Like death by a thousand cuts

PUBLISHED: 14:58 08 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:07 10 September 2010

“JUST when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.”

A line from the Godfather (part three), as gangster Michael Corleone laments not being able to leave his old lifestyle behind.

“JUST when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.”

A line from the Godfather (part three), as gangster Michael Corleone laments not being able to leave his old lifestyle behind. The quote pretty much sums up The Man's emotions after Norwich battled to a 1-0 win over QPR during the week.

Ahead of the game at Loftus Road I had given up on us staying in the Championship.

After defeat at home to Coventry, The Man had decided to throw in the emotional towel. I thought I was out.

In a mathematical sense it was quite irrational for me to do so; but in terms of my warped supporter's logic - it was part of a bigger defence mechanism to prevent further unnecessary pain.

The rationale being, the sooner I accepted relegation, the less it would hurt at the end of the season.

Crudely, it's just about starting the grieving process early; thereby not getting caught out like those mugs on the last day of the season who burst into tears when the reality of their club's situation finally hits them. Better to take the hit now, than taking a bigger one later.

Therefore, The Man had closed down his senses, not even allowing himself to speculate about how we might force our way back into survival contention. We were down, I told work colleagues, friends and family. No, I'm not just saying it, this time we really are down. I repeated it to myself.

The Man was doing quite well too; but then along game Tuesday night…and the scumbags provided the most dangerous emotion of all for football fans: hope. They pulled me back in. Please God keep it going lads. OTBC.

ALMOST 17,000 fans have already signed up for season tickets, the club revealed this week.

Or, given that thousands of supporters are automatically signed up unless they actively say no, thousands have “not unrenewed”, as one pal puts it. Given the context of our league position and the wider economy, it is an absurd amount.

The Man wonders what would have happened to this club if its fans had deserted it in similar numbers to Southampton or Palace, who have both seemingly lost about 10,000 supporters each since coming down with us in 2005. Does it even make a difference? Of course it does, it just doesn't feel like it.

I just hope that no-one within the powers-that-be at Carrow Road is deluded enough to think that this magnificent take up of season tickets is any sort of endorsement of their recent decision-making.

“Humbled” is how Neil Doncaster described the take-up of tickets, “embarrassed” could perhaps be a more appropriate description.

I DON'T know why, but it seems that it is games against QPR that leave The Man ruminating on the majesty of our club.

When we beat QPR at home last season to secure our Championship status, I looked around a resplendent yellow Carrow Road ahead of kick off and wondered how the hell we had come so close to League One. In the sunshine, it looked awesome.

Alas, we are in even more grave danger this season, but again I found myself at a QPR fixture in awe of our support, and general club spirit.

Maybe it is the stark contrast with the paucity of QPR's fans, and the ridiculous “richest club in the world” tag that they have bestowed upon themselves. Who knows?

But as our fans bounced out of Lotus Road on Tuesday even professional miserablists such as The Man couldn't help but feel a tinge of pride.

A joint effort between fans and players had helped us live to fight another day. Magnificent, uplifting stuff. I had forgotten how it felt.

In my heart I think the QPR win might just have been a stay of execution, but even it turns out to be so, it was a timely reminder of why we all love this football club.

Few teams in this division would have rallied behind their teams the way we did on Tuesday night, and as we try to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Barnsley and Blackpool to stay up, we should not overlook the part we can play.

THE Man has defended Mark Fotheringham in the past.

Not because I think he's a great footballer, but because I think his attitude helped keep us up last season.

But with his contract ticking down, it is pretty clear we have probably seen the last of him.

Good luck to the fellow, although I have to admit I did find it somewhat laughable that last summer he only wanted to sign a one-year-deal with us, rather than two years.

I'm sorry, but for a supposed club captain, that's just a non-starter for me. Where he ends up next season will be very interesting to observe. Maybe his own lofty opinion of himself won't quite be shared by managers elsewhere? We shall see. Good luck anyway Fozzy.

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