I’m calling it – we’ll end 23 years of hurt to finally win at Selhurst Park
PUBLISHED: 14:02 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:02 25 September 2019
Quick question to start this week’s column (and huge praise from me if you can get the answer without contacting Mr Google).
What place does David Isaac Hopkin - the 49-year-old former Scottish international midfielder who is currently manager of Greenock Morton - have in Norwich City's history books?
I'll be honest - I'd never heard of him before I started doing some research for my latest musings.
A clue is that the significant day was May 5, 1996.
If I added that it was at Selhurst Park, you may get it.
Yes, Mr Hopkin was the last player to score a winning goal for Norwich City at Crystal Palace.
The midfielder netted an own goal to give the Canaries a victory in Gary Megson's last game in charge.
That was nearly 23½ years and 16 trips to SE25 ago.
Whatever the result, a trip to that corner of the capital never seems to be pleasant for Norwich City fans.
And the stats show it is certainly one of the Canaries' least favourite hunting grounds.
John Major still had another year to go as PM and George Michael's Fastlove was number one when we last tasted success at Selhurst (oh and by the way Robert Chase had only just vacated the chairman's chair).
If you count all the temporary/caretaker bosses, City have had 18 managers since the last win there.
Come on, Mr Farke. You have helped us end so many hoodoos since you arrived - now it's time to get three points at Palace.
I'm sure most of us agree that six points from six games so far this term, including coming up against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City is no mean feat.
What is of some concern is that we have nothing from the three away trips and have scored just once while conceding eight.
While the second half at Anfield was encouraging, City were soundly beaten at West Ham and Burnley.
There are lots of theories about how to change our fortunes on the road.
I really hope Farke doesn't change his philosophy of playing football his way and encouraging the lads to work out from the back. That is how we've got to the place we're in.
What clearly is key - especially after Saturday - is the need to be much more solid and savvy early on as teams press high to force errors.
Last season City were brilliant away from home, with 12 wins, nine draws and just two defeats.
Lack of success on the road in the top flight, however, is nothing new.
Thanks to @ncfcnumbers for the stat that Norwich have won six, drawn seven and lost 37 of the last 50 away games in the Premier League.
Robbie Brady scored the winner in City's last victory away from NR1 in the PL - at West Brom back in 2016.
That was one of only three away wins (plus two draws) in that relegation season.
In 2013/14 (when again we were relegated) there were just two away wins and three draws.
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We all know that the form at Carrow Road will be the real key to our fate this year - but we have to learn to come home with some goodies from our travels.
Looking back to 2011/12 when we ended up 12th with 47 points, 20 of them came away.
Saturday's trip to Palace will be far from easy.
They're unbeaten at home so far this season after beating Villa and sharing the spoils with Everton and Wolves.
That draw against Wolves probably felt more like a defeat as they conceded so late on.
Rather than allowing that to be a spur to the home side, we need to use it to our advantage to get on the front foot and ensure we have the early momentum.
Having wrongly predicted we'd be successful at Turf Moor, I'm remaining positive that we'll finally be successful down there - and David Hopkin can lose his place in our club's history.
Ready, steady, stick!
So, today's the day!
Excitement is reaching fever pitch as the Norwich City stickers go on sale.
We've already sold thousands of albums and so many fans can't wait for the chance to start collecting the 230 players, managers, previous kits and great moments in the club's history.
The 2.5m stickers arrived at our print centre last week and I have to confess I grabbed a few to give me a head start.
Bradley Johnson was the first one I opened and I felt like a kid as I peeled off the backing and slotted him in to the book!
I've already got Dereham's finest Todd Cantwell, my first City manager John Bond as well as the one we're calling out cult sticker Colin Woodthorpe.
Happy collecting - and I'll be up for doing swapsies!
Great night in store
It's bound to be a great night as the Norwich City Fans Social Club holds a "meet the staff" evening on Thursday, October 3.
While sporting director Stuart Webber, head coach Daniel Farke and the players rightly get so much credit, there are other key people who are integral in the club's success.
Four of those will be at the event, hosted by City legend Darren Eadie.
Business and projects director Zoe Ward, chief operating officer Ben Kensell, academy manager Stuart Weaver and loans manager Neil Adams will take questions and talk to fans about their roles.
It's in the Top of the Terrace at Carrow Road, 7.30pm.
Admission is £3 adults, £1 children. Pay on the door.
By the way, it will be 27 years to the day since that 7-1 defeat to Blackburn (as it was the day we got married, I never forget that date!).