David Hannant: Seven sources of satisfaction to savour for City this season
PUBLISHED: 17:13 31 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 31 March 2019
Last week, this column was brought to you by the number eight - solely due to the fact there was, at that point, eight games remaining.
This week, it is brought to you by the number seven for several more reasons than that.
Following yet another superb victory at the weekend, the number seven was popping up on City timelines as often as it is hollered in trademark style by Len Goodman on Strictly.
Seven games unchanged.
Seven wins on the bounce.
Seven minutes after the break until the breakthrough (*ish)
Seven points clear of third.
Seven games to go...
Not quite seven sevens, but enough for me kick off this piece with a Sesame Street reference for the second week in a row.
So with seven tests remaining, it’s getting tougher and tougher to picture next season being anything other than Premier League football at Carrow Road. I’m trying my best not to count my chickens, but who isn’t?
There’s still plenty of football left to be played, but it definitely feels like the home straight now.
With that in mind, while looking forward, I’m also feeling reflective and thinking about just how enjoyable this season has been.
Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, it’s pretty difficult to think of one more enjoyable overall than this one – certainly this century.
There has been so much to savour over the past several months, but for the sake of this week’s magic number, I’m going to pick out a magnificent seven.
1 Faith in youth
One of the purest of joys in football is seeing ‘one of your own’ break through the ranks.
For so many years, this is something we’ve been fairly deprived of in these parts.
Obviously there have been a handful of exceptions, but I can’t remember a single season in which so many academy products have played such key roles.
While Max Aarons is rightfully up for young player of the year, Jamal Lewis can feel aggrieved not also to be up for the gong.
Had Ben Godfrey figured from the off he’d also have a decent shout for it too. It’s so good to see.
2 Against all expectations
A quick glance across early-season predictions from pundits, ex-pros and fellow fans shows that nobody really expected much from Norwich City this season.
The loss of James Maddison was basically considered as good as a death sentence in the eyes of the national press – mid-table obscurity or worse beckoned.
Other successful seasons there has always been a degree of expectation on City.
Achieving when expected to achieve is great – but flying in the face of being written off is much, much better.
3 Late goals
This season has been short of a fair few things – Ipswich victories, to name one.
However, one thing it has not been short of is late drama.
Late goals stick long in the memory, they bring such scenes of ecstasy (unless you’re that special kind of idiot that likes to leave the ground on 85 minutes).
This season we’ve had grandstand finishes galore, which will stick around in the memory for years regardless of what happens between now and full-time at Villa Park.
4 Fun, fun, fun
There has been such a great under-lying lightheartedness to Norwich City this season.
From the Pirates of the Caribbean references from Daniel Farke to Onel and Argos, the club has been putting smiles on faces for far more than just what they are doing on the pitch.
Obviously when things are going well on the field it’s easier to be lighthearted off it, but it works both ways and this atmosphere reinforces confidence,
5 Finding hidden gems
This time last year, how many City fans can honestly say they were clued up on Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki?
Likewise, how many would have picked Marco Stiepermann as the man to fill James Maddison’s role?
Buying a diamond from a jeweller is nice – but finding one in the rough is so much more satisfying to see, which is what we have done again and again.
How apt that we can sum up another satisfying thing about this season with a German word.
It’s a great one too – meaning to take pleasure from the misfortune of others.
And while, if we finish the job, Ipswich’s downfall will be but a footnote on our success, we’ll all be lying to ourselves if we say it hasn’t made it a little bit sweeter.
If the final table is book-ended by East Anglia, what Norwich City fan would honestly say they’d have it any other way? Especially given who is in charge down there.
7 Emi Buendia
No words needed.