Chris Goreham: Why City and the latest smartphones have a lot in common
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
You know the season’s home straight is in sight when teams have to start worrying about the sun being in the goalkeeper’s eyes when they are defending the Barclay end of Carrow Road.
Football has seen a lot of changes over the years but no-one has come up with a better solution than giving the goalkeeper a baseball cap when the sun begins to drop behind the River End.
The presence of a hat on the head of Bristol City’s Frank Fielding during the first half of Saturday’s game coupled with fans not needing a winter coat to cover their bright yellow replica shirts and the pleasantly warm weather only added to the feeling that all of Norwich City’s matches between now and the end of the season will have plenty riding on them.
The mild conditions came as a big relief to those of us on the gantry because, and standby for the dictionary definition of a first world problem here, it meant that I didn’t have to worry about the battery dying on my mobile phone.
I am aware that it sounds hugely trivial during the heat of a promotion push but the smartphone has become an important piece of broadcasting equipment on match days.
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During the game I use mine as a stopwatch and also to receive news of goals from other matches in order to track the progress of Leeds United and the rest of The Championship’s chasing pack.
Clubs also announce their starting line-ups on social media so without access to all of that, commentating on the Canaries would be much more difficult.
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The phone based fun doesn’t end at full-time. All of the post-match interviews are now recorded straight onto our phones and sent back to the studio by the wonders of modern technology, it’s the sort of thing that makes me say a wistful ‘what will they think of next?’ to myself on a weekly basis and a huge relief that the big heavy tape recorders that were a requirement when I first started working in radio have been superseded.
However, smartphone devotees will know that one of the design faults is that these fancy devices don’t like the cold weather.
Nothing drains your battery like a freezing afternoon in the cold at Carrow Road and some of the most dramatic moments of my season so far have been watching the battery indicator in the top corner of the screen rapidly emptying while Daniel Farke is in full flow.
Wondering whether there will be enough juice to last until the end of the interview is almost as tense as wondering whether the Canaries will hold on to a slender 3-2 lead against a Bristol City side with a three-month unbeaten league run behind them.
Conspiracy theorists think that phone manufacturers include dodgy batteries and other forms of built in obsolescence in a bid to force users to upgrade to a more expensive device after a couple of years.
Downloading the constant software updates has reminded me of watching Norwich City this season.
Every time one of the key components of the team has crashed, Daniel Farke has busily set about trying to find an effective fix.
When Grant Hanley got injured in September Christoph Zimmermann emerged from the shadows.
When Timm Klose started to struggle for fitness around Christmas time we discovered that Farke had been busily assembling Ben Godfrey in his workshop to fill that defensive hole.
When Moritz Leitner broke down he had Vrancic 2.0, an upgrade on what we saw last season, ready to download and when his battery began to fail suddenly Kenny McLean was ready to patch up the latest midfield problem and score a couple of vital goals against Bristol City.
Goodness knows how Farke is going to handle it when everyone is fit and his operating system is fully up and running but at least it should be warm enough by then for my phone battery to easily last long enough to be able to ask him and record the answer.
• ON HIS JACK
One of the great things about Norwich City is that nearly all of the players who have pulled on that famous yellow and green shirt over the years have such fond memories of the club.
I am sure there are some exceptions but until an opportunity arises to speak to Michael Theoklitos I am happy to push on with the impression that Norfolk casts a spell on everybody.
We have expanded our squad of co-commentators at BBC Radio Norfolk in recent seasons and used geography to our advantage by trying to book former players who live elsewhere in the country and nearer to away grounds than us.
It’s striking how when they are first approached they all speak about Norwich City in such glowing terms.
My theory was backed up again last week when I donned my deerstalker, picked up my magnifying glass and set about trying to track down the former Norwich striker Ross Jack.
The reality in 2019 is that I actually typed his name into Google and quickly found him on social media but he replied to my out-of-the-blue message to ask him for an interview very quickly.
So, with the BBC Radio Norfolk bill payer’s permission, we phoned Scotland to ask Ross about being the last player to score in six successive Norwich City games before Teemu Pukki pulled off the same feat recently.
He quickly recalled his team mates from the time and how it felt to have a patch that was as purple as Pukki’s back in September 1981.
He went on to leave the club in 1983 but the 36 years worth of water that had gone under Carrow Bridge in the meantime hadn’t dampened the enthusiasm with which he was able to talk about the Canaries.
The fact that City’s Finnish striker failed to find the net on Saturday means that Ross Jack’s record of scoring in eight games in a row remains intact for now but it may hearten you to know that Norwich were ultimately promoted that season.