I woke up on Saturday with a feeling so foreign that it took a moment to identify it: I was excited to go to Carrow Road.

That was once my standard feeling on a match day, accompanied by the building excitement over the days leading up to the game. Since the return from lockdown the malaise has set in and going to football began to feel more like a chore, something I did because I’d always done it rather than for the fun of it.

Like all cliches, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is one for a reason: it’s absolutely spot on. Thanks to a combination of illness and work, I hadn’t made it to a home league game since Huddersfield in December and it was taking its toll – the only time I’ve had an absence of that length from Carrow Road was during the dark days of behind closed doors football, and it was an experience I had not wanted to repeat.

The reports coming from those at the ground during matchdays were hardly glowing. There was clearly still a great deal of discontent (head coaches don’t tend to make comments like David Wagner’s post-Cardiff words when things are going swimmingly), but for the first time in a long time it wasn’t putting me off.

Some time away reminded me of that simple fact I’d forgotten over the last few years: I actually enjoy going to football!

It sounds obvious, but there are times when we all forget that. When you’re standing at the bus stop after a midweek defeat, soaked to the bone, knowing you won’t get home until past midnight, it can be hard to keep that fact in mind.

When the football on the pitch doesn’t seem to match with the philosophy your club has been advocating for years, when the boos are ringing out, when the players look defeated, the knowledge that this is something we like doing is unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind.

Freshly armed with that knowledge I set out to Carrow Road determined to enjoy my day, regardless of the result.

I watched the warm-up with tracks from the 2018-19 pre-match playlist ringing in my ears, swiftly followed by a mashup of songs which have inspired Norwich chants, courtesy of the live DJ (a phrase that often strikes fear into the hearts of football fans, but a solid addition to the proceedings). When the players ran onto the pitch I felt that jolt of excitement, that sense of anticipation that I’d been missing for so long.

It took the half-time whistle for me to realise I wasn’t clock watching. So often have I been guilty of staring at the clock opposite my seat, counting down the minutes until I can go home – not really the behaviour of someone enjoying football.

Not this time. I’d been so busy joking with the lad who sits next to me, getting acquainted with new chants, and actually watching the game that the half had flown by.

The first words I spoke to my friend upon leaving the ground were: “I really, really enjoyed that.” I’ve seen plenty of home wins since lockdown lifted, but I can’t remember the last time I felt that energised after one.

In the real world, two months is no time at all, but it can feel like a lifetime in football. I only missed four home games – fewer than 20pc of the total matches played at Carrow Road – yet it seems to be the kick I needed to rejuvenate my relationship with Norwich.

Am I just being fickle, reacting to and going with the tide of improved results? Will it all go back to seeming like a huge task if the dull passages of play return?  I hope not. I hope this is the start of trips to Carrow Road being fun again.