Cave Idus Martiis

That's wot we need in this column. Erudition and classical learning. Cave Idus Martiis is Latin. It is usually translated as 'Beware the Ides (days) of March'.

By HAMILTON NEMO

That's wot we need in this column. Erudition and classical learning. Cave Idus Martiis is Latin. It is usually translated as “Beware the Ides (days) of March”. The phrase was made famous by Shakespeare, who used it in his play “Julius Caesar”. Millions of British schoolchildren who were forced to read the play at school can tell you that a soothsayer (fortune teller) warned Roman Emperor Julius Caesar to beware of the 15th March since he would be in grave danger on that day. When he woke hale and hearty on the appointed day Caesar is supposed to have remarked triumphantly to the soothsayer “The day has come” meaning “I'm all right Jack”. “Yes” replied the soothsayer “but the day is not over yet”. Both were correct, but the soothsayer was more correct. Julius Caesar was stabbed to death later that day by a gang of 62 assassins.

But I am not Julius Caesar, and personally I rather like the month of March. My birthday falls in that month, as does International Women's Day. March is the month when daffodils bloom, the clocks go forward and British Summer time officially begins. Sometimes Easter falls in March and we get holidays from work or school as well as Hot Cross buns and Easter eggs. So March is an OK month, OK?

In January and February this year, during which time the Canaries had a series of 9 relatively easy games against Exeter, Brentford, Hartlepool and Southend (all at home) and Wycombe, Colchester, Walsall, Brighton and Oldham (all away) all of which were won, most Norwich fans were looking forward to the month of March with the same lack of enthusiasm which Bernard Matthews' Norfolk turkeys show before Christmas, or Caesar for the Ides of March. During the January/February period we had won 9 games against lesser teams, but had been beaten by two of League One's better teams; Millwall (away) and Southampton (at home).


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We expected to get something out of our home match with Yeovil, but many fans feared the worst from a March fixture list which included tough games away at Huddersfield and Swindon, and home to mighty Leeds. All these were top six teams. Did this mean that the Canaries would be knocked off their lofty perch by the end of the month? As it happened we duly and comfortably beat Yeovil at home, and played superbly well at Huddersfield to become the first team to win there this season. We led at Swindon until deep into injury time, and came away with a most credible point. And when Leeds came to Carrow Road, where the gods assume human form for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon and don the Yellow and Green, it was the White Rose that wilted, and the rampant Canaries and their fans who were crowing at the end of the game. So who needs to beware the Ides of March? Not me, and not the undefeated in that month Canaries nor their fans!

Continuing with the calendar theme, April opened with April Fool's Day on the first day of the month. Fortunately we had no game that day, so the chances of our defenders making Fools of themselves were nil. 1 April was also Maundy Thursday, but again our defenders had no opportunity to give gifts to their opponents. The second day was Good Friday, the saddest day in the Christian calendar, since it was on that day that Christ was crucified. This was also the day when our away game at Tranmere was shown live on Sky TV. Good Friday was not a good Friday for Norwich City, and largely thanks to an incompetent referee it was one of the saddest days in our season so far as we lost 3-1 in controversial circumstances.

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April is named after the Latin word “aperire”, meaning to open, for this is the month when plants bloom and flowers begin to open. So, after a rare Saturday at home with their families, our players, having not harvested any points at Tranmere, were able to devote Sunday (Daffodil day) to collecting those lovely yellow and green flowers. Easter Sunday was a holy day, and after church City fans could gorge themselves on Easter eggs and Hot Cross buns. Easter Monday is the happiest day in the Christian calendar, for it is on that day that Christ was resurrected. It was certainly a happy day for City and their fans, as we beat Stockport 2-1 at Fortress Carrow Road. 8th April is the Buddha's birthday, and was celebrated by all City fans of that persuasion.

On 10 April we play MK Dons at home, and on 13 April the Canaries travel to Leyton Orient. This could be the match in which we clinch promotion. Older readers will recall a similar occasion at Orient in 1972. Perhaps on this occasion City fans could kindly not remove the penalty spot as a souvenir? According to legend, 14th April is St Tibertius Day, the day when the cuckoos begin to sing. The Canaries of course are quite chirpy this year, and have already been singing for some time.

If by any chance we do not clinch promotion at Orient we have a second chance to do so at Charlton on 17 April. That would be only poetic justice after the abject surrender at the Valley on the final day of last season under the previous management. And whatever happens at Brisbane Road or the Valley, we return to the floral theme on 19th April, which is Primrose Day.

I like Primroses. They are yellow flowers with a green foliage... 21 April is Her Majesty the Queen's actual birthday, and the patriotic theme continues on 23rd of the month which is St George's Day, as well as Shakespeare's supposed birthday (and death day). There is some doubt about the actual date of his birth, but not about the date of his death. One hopes he had time to open his cards and pressies, had a good birthday party before dying, and that he died with a happy smile on his face and a bellyful of cakes and ale. But I digress. Because on 24 April City are at home to Gillingham for our penultimate home game of the season.

So April might well prove to be as eventful a month as March. Let us hope the results and the haul of points gained are just as satisfactory, from a Norwich perspective. For May is but a short month in terms of football to be played. On the first of the month City play at Bristol Rovers. I am sure it will be the Pirates who are left crying “Mayday, Mayday” as they remain marooned in League One. Our final game of the season is on 8 May, when we are at home to Carlisle. Let us hope that it is one big celebration party, and that we party long into the night.

I have heard that there are some football matches in South Africa during the month of June. But Norwich are not playing, so I shall not be watching. I shall spend the summer sitting on a beach, saving my pennies, and reliving the glories of the 2009-10 season. According to the Championship fixture list, the new season begins in August....... Bring on the Ipswich!

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