Paddy Davitt verdict: Never ignore the noise again
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited
Ignore the noise unless it is the most beautiful sound of a joyous outpouring of collective pride and passion in Norwich City.
Carrow Road was a picture again. Full to the seams and a riot of colour, volume and flaming pyrotechnics.
Welcome back. Welcome back to the Premier League and the shared pursuit of renewing your vows with the Canaries, for those fortunate to be inside their spiritual football home.
So many conflicting emotions. Sadness and pain remembering those who did not return. Happiness and delirium for others able to renew old acquaintances, to indulge in those well worn pre-match routines. The walk to the stadium, the pint, the collective sense of anticipation.
Last season was a triumph. A record breaker. But it will forever be the lost campaign for those same fans who were present to watch Liverpool’s superstars yet denied a chance to follow another Championship title under Daniel Farke from inside the ropes.
That is why an opening night 3-0 defeat did not sting. That is why the errors punished ruthlessly by Liverpool will not be subject to forensic scrutiny. That is to come. Farke himself, when pushed afterwards, felt the time to judge his methods and the performance of his evolving squad is after the first international break next month.
Until then it is a quest to make up the missing pre-season weeks, due to the enduring impact of the pandemic, set against the backdrop of facing some of the best in the world.
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When Grant Hanley emerges to a cacophony of noise to lead by example it is so easy to dismiss this was a player without a single pre-season minute of action to his name, facing Mo Salah, Jota and Sadio Mane. With Roberto Firmino joining the party in the second half.
'Bumpy' is a word that underplays the hand Norwich have been dealt.
But there will no excuses this time around. Farke has already erased the word ‘miracle’ from the lexicon. Norwich have the personnel to compete.
There was ample evidence of that for the first hour before Liverpool struck twice in quick succession, and the energy and adrenaline visibly drained from the Canaries.
Milot Rashica will cause any full back problems with his pace and directness. What he needs is weeks on the training field and minutes on the pitch to forge that understanding with the likes of Teemu Pukki. He should already be on the same wavelength as former Werder team mate, Josh Sargent, who showed enough in a late cameo three days after his arrival to suggest he could be firmly in Farke’s thoughts for this weekend’s epic test at Manchester City.
Billy Gilmour was less of an unknown commodity before he was papped at Colney, ahead of his season long loan move. But the youngster will still need time to complete his transition from the shadows at parent club Chelsea to the full glare of a leading role in a Norwich midfield clearly short of the combative presence filled by Olly Skipp last season.
Much work has been done in a transfer window unlike any other at Norwich City. There is still business to complete to furnish Farke with the resource he requires to be residually competitive.
It is not about an hour against Liverpool in a febrile atmosphere, where all that pent up frustration and excitement from the past 18 months burst open and swept away any inside Carrow Road. Including Jurgen Klopp and Farke.
For things to be different this time around it will be the match ups with those outside the elite, when the glamour and the stardust is less dazzling for Norwich’s players and fans to contend with but the quest for wins becomes even more precious.
City failed dismally in that regard two seasons ago. But it is pointless looking back. What unfolded at Carrow Road on Saturday evening marked a watershed; not just in football but one hopes with some semblance of normality in our daily lives.
Those lost memories, those shared experiences denied City fans from the past 18 months will never be replaced. That is why it was heartening to hear Farke so bullish in the wake of a deserved win for the Reds.
He is even more convinced Norwich have the capacity to strive for more than making up the numbers, and a cyclical return to the Football League. He also pledged those returning supporters, and his team, will create beautiful moments in the weeks and months to come.
If they do it will struggle to eclipse the scenes in the minutes prior to kick-off, culminating in a throaty rendition of 'On The Ball'. That was 18 months in the making, and it was a spine tingling realisation of what we have lived through and never wish to live through again.
Football is life. It can take you to the darkest valleys and the mountaintops.
But it was so good to hear the beating heart of Carrow Road again. Vibrant, joyous and expectant.