Colney treat was a capital day out

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:41 10 September 2010

Tim Allman, Capital Canaries

My parents moved to London from Norwich before I was born, and when I was old enough to go to football, which was in the early 1970s, there was also a younger brother and baby sister in the family, so my opportunities to see Norwich play were very limited.

My parents moved to London from Norwich before I was born, and when I was old enough to go to football, which was in the early 1970s, there was also a younger brother and baby sister in the family, so my opportunities to see Norwich play were very limited.

As I grew up and became more interested in football, my Dad's Saturday afternoons were taken up with hockey umpiring, and this meant my visits to Carrow Road were few and far between.

Thirty years on, as I started taking my elder daughter Gemma to football, I didn't have the distraction of Saturday afternoon sport to distract me, so she was dragged along to matches. The first season in which she attended was the year in which we won the old Division One title, and she's been a regular since then.

All those years ago, Dad didn't know many other Norwich supporters in London, so meeting other City fans was by chance. Nowadays, in the age of the internet and instant communication, meeting up and finding other exiled City fans is so much easier. I joined the Capital Canaries as I noticed that the then travel officer, Paul Webster, had an email address at the bank where I worked, so I got in touch.

Noticing that email address was one of the best things I ever did. I joined the Capital Canaries, met other Norwich supporters in London, and became the home travel officer, a job which involves getting 50+ supporters by train to Norwich every other week. The fact I got involved meant that Gemma has got involved as well, though not through choice on her part.

Since becoming a Norwich fan, she has been the away mascot twice, both times at QPR. The first time she ran out with Darren Huckerby and we drew 3-3. Next season she was under strict instructions to run out with the captain as the game was on Sky TV.

Three months later Gemma and I were guests on the Scrimmage with Chris Goreham and Matthew Gudgen, and Gemma got to say a few words live on Radio Norfolk.

I thought then that her Norwich treats had finished; but that was until early July when I received a mystery letter with a Norwich postmark. My first impressions were that it was another request to buy raffle tickets, so when I opened it, I was not that interested. Then I read who had sent the letter.

“Dear Gemma”, it read, “you have won a day at Colney in the Train with the Stars competition”. Please let me know if you will be attending. It was signed by Jeremy Goss. I couldn't believe it, and nor could Gemma. She'd been lucky again.

As regards the day at Colney, it's difficult to say how much Gemma enjoyed it without going overboard. Two hours of football practice at the training ground, some fun games, and a penalty shoot out, and some harder drills, were all part of a day she will never forget. Gossy was great with the kids, kept everyone involved and made the session fun.

And when it was over, all the children had dinner in the canteen and were shown round the training ground. Twenty minutes into the Colney tour, Gossy was reminded that a youth team game was starting soon, and we had to be off so we didn't get in the way of the early evening arrivals. He seemed almost disappointed that the kids had to go!

Gemma and I, as well as 15 other children and their families, all had a fantastic day out. It is one that we will both never forget, thanks to Norwich City FC and Gossy.

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