Drivel won't pull in the fans

PUBLISHED: 15:10 03 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:03 14 September 2010

Norwich City season tickets - it appears - are becoming the football equivalent of gym memberships. Everyone resolves to buy one, but by the end of January many are being left to fester in a dusty draw.

Norwich City season tickets - it appears - are becoming the football equivalent of gym memberships. Everyone resolves to buy one, but by the end of January many are being left to fester in a dusty draw.

Tuesday's ticket sales were officially 23,311 - but a whopping 15 per cent didn't turn up, making the actual matchday crowd: 19,814. An interesting pointer to next season perhaps…

The truth is, no matter how loyal your support is, if you keep on serving up drivel people just won't turn up: even if they've already bought a ticket.

And of course, the Canary Army is very much a new phenomenon. Many of us recall only getting about 16k for our first ever European game, while our stint in the upper echelons of the top flight in the 90s was often accompanied by a paltry home support.

A modicum of ambition by our board four years ago changed that; but as the ambition dwindles - so will the crowds.

It's certainly felt more prudent than ambitious in the past two years: and empty seats are the price you pay for that.

T Much to The Man's amazement, we did not lose at Blackpool. As soon as our quick-thinking striker Chris Brown got sent off for handball, I thought the writing was on the wall.

And with just minutes to go, as The Doc did another of his 'Dalek going down a flight of stairs' impressions; I really, really thought that was it. But we survived: and a good trip was had by all (aside from those City fans who had a kitchen knife launched at them).

Chelsea is a dreadful draw for all but the bean counters - but at least we had two niche trips to Tamworth and Blackpool to enjoy.

Blackpool itself was as The Man expected: tacky, cheap and in need of a good lick of paint. The fact some people actually go there on holiday is deeply distressing - my heart goes out to them.

During the trip The Man was amused to note the Yarmouth Yellows - an increasingly prominent faction of our support - have taken to leaving a friendly calling card (sticker) which says: “Don't let the football spoil your day.”

There is a less family-friendly version of that expression doing the rounds - **** the football - but you get the point. Spot on. OTBC.

t What a surprise… This week football authorities decided it was OK for Liverpool to break international football laws and sign West Ham flop Javier Mashpotato. Was it ever in doubt?

Certainly, The Man didn't think so. Because let's face it - when it comes to the club that cost us a good few European campaigns - anything goes. I wonder whether FIFA would have been so obliging had it of been Crewe trying to sign a Bulgarian who had already played for two clubs this season? I doubt it.

T Another transfer window passes - and again it's followed by Doomcaster's diary of who we nearly signed. Apparently, revealed Doomy, we nearly signed a Premiership player on loan. Wow. The Man was so excited he nearly soiled himself.

At least in Doomcaster's second edition of “Not so Great Expectations” (serialised in the EDP) we were spared the details of how he stayed at his parents' house the night before, had cornflakes for breakfast etc…

Overall, The Man was reasonably pleased with our transfer activity - provided a future loan arrival brings in a defender or striker.

We didn't waste any big money, and clearly if we manage to stay up we'll be able to compete for signatures we were no-where near getting in January.

At present we can't compete with the likes of Stoke or Preston - laughable but true - but providing we are still a Championship side in the summer we will be able to.

On that score, I now rate our chances of staying up at 50/50. And if we failed to beat Leeds today - without Healy and Flo - I'll be even more pessimistic.

T What, in the name of Kevin Drinkell, is going on at West Ham? The Man's least favourite team really seem to be losing the plot.

Sixty grand a week for that Aussie full back who got his team knocked out of the World Cup! Seven million for Arsenal reject Matthew Upson! If there is any justice in this world they will go down.

Two years ago they were a play-off final defeat away from going bust - now they are supposedly the big men on campus. If only every club could stumble across a multi-millionaire, eh? The Man always watches in delight as the cameras pan in on the old Icelander in the stands as he shakes his head at another defeat. It's crying out for an advert with the slogan: “Carlsberg doesn't do mugs; but if it did… it would be Eggert Magnusson.”

He's like a Scandinavian tourist who got on the wrong tube and ended up in the East End, with his wallet and mobile phone dangling out of his bum-bag. Just what is that peculiar little fellow up to? It really seems a curious way to spend your final days, throwing millions of pounds at a club whose fickle supporters were singing on Tuesday: "We want OUR money back."

Sadly, The Man thinks they will get out of trouble, but there is a serious side to their antics.

When someone like West Ham comes along and starts banding irrational transfer fees about, it jacks the whole market up. Suddenly anyone who is half decent is worth double their real value.

For the good of football Magnusson needs to lose an absolute fortune at West Ham - and be unsuccessful - so the next time a foreign businessman wants to come along and corrupt the status quo he'll think twice.

On a separate note, where is Upson from? East Suffolk. Who did he support as a boy? Norwich City. Still, no decent young players in our catchment area are there…

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