Dave Major: Camaraderie, free coffee and the Viking – the effect of a Norwich City shirt overseas
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In our latest Your Posts Norwich City supporter Dave Major talks about fan camaraderie – at home and overseas.
One of the great things about football is the community spirit it evolves.
Try as it might, television can’t bring you the camaraderie and community Carrow Road and other venues deliver. It’s as much about that pint in the Trafford or Kings Arms, the friendships born by years of season ticket neighbours and the conversations sparked by a shared mutual interest that bring us all together.
The same is true for international football. For those losing track of time, this was meant to have been the second part of an international break. All those footballers you see doing keepie uppies with toilet rolls on Twitter are surprisingly healthy given the number of injuries typical of this time in the calendar.
In these times of isolation my mind has wandered to my own travels, my own trips to football which were more about the experience than the football seen. Firstly, whilst away on my own international duty – that is, drinking beer in the great Square in Brussels during Euro 2000 – I got into football discussions with a group of Norwegians.
For the Canaries it was a time of great famine, lower mid-table Championship mediocrity. When it came to my big reveal, I rather felt that I’d have to explain who Norwich City were.
“Well of course I know Norwich City,” said one of them with an eagerness not seen at Carrow Road at the time. “You have Erik Fuglestad.”
The group were fans of Viking FK, the team Norwich both signed from and sold to Erik “the Viking”. Beers were shared, as were tears on the state of our respective national teams. Kevin Keegan’s England hadn’t quite fallen apart at that time, but it was clear to see they would.
Shared interests the world over. Another unrelated friend, also from Norway, will always ask after “the great Norwegian, Mr Tettey” whenever we speak.
More recently, last summer my family went to a wedding in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. My son one day went out in full Norwich City replica outfit – you can get away with that when you’re nine. As we went into one café, I was greeted like a long-lost friend. The reason – Nelson Olivera. The waiter was of course a big fan of AEK Athens, and wanted to understand a little more about their new signing. I’m not sure my views on his temperament quite translated, but a second free coffee was greatly appreciated.
It’s that social interaction, a level of lively banter with friends of another football tribe, that are so integral to why we love the game. For some of us slightly more socially awkward it’s a go-to topic at any social get-together.
‘Who do you support?’
That’s true the world over. Once we all get bored of comparing how many toilet rolls and cans of soup we’ve got hidden away in the garage, then we’ll all soon realise it’s a massive part of what we talked about, what brought us together, our shared passions.
When football does resume, we’ll treasure these moments created around the game even more than those on the pitch.
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