11/12 Review: 11. Andrew Surman
This is hard to do. You have to realise I’m writing this in the midst of the tragedy that has befallen our club. It’s not pleasant or easy trying to find positives where there only seem to be negatives. When talented and trusted managers profess to be planning for the next season and not to be planning an exit strategy in which they move to the club that the media claim to be the next step up on the ladder. Human nature. Football: bloody hell, as someone said once.
Anyway, enough of that, where was I? Second season syndrome. You hear a lot on this subject, whatever it may be. Being one of last year’s heroes, who played a large part in the inexorable rise of the Norwich back to the top division, Andrew Surman could be forgiven for being a bit worried about it. He had done well. He had been on the pitch at the end at Fratton Park, pantsing Crofts during his TV interview. Could he keep it up? It might be difficult to follow that. Performance Angst, if you will. Last year I wrote in this very blog how I’d like to see him have his chance with the big boys in the big league, as he’d had a reasonably big part to play in getting there, and have it he did. Was he worth it? How did he do? Would the idiot who sits behind me in the Barclay one day stop calling him Sherman?
If his season were encapsulated in the first goal he scored, it would have been amazing. He’d been involved early on in August, without really excelling, then he wasn’t playing regularly until late November / early December (sound familiar?), and then there was Wolves away. His former club were the on the receiving end of a goal. But not just a goal. Goal of the season for me and many others: starting with Naughton at right back the ball went through virtually everyone in the dreaded green shirt with the exception of Morison, who had to leave it in case he was off side. Just as well, with hindsight. Super Wes ran on to it heading towards the corner, looked up, and found our hero with a beautiful cross just waiting for the diving / sliding header past Hennessey into the net. Sex in football form.
Three more goals in his next seven games, all in wins, cemented us in the top 10 and those games basically ensured we were in too good a position to consider relegation an issue. No matter that his only other goal after that was in the home game against Manchester City – it just went to show that he scores goals against the best as well as the worst. 27 games and 5 goals meant that he played pretty much as big a role as any in the constantly changing world of the Paul Lambert midfield axis. As someone said once: “How do you know if they’re good enough until they’ve had a go?” He was good enough, in my opinion. Yet that idiot behind me still calls him Sherman.