Believe in what your eyes are telling you

RICK WAGHORN I'm not going to stir the whole 'citizen journalist' versus 'professional journalist' pot again - as interesting and as pertinent as that whole debate may be to the current climate engulfing Norwich City Football Club.


I'm not going to stir the whole 'citizen journalist' versus 'professional journalist' pot again - as interesting and as pertinent as that whole debate may be to the current climate engulfing Norwich City Football Club.

But as it is clearly impossible to accommodate each and every Canary fan the world over into Nigel Worthington's pre-match Press conference or likewise find room for you all in the canteen at City's training HQ where we get the chance to meet and mingle with the players, we are clearly going to have to find a happy (well, happy-ish) medium in between.

I'm not trying to be patronising - but if you all wish to add that to the lengthy list of charges currently being laid against me, then, fine. Whatever.

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All I'm trying to do today is to make you better 'citizen journalists'; to add one or two tricks of my professional armoury to give you a better depth and understanding to your own many and varied debates.

None of this is rocket science and each and every one of you can do it. And it's simple stuff. But in the current fevered climate of claim and counter-claim, it may yet help you make up your own mind as to which way the wind is blowing.

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This way you don't have to believe me - or anyone else for that matter. You can make up your own mind safe in the sure and certain knowledge that you have sound and undeniable evidence on your side.

Because you are quite right - you shouldn't believe everything you read. Nor, in this world of ours today, should you believe everything that people say. Particularly not when it comes to football.

What you have to believe in - and hang on to - is the evidence of your own eyes. In many instances, the truth is there - right in front of your face.

Look at body language. And trust what your natural instincts tell you.

This, of course, all comes too late for today's home clash against Derby, but it might at least be fresh in the memory. Because for me, the biggest give-aways as to the state of a player's feelings comes at the moment of highest emotion - that's when their guard is down, that's when you get the biggest, public insight into what they're thinking.

Hard as it might be in the heat of celebration, try to detach yourself - act 'professional' if you like - and watch who is congratulating whom, how many of the players' are in the bundle, who appears detached or disinterested and, above all, the depth of the emotion they are displaying.

The same is true of another 'high' emotional point - the final whistle. But goals are the real give-aways.

Let's take Tuesday night as an example. Darren Huckerby's first goal. Once his first celebration was over and he headed back to the touchline, he and Worthington went through a quick, 'low-five' routine as Huckerby headed back to the dug-outs for a quick slurp of water.

It might have been a tiny moment. And many, many of you might have missed it. And from my vantage point in the Press box I can't even claim to have seen the look that passed between the pair's faces. For that, you'll have to ask the 'citizen journalists' gathered behind the dug-out.

But for me, as a professional journalist, it still spoke volumes. It tells me that there is a connection between the two. Now work out, in the current debate, where that one passing moment, that little bit of mutual body language might lead you.

Apply some logic. If Huckerby still rates and respects Worthington, what is his opinion likely to be of the treatment meted out to him of late?

This is not me spinning a 'line'; this is me, telling you, to use your own eyes and work it out for yourself - free from any club 'spin', any Evening News 'spin', any EDP 'spin'. Make your own mind up.

If you see a connection there, what does that mean? If, for example, the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association decide next month that the best way forward for this football club is to get rid of Worthington, where - on the evidence of your own eyes - would that leave Huckerby's feelings? Are you - not me - seeing any real evidence of a fracturing relationship between the manager and his players? And, in Huckerby's case, a fracturing relationship between the under-fire manager and one of the biggest and most influential players at this football club?

Rob Earnshaw's gymnastics at the end - and the players that rushed to follow the little tumbling man as he headed for the corner flag - what did that tell you? Did you seen any evidence there of a downbeat, downcast dressing room wholly at odds with the manager's recent transfer policy? Not me, you. What do you see?

Think back to the Hull game; think again about the way the players' celebrated at the end. What did that tell you? Use your own eyes; trust your own instincts. For me, I saw real emotion in the players' celebration; players that cared, really cared. Pumped up, fist clenching, from-the-heart stuff - led by Gary Doherty and Andy Hughes. It meant something to them.

Here's another big one; another one that goes right to the very heart of the dark malaise besetting this football club. When Robert Green threw his shirt into the crowd post-Watford, what did your own eyes tell you? Not what Green said afterwards, what did your eyes tell you the instant he did it? Again, trust your first instincts.

For me, it screamed: 'Farewell!' as City's England World Cup hopeful swallowed the lines his agent was spinning. Just as last Tuesday night's performance against Brighton screamed: 'Right, I'm here now - only way I'm getting to Germany from a life in the Championship is by playing well…' Look at it another way and broaden out the context that your own eyes give you - did Robert Green against Brighton look like the Robert Green that played against West Ham United, deep in the midst of the January transfer window?

That's the point. We can't all be professional journalists. If you haven't already noticed, there are going to be up to 17 less of them in this particular building come the summer. But what you can all do is become better 'citizen journalists'. Trust the evidence of your own eyes; look for the clues in people's body language; not always what they're saying, but how they're saying it. Read between the lines; watch for moments of emotion. Don't listen to what you're being told; make your own mind up.

And, armed with your very own body of evidence, then decide where the future of this football club lies.

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