Mum's knows - and King's Lynn can cap off a good week for football
PUBLISHED: 17:24 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:24 10 May 2019
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The game of football has had so much bad press of late that this week has provided some excellent respite.
Our national game is often guilty of some self-inflicted wounds, but this week has proved without a doubt (and particularly for those from around these parts) that it is alive and kicking at its brilliant, exciting morale-boosting best.
I know that to be true becomes it comes from the words of the judge - my mum.
Mum isn't averse to giving anyone or anything a bashing if deserved: she has an opinion on Danny Baker; thanks to my moaning about him she also has some fairly strident views on the Ipswich Town manager which places him just below Jose Mourinho on her sporting hit list.
But this week's been good to us all.
Sunday: Norwich win the Championship title; the fact Leeds can't even beat Ipswich is a double-edged sword, but I'm sure we can all live with that.
Monday: Norwich party on through the streets, celebrating the aforementioned success, much to the delight of tens of thousands of fans, and midfielder Kenny McLean (if not slightly troubling for those of us who desperately wanted to point out he was actually wearing the crier's hat not the mayor's but daren't mention it for fear of excited retribution).
Monday afternoon: Wes Hoolahan and Russ Martin played out the testimonial niceties, sharing the stage with the victorious City squad, while 50 miles up the road in a bit of an unfortunate fixture clash, King's Lynn Town lit up west Norfolk with a superb performance in the play-off final to beat Alvechurch 3-0 and move to within one game of promotion.
Tuesday: Liverpool come from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona 4-0. Mum's son-in-law and grandson are delighted. Her daughter describes the nerve-wracking final minutes as "worse than watching Torvill and Dean winning gold".
I am delighted but pleasantly confused at finding myself punching the air in support of a team I don't support that is. And having told my Liverpool-supporting colleague Mark that his team would win, I felt chuffed and ever-so-slightly smug at the same time.
Wednesday: more fist pumping for a team with which I have little allegiance nowadays, as Spurs beat Ajax.
Two nights which made Manchester United's win in Paris St Germain fade into the insignificance they deserve. Rooves were raised everywhere I looked - friends and family all loving their bit of glory.
I completely forgot to watch the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, which perhaps best reflects the competition's standing: it will be a joy to Chelsea and Arsenal supporters, but few others gives a monkey's chuff, thanks to Liverpool and Spurs.
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Friday: Rest day. It had been, said the judge, a good week for football. But it goes on...
Saturday: The road leads to Warrington where King's Lynn play in a super final to determine whether they play in the National North next season.
I'll be there, working, but hoping they do it, because following them has been a joy. The manager, Ian Culverhouse, is a fine man, his assistant Paul Bastock equally so. The players have been truly brilliant, producing a style of football of which the club should be proud. What Norwich have done in the Championship, Lynn have replicated in the Southern Premier Central.
Curiously, they don't seem to be very popular with other clubs. The play-offs were dogged by ludicrous bureaucratic ineptitude which left the semi-final and final fixtures moving here, there and everywhere. Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve 'campaigned' to get the best he could for his club, and in some quarters was slaughtered for it. But all he was doing was looking after the affairs and interests of the club he owns.
I have nothing against Warrington or its football club, but I desperately hope Lynn win. It will be reward for all those at the club and would cap off one of the great footballing weeks.
Here we go...
Norwich City's promotion to the Premier League has one employment side-effect that we might have ignored... with the PR and gambling communities.
The stuff that lands in our inbox is varied and wonderful. Sometimes. But promotion has added something else.
For example, it would appear City will claim 37 points in the Premier League next season - according to Sporting Index. That's enough to have secured survival in the last three seasons in England's top flight.
Sporting Index expect Norwich to win one point more than Sheffield United.
How do they work that out? Unless they know who Norwich are keeping and signing for next season, how can anyone even begin to predict where they will finish? Plus, there is still one more promoted side to be sorted
Time to call in Sherlock Holmes...
Meanwhile, bet365 have released their odds on the Premier League winners and City are 2,000/1. They're 10/1 for a top-half finish, Evens to be relegated and 8/11 to avoid the drop. Worth a quid?