Do Norwich City fans have a genuine cup run to look forward to?
Do we have a cup run on our hands, at long last?
Norwich City’s win at Brentford (an away win – will wonders never cease?) eased them into the last 16 of a knockout competition which holds good memories for many fans, mostly of the vintage variety it has to be said.
It is the League Cup (currently masquerading as the Carabao Cup) which has provided the club with some of its finest moments and, in terms of filling the trophy cabinet, proper silverware. City won it in 1962 and 1985, having conveniently disposed of the noisy neighbours Ipswich in the semi-finals and were runners-up in 1973 and 1975.
Trips to Wembley are rare indeed, but for those who want to know how a proper cup run ends, think the 2015 play-off final. It’s like that. City got to the quarter-finals in 2012-13 but lost to Aston Villa, then managed by former boss Paul Lambert, but appearances at the sharp end have been few and far between of late.
The League Cup has, as we know, become a training ground competition for many clubs, dependant on league position, availability of players, attitude of manager. And that, consequently, has presented a loophole for other clubs with genuine cup aspirations to jump through – at least until the later rounds when Premier League teams start to take it a little more seriously. The same applies to the FA Cup – although it is not just bigger teams who adopt a laissez-faire attitude to knockout competitions. Sometimes it’s a case of needs must for managers who find the pressure and demands of league success over-riding.
And that’s where fans miss out. What is there not to like about a day out at Wembley for a cup final? It is a memory that will last a lifetime, a memory that most football supporters will never enjoy.
If you look at it from the nitty-gritty business end here it is reasonable that fee-paying customers have the right to expect their club to bust a gut in trying to provide those memories.
Winning the Premier League isn’t going to happen any time soon. Winning promotion is attainable, and City fans have been fortunate enough to enjoy that particular feeling more than once in recent memory.
But cup runs? Maybe we can dream...