Gary Hooper has scored once in his last 23 appearances for Norwich City, an ultimately meaningless goal as his team lost that day. Prior to that, he scored five in eight in games in which Norwich collected 10 points, while he opened his account for them with a brace in the League Cup against Watford. The latter stages of that 23 game desolate run has been marred by an injury he collected preseason, returning to league duty this month.
This is not the player you or I will recognise. Gary was more than capable of going through a dry patch, but he was an undisputed penalty box finisher, who seemed to perform better, the better the competition. Now he has to sit alongside Jos Hooiveld on the Norwich bench, as his in-form club, with in-form players, occupy a play-off place. Think of that for a moment, Hooper and Hooiveld, largely indistinguishable on form for Norwich.
It’s no surprise that Neil Lennon wanted him at Bolton, he knows Gary is a better player than probably anyone in Norwich realise. Norwich rejected the bid, as they were reluctant to weaken their squad, but already this season is looking unlikely to add much to the end of career Gary Hooper Highlights DVD.
Celtic are already on the case to sign John Guidetti on a permanent deal, he’s looked the part since he first touched the ball in a Celtic shirt, but by contrast, Stefan Scepovic has looked awkward. The early goals didn’t come, he looked short of a game plan and when a header missed the target on Thursday night, one guy behind me bellowed the kind of comment you hope a player looking for confidence doesn’t hear.
I don’t know any more about Stefan than you, but I absolutely know we’ve not seen the best of him, just as Norwich haven’t seen the best of Gary. This guy has the background we want in a new recruit, scoring well in the Spanish second tier and wanted by top tier club.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Celtic player as happy to score as Stefan was against Astra. The finish against Kilmarnock will have built on whatever confidence boost he received. The project is back on course. He needs to continue to find the net, and we need to remember how to support a player as he settles into a new life.
We’ve had a great run of momentum with the help of Magners in recent weeks. The club sponsor have offered a couple of premium match tickets, on the back of which we’ve asked for donations from £1 to Mary’s Meals.
It’s been great to see this in action. We get lots of £1 and £2 donations, but plenty of people chip in with a lot more. It’s been a great way of ensuring prizes are open to everyone.
Today we formally launch the bid to build a fourth school kitchen in Malawi for Mary’s Meals. During 2014 you funded the construction of three kitchens, which feed close to 2000 of the world’s poorest children each day. All of them live below the UN measure of absolute poverty.
Over the last 20 years the number of people living below $1.25 per day has halved. Organisations like Mary’s Meals are making enormous inroads. Those kids aren’t just getting a meal, more of them are able to attend school (up 30%) as they don’t need to work for food. This improves their academic achievements and gives them skills which will be with them throughout their lives, increasing personal, regional and national productivity.
93% of the money raised by Mary’s Meals reaches those on the ground. It costs around $12 to feed a child for an entire year. It’s almost incalculable what your money does.
Magners have kindly offered two debenture hospitality seats for The Celtic Suite, including buffet lunch, for the Inverness game on Saturday, which are available for auction here on ebay. The journey we had last year in building those three kitchens was remarkable, I know we’ll enjoy the new project.