Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton - every potential top four challenger seems to be dealing in one step forward, two more back. Can anyone rise above these false dawns?
The boys try and take a look at Alan Irvine's appearances on TV but keep dropping off. Never before has a man been too dull to even use cliches. It's not good...
What do the papers, the TV, and fans of other clubs think about your team? In this series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at the stereotypes, coverage and media agendas for each team in the Premier League. This week, it's the turn of East Anglia's finest, Norwich City.
Ex-player pundit presence
The remarkably consistent Andy Townsend. Nigel Worthington or occasionally Steve Bruce when he is in-between jobs and can't get work in a panto as Widow Twanky. Mick Channon was a splendidly unhinged presence in the 1980s, often clashing with Brian Clough, and staring around in swivel-eyed fashion like John Cleese in the "Well, Brian..." sketch. Martin O'Neill is always a welcome sight in a pundit's chair.
All hail the sainted and still sexy at 70, legendary purveyor of egg-boiling advice Delia Smith. Fat-thin-fat man, Stephen Fry, Mylene Klass, Jake Humphreys, Hugh Jackman and unfortunately named and deranged-looking Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. And, of course, Alan Partridge.
Back page leaders?
The club is well-run, popular and full to the rafters every home game, so the story you see most about the Canaries is how great a club it is. Fine, but not very interesting. Words like 'proper' and 'responsible' are always in the mix. In an era of owners from Somewhere That Isn't Near Here, here's a local club for local people. That being said, because Norwich is a long way away 'over there somewhere' the London media's appetite for making the trek up the A12 or the interminable A47 is small. Norwich is left to get on doing whatever it is that Norwich likes to do out of the glare of national media. The Delia "let's be 'aving you" incident was one of the most fondly reported football stories in recent memory.
Gaffer's media skills
Everyone likes Chris Hughton, even if his side has been struggling all year. Always comes over as calm and reasonable if a bit squeaky and he still has some sympathy after his Newcastle experience. Slight fears are creeping in that he's a bit more rubbish than was first thought, with some already reaching for the "out of his depth" and "taken us as far as he can" clichés. Local press largely uncritical because Norwich is the only game in the village and by far and away the biggest club in the entire east of England so you really don't want to fall out with them or you'll have nothing to cover. Plus the locals have medieval farm implements to hand and know how to use them. And massive chickens in big sheds.
Vox pop cliché fan
Not used to being interviewed. Not really used to seeing TV cameras or electricity. Liable to blink into the TV lights with awe and shout "what magic be this, then?" Big-eared potato-shaped boys in ill-fitting psychedelic yellow shirts. Middle-aged men in sports casual clothing with fondness for owl sanctuaries. Tired of people thinking they speak with a west country accent. Old timers like to shout "Ave you got a light, boy?" Anyone under 50 doesn't know why.
Keyboard warrior ferocity
Non-existent due to Norfolk being stuck in 1957 and having the idea that modern communication is lighting the Beltane fires. Any anger is becalmed by the fact that very few outside of the region have a bad word to say about the club. This is basically because no-one knows much about Norwich, except that they had to sell Grant Holt because he had officially "eaten all the food in Norfolk" and that he refused to train due to having a prior commitment to eat a large bag of potatoes.
Responsible, local club with the community's concern at its core. Honest, down-to-earth and unpretentious but with surprisingly good Beef Wellington.
"Bloody hell it's much further away than I thought."
"Best Armenian-style Sea Bass I've ever had at a football club. Heritage artichokes an earthy delight. Highly recommended".
"Oh yeah, Jeremy Goss against Bayern. That was good."
"Have they spent nearly nine million quid on that Van Wolfswinkel bloke just because he's got a funny name?"
Archetypal news stories
'Delia in micro-herb scandal'
'Hughton vows to keep smiling, losing'
'Giant iron bird descends from, expensive foreign footballer gets out'
John Nicholson and Alan Tyers
See Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here
Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here
Alan on The Ashes and more here.