City 'til I die - in print

PUBLISHED: 09:51 18 September 2010 | UPDATED: 10:35 14 October 2010

Zöe Fail, Capital Canaries

An old song from the terraces which we still sing today and one which has lent itself to a new book, 'City 'til I die'; now available to purchase from the club shop.

“I'm City 'til I die.

I'm City 'til I die.

I know I am.

I'm sure I am.

I'm City 'til I die.”

An old song from the terraces which we still sing today and one which has lent itself to a new book, 'City 'til I die'; now available to purchase from the club shop.

I was one of the lucky fans who contributed an entry to the book, 'City 'til I die' and, as a result, invited to the book launch, held in the Study Centre (SC) at Carrow Road before the Barnsley game.

Let me take you back a few months though, to February and The Nelson, before the Brentford game. Tim, our home travel officer, informed us we would have a guest at lunch. This turned out to be David Lane from Legends Publishing.

They were looking for City fans to share their stories to be included in a new book, the aforementioned 'City 'til I die'. Over food and plenty of beers, we shared stories and looked at books already published using fans' stories at other clubs. The quality was impressive and inspired a number of Capital Canaries to pen their stories, of which a few were lucky enough to be included.

However, it all started even before our lunch in The Nelson.

The Study Centre involvement was instrumental in the club being approached by Legends Publishing and the National Literacy Trust (NLT) to produce this book full of incredible stories; stories that will make you laugh or weep; remind you of the good and bad things about being a City fan; remind us why we love this club; stories from the fans for the fans; past, present; future.

Prior to the book being published, the Study Centre had been active with several initiatives to encourage the children and young people of Norfolk to read; such as free books and reading champion schemes in schools.

This lead to Irfan Masters (from the NLT) contacting Paul Wickens (SC Manager) to see if he and the club would be interested in participating to produce a book by the fans about their love of all things green and yellow.

Irfan's view, as he explained during his short speech at the book launch, is that children learn much through the medium of sport. He also highlighted the importance of literacy and how its skills can open doors for all who can read and write. Additionally, he believes that many children learn geography through sport, in particular football, and that football has a huge impact on the town or city where there is a club; shaping and defining the area and the people who live there.

The club then had to agree to sell the book, which was duly done, and the gathering of stories, sifting through the hundreds sent in and selecting the final number to make it into print. Given the variety that got through the selection, it must have been an incredibly difficult job for someone; not one I envy them having to do.

Six hundred books have be donated to Norwich schools to use, as well as supporting resources, to engage the children, particularly boys who are notorious for not reading, in learning various Literacy skills. These books can be enjoyed for many years as the stories cannot go 'out-of-date'.

I'd pre-ordered my copy, not even knowing if I'd been lucky to have had my story selected so you can imagine my joy when I saw mine in print - very exciting indeed!

Back to the launch and David Lane briefly explained the process the publishing company had gone through to produce the book, including the selection of the right range and balance of stories.

I was fortunate to have a chat with David McNally, who said he'd enjoyed my story, as one of the few he'd read. He also informed John and I that Declan Rudd would be starting the game that day and that his son, Keelan, was not named after Kevin Keelan, as I had commented on reading that in the Canary Preview - the first time I'd come across Keelan as a first name and then read it elsewhere a mere 24 hours later; definitely a strange coincidence.

Another highlight was Darren Huckerby's attendance, prior to his dashing off to do his hosting in the Darren Huckerby Matchday Club. Guess who managed to get their photo with him?!

Ros Watson gave an interview about the book on BBC Radio Norfolk, which was included in the Sports Round-up the day before the launch.

I'd like to give the following my thanks for this special occasion:

Norwich City Football Club for giving us, the fans, the opportunity, to tell our stories about our passion for this wonderful club;

The Study Centre staff - Paul Wickens, Andrew Gooch and Maxine Mace - who hosted the book launch and provided us with welcome refreshments;

David McNally, Darren Huckerby and Will Hoy for attending;

Ros Watson for co-ordinating the event;

David Lane (Legends Publishing) and Irfan Masters (National Literacy Trust) for involving the club and fans in this wonderful opportunity.

All that is left for me to say is buy the book; enjoy the stories; I'm City 'Til I die!

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