A coward coined my daughter

Over the last couple of seasons my eleven year old daughter Gemma and I have travelled away with the Capital Canaries to see Norwich City play with real hope.

A hope that our team will be organised, committed and play with a passion for the shirt. We hope City will win, but appreciate that even in a trophy winning season we may only be victorious in half our games away from Carrow Road. It’s tough to win away. The away support is out-numbered, it may well have been a long journey to an unfamiliar ground and we also hope that the ref is not a homer.

I travel away with only one expectation, for us to come back safely back to Kenton, North West London after hopefully an enjoyable day out.

On Tuesday evening we travelled away to Millwall. As per usual for our South London games we met at a watering hole around London Bridge, stopped for a quick drink and headed for the station to catch the train to South Bermondsey. All low key of course, no colours as we mingled in with the rush-hour commuters.

This was Gemma’s second visit to the New Den, her first being last season. Some of her memories of the 1-2 loss were the appalling behaviour during the game of the Millwall supporters and their families in the stands to our left, the droning “Durrrrrrr” song of the home fans and the awful run down area that the ground is located in.

As we watched the warm up Gemma and I were surprised by the quality of the shooting. Top corner, bottom corner, some curled with finesse or just powered in. It was probably the best warm up shooting of the season but often the quality of the shooting in the warm up is inversely proportional to the ability to hit the target in the game; not today though.

In the first half City started nervously, struggling to impose in midfield. We had a decent chance and played well for a quarter of an hour, then were pegged back as Millwall strived for the opening goal. We were happy to get to half time level as Millwall had missed a couple of decent chances to take the lead.

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In the second half City were much better and took the lead with a goal straight from the warm up as David Fox powered in a shot from the edge of the box. We could well have held out but were mugged three and a half minutes into time added on and had to settle for a draw. It would be churlish to get too upset as City have done this to so many teams over the last year or so and the most positive thing I could say about it was we know how the opposition fans have felt this season.

Unlike last season we were not held back in the ground for thirty minutes and allowed to go straight to South Bermondsey station to catch the train back to London Bridge. For those that know the route back, there is a walkway from the away end to very near the entrance to the station and it’s only the last few yards that the rival fans are together.

We were held by the police as the platforms were getting crowded and waited near the entrance to the station. We heard a very poor version of “I can drive a Tractor” from the locals which was the first song we had heard from the home fans all evening apart from “Durrrrrrr”. Perhaps their silence during the majority of the 90 minutes was because some of the Millwall fans had forgotten the words to “Durrrrrrr” A token response of a couple of “Y’Army” shouts a few seconds later was the reply.

The next thing I heard was a squeal and Gemma was holding her head. A few seconds later she was sobbing and after a pal confirmed that he felt a small object flick past his shoulder it was obvious that the missile was a coin and which set of fans it has come from. The local police were very understanding, offered us an ambulance which was declined (but with thanks) and we made our way up the stairs and got the train home after having given our details to them.

Gemma appeared more shocked than hurt and confused as to why anyone in their right mind would throw a coin into a crowd of people waiting for a train. I was concerned as to her welfare but my concern soon turned to anger as to what the worst consequence of this action might have been. (My brother’s niece has lost most of the sight in one eye after being hit by a small object thrown into a group of teenagers).

And as the reasons why the coin was thrown by this lowlife? A shout of “Y’Army” may have prompted this cowardly act or it may have been aimed at the policemen who were only a few feet away from us. Who knows what went through the tiny mind of this individual?

I’ll end up referring to the second paragraph of this article about my only expectation when travelling away. That we get back safely. Is that not too much to ask for in this day and age?