Chris Lakey: Roy Blower was a lovely man who bucked a trend
©Archant Photographic 2008
Journalists are supposed to be hard-nosed. It's part of the character that has been built up over the years but which, frankly, isn't true, and probably never has been.
We're normal people; it's just that we are fortunate enough have our nosiness satisfied by receiving news ahead of most other people.
Sometimes it's good news. Sometimes it isn't. This week, the news was bad. Roy Blower, a favourite person for a number of my colleagues, and myself, died. I looked around the office at the people who knew him and the reaction told the story.
It wasn't shock - Roy had been ill for a while. It was the realisation of loss. That the phone would never again ring with his voice at the end regaling you with a story, with a joke or two and a laugh. And it would always, but always end with Roy apologising for troubling you (even though he wasn't) and telling you to "keep up the good work".
Roy never rang to let off steam. The point of his call was never to criticise or moan at anyone or anything.
Roy Blower bucked the trend. He knew everything there was to know about his beloved Norwich City Football Club. But he never got too close. He never felt forced to toe the party line. He was a man of principle and if he felt strongly about something, he put it across in a dignified way.
He loved the club and would never wish it harm. He treated it like he did his fellow man.
City wasn't his only love - he was an active table tennis player for many years and into his 70s - and had a story for that as well. He tried to bring speedway back to Norwich and was a huge admirer of legendary Swede Ove Fundin, who rode for the old Norwich Stars team
"Ove is pushing 80 but there's more fat on a chip," he once said.
The difference between Roy and many others who occupy, perhaps, a similar supportive role for their football club, is that he never sought infamy, notoriety, 'fame' or misguided respect through social media. Many have been guilty of using their thumbs to wile away the long hours posting to the world, then sitting back and waiting for the bomb they have dropped to explode.
That wasn't Roy's way. And while I find social media addictive, I think I know why Roy didn't inhabit it. Because too many people use it incorrectly. And that wasn't Roy Blower's way.
Many, many people, will miss Roy for many, many reasons.
That phone call every few weeks was mine.
The best signing?
Refreshing to hear the words of Norwich City's sporting director Stuart Webber this week.
Webber's honesty is a little disarming, but in a good way, for someone used to previous regimes when mum was sometimes the word (which reminds me of the story of a member of City's hierarchy who, after being greeted with 'good morning' by a reporter, replied, 'no comment'.
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Webber's attitude to those outside of the club's inner circle is healthy: he has worked hard to ensure the club and its supporters have an understanding that they are all in it together - something which prompted some cracking support from the stands for the team last season.
His frankness over the reported interest from Manchester United, of agents quoting telephone number figures, the effect a 'bad apple' signing could, have on current players, the need to develop youth ...
Webber is as good a signing as City have made in a long time.
Dream on, Reds
There would have been more than a large dollop of irony around Old Trafford last weekend when Manchester United celebrated the 20th anniversary of their Champions League final win over Bayern Munich with a match against the old enemy.
David Beckham, Jaap Stam, Paul Scholes and Co strutted their stuff (I really do wish Roy Keane had been involved as well).
But seeing them out there would have been a painful reminder for United fans of how awful their current team has been, for far too long, and what a mahoosive job manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has got on his hands.
United thrashed Bayern 5-0 - that isn't going to happen again in a game that matters for a long, long time.
There is no Scholes - the best Premier League player ever, end of argument.
There isn't another Beckham.
The Theatre of Dreams it may have been, but in the background it is a nightmare from which United seen unable to waken.
A press release which dropped at the end of the week was headlined: "Brits will spend over 10 hours a week watching sport this summer."
I almost emailed back to point out, politely, that something was wrong. Either the figure 10 was incorrect, or 'summer' should have read 'weekend'.
But no, it seems we will spend an astonishing 10 HOURS (their capitals, not mine) a week watching sport on TV this summer - starting with the Champions League final tonight. I don't know about you, but my summer quota will be up before I get back to work on Monday. They also got the stat about women watching sport on TV incorrect for my household. While 34pc of men plan over 10 hours of TV sport across the summer months, only 28pc of females plan on watching two to four hours a week. Make that zero for Mrs L. The survey is courtesy of Greene King (which I was partial to in the days before teetotalism set in), who say 57pc of Brits will watch the Champions League final, and 24pc of those will head to the pub to do so. Complicated innit?