Connor Southwell: How Captain Canary and the River End scoreboards shaped my Norwich City journey

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 September 2019

Connor Southwell is the new Norwich City reporter. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Connor Southwell is the new Norwich City reporter. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

New Norwich City writer Connor Southwell explains what made him an ardent Canary and why he can’t wait to follow their fortunes for the Pink Un

Connor Southwell is a lifelong Norwich City fan. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodConnor Southwell is a lifelong Norwich City fan. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Football clubs serve as beacons of the community.

That statement seems all the more poignant when producing thoughts on Norwich City Football Club. Uniqueness wraps itself around the club for it is one county donning two colours and sharing one deep rooted passion, the former defines why it is so cherished by so many.

These aren't the pages to discuss the state of the country currently, but division is pertinent throughout it.

Football manages to bridge that divide, to prevent polarisation and continue to emotively capture people from all walks of life. That initial step into the stadium is one that every supporter, regardless of who they support, remember and cherish for eternity.

As a journey, it's an unforgettable one, that viewing of the turf fuels your appetite but it's the roar from the crowds and the magic produced by the players that ignites a love affair to withstand the test of time.

The narrative that follows my footballing venture does contain the romanticism which some may expect, but that hook is now something that can be exercised in a professional sense.

Within the Southwell menage is a potent stream of yellow and green, the family tree isn't rich with exotic cultural elegance but deeply embedded in it is the county of Norfolk and the colours of Norwich City.

History serves as a reminder of how my family have carried the football bug for numerous decades. My great-grandfather was responsible for manually altering the scoreboards at the River End prior to technological interference, my grandfather used to proudly operate as the Captain Canary mascot figure, bringing smiles to faces and entertaining those who were making their debuts upon the Carrow Road terraces.

On every family occasion, the primary discussion often involves fortunes of the Canaries. For good or for bad, whether the football leads you to a postponed League One fixture in Walsall or a top flight curtain raiser at Liverpool, talk is always about this football club.

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The city embodies the fortunes of its football club. In Carrow Road, it has a theatre at the heart of it all, a place where escapism is permitted and dreams realised.

Dreaming has been a characteristic of my professional journey to date. Discussions about aspirations always end up with the same point, the desire to cover a club that is a pillar for this county and, unashamedly, much of my life.

The responsibility that falls onto my shoulders is seismic given how much Norwich City means to so many.

As someone conscious of supporters and their hunger for all things Norwich City, that desire to digest content surrounding this club pertinent wherever you go across the county.

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Enduring the hard yards to corners of the country that wouldn't be graced with any degree of your presence but to follow a club you so vividly align with is something most can relate to. The allure of football is such that even after a hefty defeat, still we find ourselves scrolling through the fixture list to find the next one to attend.

Norwich City constructs that effect on you. That desire to belong, that sense of camaraderie shared throughout the Canary nation.

Walking around the county, it is not the badges of the superpowers of English football that is emblazoned on the shirts adorned by budding footballers and supporters, it is a single Canary. The nature of geographical location but also the values shared by both city and club make it such an attractive entity, that appeal to young supporters all the more essential given the world stage they currently operate within.

On the pitch, academy graduates continue to shine, being handed opportunities to express themselves against opponents with eye-watering price tags and quality oozing from their boots. To an extent, that sense of opportunity is something I share currently, being given a chance to report on the club that's loved by so many with some exceptional Norwich City reporters.

From that young boy who kicked a ball pretending that I was converting a winning penalty in front of a full Barclay Stand, now comes the chance to enter the sphere with a different perspective.

Sadly, those dreams of becoming the next academy graduate to cross the bridge and fulfil dreams will never materialise but the passion, enthusiasm and adoration for the game has never wavered from my being.

Realising that dream, one formed throughout the last three years writing on the fortunes of Norwich City, has been fulfilled. Excitement and football often go hand in hand.

I cannot wait to get started and dissecting the fortunes of the club that has served as such an important aspect of my life.

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