All stand for Tamworth

Last Sunday afternoon around 3.15pm I was sitting on the sofa with my daughter Gemma waiting for the FA Cup draw to start. We always try to watch the cup draws together in the vain hope that it will bring some good fortune to Norwich and a decent game for us to go to.

Last Sunday afternoon around 3.15pm I was sitting on the sofa with my daughter Gemma waiting for the FA Cup draw to start. We always try to watch the cup draws together in the vain hope that it will bring some good fortune to Norwich and a decent game for us to go to. Gemma already knew that I wanted Norwich to be drawn away at Arsenal. It would be new ground for us to go to, and an easy journey as well, with the added bonus that the tie would also net Norwich some much needed cash. Gemma's choice was to play Manchester City at home as Sofia, her best friend at school is a Manchester City Fan. Gemma's plan was for us all to go the game together on the train from London.

Another thing that Gemma and I do when watching the cup draw is say whether we would like to play the home team that is drawn out. Barnet, who were pulled out of the hat early in the draw received resounding shouts of “Yes!” as did Reading and Manchester United. Even louder shouts of “No!” were heard when Mansfield and Leicester's numbers came up. Predictably, the loudest “No!” was reserved for Wolves when we saw that they had a home tie.

Norwich missed out on Manchester City, much to Gemma's disappointment, but the next team out after Manchester City were drawn away at Sheffield Wednesday was Tamworth. There was no “Yes” or “No”, as at the time I did not mind if we played them or not. As Gemma did know who Tamworth were, she kept quiet as well. Amir Khan pulled out ball number 27 and we heard “And Tamworth will play”, then a pause, “Norwich City”.

“Who are Tamworth?” was Gemma's first question. I explained that Tamworth were a smaller club a few divisions lower than Norwich. If we went to the game it would be a “Standing up game”. When we go to watch Norwich away, games to Gemma, are either classified as a sitting down game, where we sit down to watch, or a standing up game where we have a seat but stand up to watch the game. “But Gemma”, I explained, “this will be a standing up game with no seats”.


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Gemma's reaction to this statement was one that will live with me for a very long time. She looked shocked, realising that there would be nowhere to sit down to watch the game. “Daddy, that's really silly. Most people want to sit down to watch football”. It was eminently sensible comment from an eight-year-old girl who has always had a seat so sit down in at a game and never stood on the terraces to see Norwich play.

In the Championship, all grounds bar Colchester and Cardiff are now all seater, but with both clubs considering moving to new grounds, there will not be many more chances for Gemma to watch Norwich from the terraces. I would like her to have the chance to experience what it was like to watch football when I started going all those years ago, so an FA Cup away day at Tamworth would be an ideal opportunity to understand how different the atmosphere was when we all stood up.

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All I need to do now is get hold of a pair of tickets for the game.

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