooting interests. Max Aarons is that dude for Norwich City, came up through youth academy and they've been his only professional club (thus far). Turned 19 in January, which means he was born in the 2000s. Also his full first name is Maximillian, which I can get behind because my government last name is built off that same linguistical framework. He got the Football Championship Young Player of the Year award, but that also means he's getting attention from elsewhere, notably from Tottenham. Seems like a prime choice to be signed then loaned back for a season to the club he got sold from, because he's not gonna be starting for Spurs, and they're gonna want him to get some PL experience. [Raven]

#5: TEEMU PUKKI – In writing these profiles, I’m naturally going to be drawn to ex-Celtic players—dudes that I have actually watched play throughout a number of matches. So appropriately, my old bhoy Teemu is up first. To be honest, I’m both pleased for him and surprised as fuck that he broke out as big-time goal-beast with Norwich—30 strikes in 45 appearances is damn impressive. When he was with Celtic, he seemed to be in that non-scoring forward/striker mode—pull the defense out of position with some solid movement and then open things up for a strike partner or some roaming midfielder (what Football Manager labels the “defensive forward” or the “false nine”, I guess). I remember supporter-folk were excited because we picked him up from Schalke (Bundesliga!!!). But Schalke are to me one of the most boring clubs in football, maybe because their dull blue and white colors remind me of the Indianapolis Colts from when I followed American Concussion Ball as a kid. So Teemu never really made the breakthrough at Celtic, although you could tell there was a halfway decent player in there, of some sort. So he goes back to his Scandinavian roots, with Sweden’s Brondby (which maybe was fraught, given Swedes think Finns are degenerate trash and not really Scandinavian, or some such national-racist bullshit). He gets better and better there for a couple seasons, then claims his move to the English promised land (albeit the Championship) and just goes goal-wild. Maybe it has something to do with appearance, because at Celtic he seemed like this fuzzy little smiling tow-headed moppet, instead of some Finnish tundra-beast. But now he looks all unkempt, balding but hairy. That’s a thing, in my years of watching football—I’ve noticed many a player that was only at his best if he looked like he’d been battling pneumonia while living in a dumpster attendant’s shack. Clean them up (shave, haircut) and if they didn’t play like absolute shit, they were at least noticeably diminished. Anyway, good luck Teemu—maybe he’s a bit of a late (29) bloomer, but I suspect he’ll be back to running around but not scoring in the EPL and then back down to the Championship, or maybe a return to Germany and the lower reaches of the Bundesliga. [Paul]

#6: MARCO STIEPERMANN – First time foreign manager is always gonna build his philosophy through people who speak his metaphysical and sometimes actual language. Stiepermann joined Norwich City as part of Farke’s first wave of signings in 2017, and has helped establish their offensive style in the midfield. He had 46 appearances out of 51 matches this past season, and with just one season left on his contract, tacked on a two-year extension to continue what they’ve done under Farke (hopefully). With Zimmerman as the German anchor on the back defensive line, Stiepermann works as the main German voice on the other end of the ball (along with Moritz Leitner and Tom Trybull), which gives the club the shared voice of Farke’s vision, although not nearly as obvious as the Portuguese visiting club that Nuno Espirito Santo built with Wolverhampton. It’s still very interesting to see these various national influences on English clubs at the top level. [Raven]

#7: ONEL HERNANDEZ – Winger Onel Hernandez is an interesting figure with Norwich City’s promotion. He’s German by national team identity, so it makes sense with the Farke movement he’s on this club. But he’s not your stereotypical German, being physically born in Cuba, and with Cuban heritage, having emigrated to Germany with his ma dukes and sister when he was 6. In fact, with Norwich City’s promotion, Hernandez will become the first Cuban to play in the Premier League. And, the main reason he’s in the German national team system instead of Cuba is because Cuban football only allows players based in Cuba onto the national team. He also just got engaged to be married, announced on his Instagram, where he has WILL YOU MARRY ME laid out in red rose petals for his girlfriend at a resort in Bali. In fact, his somewhat oddball (by careful footballer standards) social media presence made him a cult figure with Norwich supporters. [Raven]

#8: EMI BUENDIA – Norwich City is shockingly Eurocentric, with only two players on their main squad with non-European national identities. But Buendia, one of those two, added a lot with his presence. The young Argentine winger/midfielder aided the club’s expansive attack immensely second half of the season, once he was comfortable after joining last June. Beyond scoring threat, he was by far the club leader in assists (18!), and just generally helped create their flow of attack. Buendia previously played for Getafe in Spain’s La Liga, but his form this past season has star potential (Norwich didn’t win a single match this past season where Buendia didn’t play), so likely the club will enjoy a limited window of this young man before he moves on to bigger and more lucrative pastures (at a good profit to the club, which of course, is the bottom line of this shit to a certain extent… capitalism ruins everything around me, CREAM fuck the money, dollar dollar bill y’all). [Raven]

#9: BEN GODFREY – Another top young defender who, with Aarons, gave Norwich City the solid defensive line that allowed the offense to flourish. Godfrey's getting a lot of interest from Man United now, and you gotta figure there's no way Norwich City are gonna keep both Godfrey and Aarons, because let's be real, they're not gonna turn down that money. If I was a young promising footballer, I'd dread going to Man United right now. Then again, if I was a young promising footballer, I wouldn't be ruled by metaphysical idealism; I'd be getting paid the most I can, and fucking Instagram models without birth control. [Raven]

#10: ALEXANDER TETTEY – So continuing with some Scandinavian football metaphysics, we have Ghana-born but Norway-repping Tettey. A product of the Rosenborg academy, he dominates with them for a couple seasons as they perennially destroy the rest of Eliteserien, before moving on to France (or more correctly, Brittany, because like England, France did its Celt-oppressing colonial foreplay close to home) with Stade Rennais. Doesn’t look like he was an automatic first choice, owing to injury bligh, while there, though he did have a respectable number of appearances. Norwich picks him up for about a million pounds, and he’s gone on to be a Canaries mainstay as they’ve bobbed between the EPL and the Championship. Tettey fulfills one of those ethnic-national football archetypes—the west/central African defensive midfielder soul-eater; disrupting, destroying, harrying, and generally oppressing any strikers or attacking midfielders getting notions within 40 yards of the goal. But Tetty looks like he has some subtlety, as my man has collected the fuck out of some yellow cards over the years, but has yet to be sent off in his entire career. I can’t get into some bullshit-anthropology discussion in this limited space, but if I was building a team, a Ghana DM is the way to go. (Irish dudes are also solid in this position, so maybe it’s an Afro-Celt thing?) [Paul]

#11: TIMM KLOSE – As I was gathering the minutes for the past 100 competitive matches, I always start at the farthest end of this for these promoted clubs that I don’t have any of the data for. So I can tell you that though he’s sitting at 11th on this list, Klose was at one point a way more prominent front and center player for this club. Norwich City signed this Swiss defender in January of 2016, when they were in the midst of their last previous Premier League season, desperately trying to restock during the midseason transfer window to avoid relegation. It failed, and Klose went down with the club. He was a starter in the majority of their Championship matches the for two seasons, but this past one only started about half the time, and became more of a sub than outright starter, as age has set in. But he also just signed a new deal to remain with the club, and as one of their elder players, and one of the only ones remaining from that last Premier League squad, he gives them guidance more than minutes. Plus, I have to admit I’m a sucker for dudes that do the double “m” thing at the end of really normal ass names. Although also there was a shitty pretend good restaurant in the small town I used to live in, the kind of place that works the rural American marks by offering “prime rib” or “seafood” specials, who also did the double “m” Timm thing, and now mid-blurb I’ve completely changed my mind. But being I went through the emotional labor of this thought process, I’m not deleting this part of the blurb. In fact, you should pay me for my emotional labor (Neil and Paul, too, to be honest). The venmo is @ravenmack23. [Raven]

#12: TOM TRYBULL – The young Trybull was another German import that came with Farke taking over in 2017. Norwich City moved from mid-table to top the second half of this past season by becoming an offensive force (which actually was pretty enjoyable to watch the couple times I caught them). Trybull, echoing the German keys theory I have posited to Farke’s success, was an important fulcrum of that shift, as he was near the top of the Championship in tackles, creating offense to move forward to the passing machinations of Moritz Leitner or Emi Buendia, which ultimately fed a goal-scoring growth led by Pukki. It will be interesting to see how this holds up with better Premier League defenses, or if the chemistry that came together second half of this past season can stay sweet with the addition of new players. Then again, that’s always an issue. It’s fucking football. [Raven]

#13: MARIO VRANCIC – One of the most studied realms of football metaphysics for me personally has been football and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Because of my own spiritual paths, I’ve come to follow especially close Bosnian dudes, because that often means “white” Muslim, or somebody forced into Yugoslav diaspora who is Croat or Serb but chooses to identify at national team allegiance level with Bosnian multiculture. Vrancic’s story is the latter, moving to Germany as a wee tike, and eventually making it onto Bundesliga Mainz squad as a teen under Jurgen Klopp. When Klopp went to BvB, he brought Vrancic along. So the dude has pedigree. But beyond this, he’s part of Norwich’s collection of deft passing offensive options in the midfield. What sets Vrancic apart is his missile of a left foot, which in fact nailed the goal that sealed Norwich’s promotion. This past six months, it has seemed as Vrancic has grown scruffier, he has grown stronger. I hope the Premier League bump causes this to ascend into full-blown sweaty longish hair bearded Balkan spirit warrior, in the non-superclub nether regions of the English Premier League, where such forces can exist nicely without being forced into semi-retirement on a crowded Big 6 squad. [Raven]

#14: MORITZ LEITNER – Leitner is a German striker who was supposed to be Borussia Dortmund's next big thing, but got loaned out a number of times, most notably to Lazio. Finally he was sold off to lower level Bundesliga club FC Augsburg January of 2017, but didn't even make a first team appearance. That caused him to land in Norwich on loan January of last year, where he actually, you know, played. He got a permanent transfer before last season started, but he hardly came across as a dude worthy of the #10 kit, though he did make himself a supporter's hero by scoring an equalizer late against bitter rivals Ipswich Town in the East Anglian derby. [Raven]

#15: TODD CANTWELL – Cantwell joined the Norwich youth academy at age 10, and it's been his only club, outside of a loan to a Dutch club right after he made his senior debut. A young homegrown talent in a crowded midfield likely not gonna get a lot of PL playing minutes, but they can't get rid of a homegrown hero, can they? Of course not; they extended his contract. In a sport full of people not from England but during this time of UKIP-style blind nationalism, you're not gonna let an English kid (who is uhhh "traditional" English) slip away, even if he'll rarely get quality time in the Premier League. [Raven]

#16: KENNY MCLEAN – Here is all you need to know about this fool Scotsman named Kenny McLean – when Norwich City had their parade through town to celebrate their Championship title and promotion to the Premier League, McLean was drunk off orange Mad Dog 20/20, and declared himself the mayor of Norwich. That’s quality fucking metaphysics. [Raven]

#17: GRANT HANLEY (previously ranked #17 for Newcastle United on 01-Dec-2017) – Oh man. Grant Hanley. Let me just say, that in the same way Landon Donovan embodies everything that is wrong with US soccer, Grant here does the same for Scottish football. There are like 20 slight-variations of Grant Hanleys bouncing around the nether reaches of the English football system. Generic central Scotland urban belt name? Check. Scottish, but not Scottish like “Angus MacTavish” or some shit. As an aside, I bet there’s like 50 Northern Virginia/Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle/Atlanta suburb upper middle class white kids names Grant Hanley, waiting to play lacrosse and hopefully get pepper-sprayed all-to-fuck when they get too han[d]ley with some poor young woman. Came through the Rangers youth setup? Check. Made a couple dozen appearances for the Scottish National Team, in which he was part of a backline travesty that got wacky-sax destroyed by some Baltic or Balkan national team? Check. Yet still gets picked by the succession of shite Scotland managers because he plays in England and/or has a Rangers pedigree? Check. Hanley somehow got appointed captain of Norwich, but then promptly got injured and then couldn’t get back in to the starting 11. Which is probably at least 50% of why Norwich is getting promoted. I supposed he’ll probably be cover while the club tries to survive the EPL, but I’d bet on Hanley pitching up in lower Championship/League 1 after another season, or maybe heading back to Scotland with a mid-upper club like Aberdeen or Hearts (though hopefully his English-experience will tempt Rangers into paying some stupid fee and wages for his less-than-mediocre ass). My final thought on Grant here is that the Scottish Football Association finally got some damn sense and appointed a hyper-competent manager in Stevie Clarke. Though supposedly healthy, I see that Hanley didn’t make Clarke’s call-up cut for some important Euro qualifiers, so I’m taking this as the expected sign that Hanley and his ilk are finally excised from the national setup. [Paul]

#18: ANGUS GUNN (previously ranked #16 for Southampton on 15-May-2019) – Gunn was a Norwich City youth academy kid, local wonderkid who was absorbed into Manchester City’s youth academy factory at age 15, where he remained as part of their stockpiling/hoarding of football talent. Two seasons back, he was finally given a chance to shine as a senior team player, on a season-long loan back to his childhood club, where he appeared in every match for the Canaries (only dude to do so), endearing himself to club supporters as a homemade Anglian hero. Of course, he was only on loan, and this was just Man City giving him a showcase to finally move him, so he went to Southampton, where he has appeared sparingly as back-up to Alex McCarthy. No diss to Tim Krul, but it’s hard not to want Gunn to comeback to the Canaries, and play for his childhood club in the Premier League, AGAINST MANCHESTER CITY! WHERE HE MAKES A WIN-PRESERVING SAVE IN THE FINAL SECONDS AND THEN IMMEDIATELY RUNS OVER WITH HIS GIANT ASS GK LANKY BODY AND BEATS PEP GUARDIOLA INTO AN SHRUNKEN ACCORDION NECK CARTOON MESS TO THE CHEERS OF ALL THE DRUNKS AT CARROW ROAD! [Raven]

#19: JAMES MADDISON (previously ranked #15 for Leicester City on 15-Jan-2019) – A midfielder from Coventry, James Maddison is only 22 years old, but he’s already managed to blow through not only Coventry but Norwich City and found his way to Leicester City like a quick passing storm. I’m not sure what sort of psychic metaphysical energies are still lingering from James Maddison in Norwich, but to be honest, with a name like James Maddison, they are probably well rid of him. I’m not saying that he is the reincarnated soul of former American President James Madison, but I can’t say that he isn’t either, and since Madison is one of the OG Founding Fathers, no one needs a psychic legacy of old Virginian plantation stock. The father of the Constitution is the sort of thing that sounds good, but not when you look at it from the perspective of marginalized people, for whom the Constitution was merely a codification of an existing oppressive capitalist oligarchy. What does this have to do with James Maddison the young footballer, or more specifically, for Norwich City, who fucking knows. It can’t help, but since he isn’t even around anymore, it probably can’t hurt either. James Madison was a slaver, he even complained late in life when the Northern states tried to curtail the ways of the slaver south. Fuck him and his plantation. [Neil]

#20: IVO PINTO – A wanderer, Ivo Pinto comes from the small town of Lourosa, Portugal. From there he no doubt dreamed of making his way to the big city, maybe fucking some Brazilian girls with his Portuguese paternalism, but life doesn’t always go the way people want it to. Fuck, it almost never does. And so Ivo Pinto knocked around Portugal before being sent off on loan to Romania, where he actually managed to land in the Champions League for Cluj, but a loan is a loan and he was sold off to Croatia, where his Portuguese charms were likely wasted on the Zagrebian ladies who cared nothing of Portugal and laughed as their Croatian gangster boyfriends slapped around the queer kid from the pervert Iberian peninsula. He then moved on to Norwich, where he tried to find a home, a place where he belonged, as the right back for their football team. But poor Ivo again finds himself being sent away, unable to enjoy the Premier League sluts, and is now back with Dinamo Zagreb. Maybe this time he will find a home, a place to root himself to and be a hero, but he’s pushing 30 and it probably doesn’t get better from here. Not wanted by his home country, tossed out of Romania and then England like a gypsy, barely tolerated in Croatia, Ivo Pinto’s energies aren’t looking so good. But that is his problem now, not Norwich City’s. [Neil]

#21: JOSH MURPHY (previously ranked #15 for Cardiff City on 15-Apr-2019) – Longtime Norwich City player in the first part of this decade, along with his twin brother Jacob, both as wingers. Josh even made 9 Premier League appearances for the Canaries back then, while Jacob never did. But they separated paths, and Jacob ended up at Newcastle United, where he’s been playing in the Premier League the past two seasons. Josh was excelling at Norwich City, so was moved to Cardiff City this past season, as part of that bastard club’s attempt to build a Premier League-quality roster. Their efforts failed, and after a single season of being at Premier League level with his twin bro, Josh is back to the Championship, while Norwich City is back up. He’ll likely get sold off to some other Premier League club, but a return to Norwich City is looking unlikely. [Raven]

#22: HARRISON REED – Reed is actually a midfielder for Southampton, but he spent the entirety of the season before last on loan to Norwich City, thus he made this list. It's actually good to see how much of Norwich's 25-man metaphysical roster is signed to the club, and not them winning promotion with a handful of loanees and former PL washouts. It gives you hope they might be able to continue their success, and somewhat duplicate what Wolves did this season. I mean, it's gonna be hard to finish that high (7th is like winning the PL minus the big six clubs, which also is why Leicester City winning it a few seasons back is even more impressive in retrospect), but Canaries look equipped to not be in a relegation slog. Maybe. [Raven]

#23: JORDAN RHODES (previously ranked #23 for Middlesbrough on 01-Apr-2017) – Ahh, Grant Hanley on the flipside of the halfway line. Rhodes is yet another archetype—the tallish Scottish “striker”, that was actually born in England, who “puts himself about”…..and maybe scores one goal every five games or so. See also: Sheffield Wednesday’s Steven Fletcher and Raven’s Swansea boy Oli “Burn-Dog” McBurnie for comparable examples of the genre. Rhodes went hog-wild for several seasons with Huddersfield and Blackburn, such that I can recall a fair bit of Celtic supporter chatter about bringing him up to Glasgow. Followed by the usual recitation of how interested the player supposedly is, to play for such a glorious club that he also probably supported as a child, yet Celtic can’t pay either the asking price or the player’s wage demands (because of England’s standard lucre). In fairness, I think Rangers also have to deal with the same narrative in regards to whatever English-based troglodyte they’re coveting. But Rhodes’ appearances and productivity absolutely nose-dived, and you start getting Celtic chatter about “reviving his career in Scotland” and…fuck man, it’s really hard to mire yourself in following the SPL. He’s also done fuck-all for the Scottish National Team (which he qualifies for on some super-tenuous technicality about living there for a few years as a kid, despite being English as fuck). Rhodes is done—even after going back to Sheffield Wednesday when his loan is over. They’ll probably be looking to unload him, and I really do not want to hear anymore shit about bringing him to Celtic. [Paul]

#24: NELSON OLIVIERA – The second half of the season is when the Canaries really started firing on all cylinders, surpassing Leeds United as the top club in the SkyBet Championship. (I have refrained from using the sponsor title but I didn't feel like typing the long thing out that time just now, which caused me to then type this out, which means ultimately I fucking lost, again, because of succumbing to capitalism.) That second half of the season, Oliviera was seen as surplus, and loaned out to fellow Football Championship (ha!) club Reading. There was talk of a permanent transfer now, but it hasn't happened yet. If he was surplus at second level, he's definitely gonna be football detritus at the top level. [Raven]

#25: DENNIS SRBENY – Yet another German. How does Brexit prejudice apply to Germans? I guess that question assumes one thinks of Germans as blonde-haired fair-skinned Germans, not the diverse reality of German citizenship in 2019. It’s weird how enculturated all these fucked up things are in our heads. Is that just an American thing? Obviously not with Brexit and Marie Le Pen and even the Brazilian dude and Filipino dude and fuck man what a time to be alive. (Any time is what a time to be alive though, tbh.) In conclusion, YET ANOTHER GERMAN. (See y’all on the 15th!) [Raven]

No comments: