City love affair is turning sour

Kathy Blake, NCISA “What exactly is the attraction of all this sports stuff, then?” my female friends often ask me. “It's a blokes' thing, isn't it?”

Kathy Blake, NCISA

“What exactly is the attraction of all this sports stuff, then?” my female friends often ask me. “It's a blokes' thing, isn't it?”

Well, until a year or so ago, I used to pity them.

Fancy going through life without experiencing the gut-wrenching nervousness of the last five minutes at Molineux in the play-off semi final; the exhilaration of Steve Bruce's late winner in the Milk Cup semi-final against those who shall not be named; or holding back the tears as Dave Watson lifted the trophy at Wembley in the final.

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And that's just a small selection of what we've enjoyed over the years.

But this week I have envied my friends their blissful ignorance.

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Not for them the misery surrounding last weekend's sporting events; not for them the despair of being a fan of a club outside the Premiership at the moment; and not for them the prospect of being a fan of a football club with seemingly no future.

In the space of just five days I have watched England as good as blow their chances of appearing in Euro 2008 (what a black-hole that will leave next summer), the England rugby team lose the World Cup final, and Lewis Hamilton botch his chances of winning the Formula One title.

But I can cope with that.

What is far more harrowing is what is happening nearer to home at my beloved football club. “Something inside has died and I just can't hide and I just can't fake it.”

So said Carol King (although probably not of Norwich City).

However, the words describe exactly how I am feeing at the moment.

Gone for me is the buzz of a match Saturday; gone for me is the dash for the local paper to read the back page.

Gone for me is proudly displaying my Norwich City colours whenever I'm far away from Norfolk.

I can't remember when the symptoms of this malaise first appeared.

I suspect it may have been when Robert Chase began to dismantle our only real chance of ever competing at the very top level.

I remember driving to work on a cloud of euphoria the morning after we beat Bayern Munich in the Olympic Stadium, but with the nagging doubt that it may never get that good again.

Alas, it seems I was right.

That feeling reappeared briefly during the promotion season but the recuperation was short-lived and I started deteriorating fast.

My football club seems to be heading in a downwards spiral towards oblivion and I can't do a thing about it.

And I am afraid that I have got to the stage where I am questioning whether those who run my club are the right people for the job.

I am sure they are nice people and mean well but I have to say that based on their track record I haven't a huge amount of confidence in their ability to make the right choices and decisions.

They have been entrusted with the stewardship of, and are the custodians of, a great institution, and they must remember that.

It's all very well saying football is a business and should be run as such, but quite simply it isn't.

With a normal business, if the customer is not satisfied he goes elsewhere.

That is not an option for football fans. We are here for life.

This is a crucial week in the history of Norwich City, and the very future of the football club may well depend on the choices that are made.

My message to the board members is that they have a lot of people's hopes and dreams in their hands this week.

I hope they get it right, otherwise my ailment could prove to be terminal.

t NCISA would like to thank all the fans who have taken the trouble to respond to our appeal for views on the state of the football club. Your opinions are very important to us and your emails are much appreciated.

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