Spud Thornhill: When the best-laid plans of Norwich City fans go awry

PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:41 21 March 2020

Spud Thornhill and Norwich City.. a love affair 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Spud Thornhill and Norwich City.. a love affair Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Normally, once I finish my fortnightly article for these pages, I start thinking about what I can I write in two weeks time. Two weeks ago, I did exactly that.

Spud Thornhill back in 2002 when he had a conflict between City's play-off bid and his team's appearance in a quiz final Picture: ArchantSpud Thornhill back in 2002 when he had a conflict between City's play-off bid and his team's appearance in a quiz final Picture: Archant

I thought to myself, with our FA Cup tie with Manchester United coming up it would be easy. The buzz of a home tie in the last eight and our first FA Cup quarter-final for 28 years – there was so much to write about to get fellow readers up for the game.

My normal positivity and ability to forget our fragile Premiership status for a week would make some fans even more up for the tie.

I could talk about happy memories of my youth, standing on the Barclay terracing when we beat West Ham in 1989 and Southampton in 1992 as we headed for the semi-final of the greatest cup competition in the world.

So much to talk about, so much to make us smile.

Then the horrible ’C’ word came along and threw a spanner in the works.

Suddenly I had to rip up the article and start all over again.

It’s been a week now since the powers that be put our sporting lives on hold. I knew it was inevitable, but when I got the phone call from my wife to tell me there wouldn’t be any football in the top four divisions until April 4 it gave me that low, sinking feeling that I probably hadn’t had since I was told Darren Eadie had been sold to Leicester City back in December 1999.

She also told me I could now join her at a kids’ party that our daughter had been invited to last Saturday.

Next month, it’ll be 10 years since me and my wife met. I think basically from the first day she knew that between August and May every Saturday afternoon I would doing one of three things: 1, Watching Norwich City; 2, Listening to Chris Goreham and Rob Butler on Radio Norfolk commentating on a Norwich away game or 3, Watching Sky Sports Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling and the boys on international weekend.

But it appears for the foreseeable future I won’t be doing any of those things.

We have been invited to events, even a wedding where Hayleigh was a bridesmaid and I arrived after the football had finished. Even recently we took our daughter to the Dinosaur Park in January where it was agreed we could leave early so I could listen to Chris commentating at Burnley.

I’m sure it’s in the contract we signed when we got married that this is acceptable!!!

It appears, not only will I not be doing any of my normal Saturday afternoon rituals, I will have to sit at home watching children’s TV programmes. Hopefully I can try and persuade my two-year-old not to watch Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol and maybe watch one of my many Norwich City DVDs.

It’s times like this that I feel very appreciative. Not only do I like football but I am able to watch my team every week. What do people who don’t like football do?

Football has brought so much joy and, yes, sometimes some despair, but I’ve met some fantastic people, with so many great stories and moments of life because of football.

So in this uncertain time, if I do get bored at home I am sure I will drift off and think back to climbing up the old Barclay terracing fence with Robert Fleck the other side of it screaming to each other as we celebrated a goal back in 1988, or maybe a last-minute winner from Simeon Jackson when I went bananas.

As we may not have football for a while, let’s stay safe, protect ourselves and our love ones. Watch a Norwich City DVD and we will get through this unprecedented time.

Never mind the danger.

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