Despite all the conflicting debates dominating the Norwich City discourse this season, there seems to be a pervasively accepted notion that fans have somehow lost interest in the fortunes of Dean Smith’s high-flying Championship side.

Subjects including the City boss’ style of play, boredom at the relentless yo-yo cycle and the often-miserable Premier League reward for promotion have been frequent topics of conversation as supporters search for the reasons for the undeniable absence of atmosphere at Carrow Road.

But with a bumper month of fixtures coming up and away game ticket sales still rocketing, is this ostensible intensification of apathy among fans an accurate assertion?

As a season ticket holder, there is no disputing the fact that the atmosphere at home games this season has been a far cry from the joy and jubilation that characterised City’s thrilling promotion season in 2018/19.

It seems a long time ago but owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, that was the last time we were present for a sustained season of success at Championship level.

Results this campaign have been similar – and been delivered considerably earlier on than four years ago – but a series of scrappy performances, in conjunction with a perhaps undesirable familiarity with the current state of play, have without doubt contributed to a less enthusiastic environment at Carrow Road.

Much has been said about ways to improve City’s home atmosphere but realistically, the only viable way of doing so is for a continuation of positive results to be injected with a newfound flamboyance, flair and tempo in performances on a week-to-week basis.

Listening to Smith, that is clearly the ambition and while City have shown glimpses of a more fluid, cohesive style of play in patches during our current seven-game unbeaten run, these displays need to be delivered on a far more consistent basis to fully capture the imagination of fans far and wide.

The idea that supporters, in particular the most loyal fans who travel home and away each week, somehow do not care and have developed an irrevocable level of apathy towards the club’s fortunes, however, is still without any significant evidence whatsoever.

The Pink Un: Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare are trying to improve City's style of play.Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare are trying to improve City's style of play. (Image: (C)Focus Images Limited +44 7813 022858)

Despite the deflated atmospheres for home games against Coventry and Bristol City, City’s more dedicated away following is still firing on all cylinders, with almost 2,000 loyal supporters defying the widespread train strikes to descend on the north-west for Saturday’s hotly-anticipated clash against Blackpool.

That game kicks off a jam-packed month of activity for City and with tickets flying off the shelves for the Reading away game on Tuesday night, the Saturday night trip to Watford and our heavyweight clash with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, enthusiasm for following Smith’s side still looks as strong as ever.

Granted, many fans – including myself – are acutely aware that an away game constitutes so much more than merely 90 minutes of football, providing an opportunity to spend a fun day out with friends, visit new grounds and indulge in some of the pleasures various, and sometimes more obscure, UK towns and cities have to offer.

But the overarching and fundamental reason we travel is simple – to steadfastly support our team regardless of footballing identity, grievances with a manager or any other reason that may allegedly inhibit interest.

Away end atmospheres at both Birmingham – 1,600 fans – and Sunderland – over 1,000 despite the ludicrous, television-inflicted 12:30pm kick-off time – have been red-hot and with even more fans making the admirable 10-hour round trip to Lancashire tomorrow, interest and enthusiasm towards Smith’s still-divisive side remains sky-high.

Of course, performances need to improve to get all fans – most notably at Carrow Road – fully on board but for all the comments I’ve seen about not caring, apathy and mounting misery in recent weeks, the tangible facts around ticket sales, and the subsequent atmosphere among those fans who follow their club across all corners of the country, show that the true spirit of our fanbase has not been – and will never be – broken.

Tomorrow’s clash kicks off a massive month for City and with those devoted travelling fans set to deliver another rousing display from the seaside terraces, Smith’s side have every chance of grabbing a seventh win in eight and continuing the Championship momentum.