Melissa Rudd: Ten years on and things are looking up for Norwich City fans
PUBLISHED: 17:42 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 16 January 2019
Anybody active on social media might have noticed the latest phenomenon doing the rounds, which encourages users to post a recent photo of themselves alongside one a decade ago.
In most cases the ‘10 Year Challenge’ only serves to highlight just how much fashion and hairstyles seem to drastically change in a relatively short space of time.
If Norwich City were to post theirs, the 2009 photo might show Wes Hoolahan celebrating his first goal for the club, or Bryan Gunn celebrating in the dugout after he watched his side demolish Barnsley 4-0 on his managerial debut. That match was 10 years ago to the very day.
There were just shy of 25,000 fans inside Carrow Road to watch their relegation-threatened side pick up a vital three points. They would go on to win just four more league games all season before inevitable relegation to League One.
None of us need to go back a full decade to appreciate just how special times like these are when supporting a club. But it’s a stark reminder that with City having the chance to go second with a win over Birmingham tomorrow night, we shouldn’t take any of this season for granted no matter what happens come May.
Once again City showed their sheer resolve in battling back to win a point late on at The Hawthorns. It was the 18th point they have taken having been behind, and their 10th won in the last 10 minutes – both league highs. Of course it’s frustrating to have to come from behind so often – but the never-die-attitude that Daniel Farke has instilled in his team is a priceless attribute.
With more injuries and post-Christmas schedule fatigue to deal with, the second half of the season was always going to test the true depth of this City squad. On Saturday it passed with flying colours.
There must be few tactical decisions quite as satisfying to a head coach than when players brought on to ‘change the game’ actually do so. When Jordan Rhodes deftly poked home the equaliser against West Brom, he became the seventh City player to come off the bench to score in the Championship this season. Only Preston have had more. The fact that he was assisted by a pinpoint cross from fellow substitute Kenny McLean, made it even more remarkable.
McLean had almost become City’s forgotten man after his unfortunate injury in the League Cup against Stevenage in August ruled him out for so long. To seal his Championship return with an assist in such a vital game is hopefully just a taster of what he can bring to the table now he’s fully fit again.
Rhodes again demonstrated that wonderful rare goal-poaching quality, this time with his very first touch of the game. After a couple of poor seasons, Rhodes had been written off before he came to Carrow Road. He’s now scored more Championship goals this season than he did for Sheffield Wednesday in the whole of the last campaign, despite starting exactly half the number of games (18 last season, nine this). His contribution on Saturday could well prove invaluable given the opposition.
There seemed to be a fair few West Brom fans keen to point out the mediocrity of Norwich’s display on Saturday and questioning how City are in the position they are in. The irony that their own side still couldn’t take all three points despite facing such an ‘average team’ was seemingly lost on those individuals.
After one win in seven matches, other promotion rivals might be looking at City’s results with a hint of glee hoping that this winless run is a sign the promotion charge is about to hit the buffers. They should write us off at their peril.
That old photo from a decade ago wouldn’t reveal just how disjointed the team Glenn Roeder had assembled in 2009 really was. This week’s of Farke and his players saluting the 2,700-strong away following after earning what could be an invaluable point at The Hawthorns is more telling.
If this side can harness that togetherness and make it count over the next few weeks at least, we could be in for something special.