David Hannant: City’s positive Covid test brought out the worst in some fans
- Credit: Norwich City FC
Please accept this as a warning in advance - this column will resemble something of a rant.
Ever since the football was curtailed at the very start of the pandemic all the talk has been about how to safely resume Premier League football.
The debate has been long, it has been tiresome and it has taken so many detours through rumour, speculation and just foolery.
On Saturday, the league made the announcement that there had been two positive tests in the latest round of testing.
Rather swiftly Norwich City announced that one of those tests came from a surprised Canary.
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Obviously, like any Norwich fan my first thought was that of worry and concern for one of my own and his family.
However, morbid curiosity, like it often does, saw me curtail my plans to go to sleep and I made the often ill-advised decision to pop over the Twitter and see how the wasteland that is social media was reacting to the news. I’m not sure why I did it.
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Of course there were several comments along the same line of thoughts of my own - Twitter can be an echo chamber sometimes and there were plenty of fellow City fans sending well wishes.
And then there were the rest.
Fortunately we now know that the player in question has given a negative reading on a retest and was asymptomatic, but let’s not forget we did not know this at the time - all we knew was that a Norwich City player had tested positive for a life-threatening virus that has already torn millions of loved-ones away from their families worldwide.
So what were the themes that swished around the mirky waters of social media?
First, there were the conspiracy theorists. Those saying things like ‘Norwich, what a shock’ and ‘imagine my surprise’.
I honestly don’t know where to begin with the sheer ignorance and idiocy here.
One idiotic theory is that as Norwich is a relegation threatened club it would fake a test to try and get the season curtailed. What nonsense.
Why on earth, when a precedent has been set by other leagues of points per game, would a team want to deny itself the chance to change its fortunes on the pitch?
It’s such a massive lack of respect to the club to suggest that it would try and make excuses and exploit a deadly illness which, again, has torn loved-ones from their families in their millions, to make financial or footballing gain. Give over.
And then came another example of how, apparently, Norwich City does not matter.
In so many quarters we were hit with a wave of concern for Tottenham Hotspur, who City had played but 24 hours earlier.
The only people who I accept this rhetoric from is fans of Tottenham Hotspur - of course I understand their concern, roles reversed I would have been thinking the same (albeit while also showing concern for Spurs).
But it wasn’t just Spurs fans that decided the narrative was that a player who played against Spurs had tested positive.
It’s beyond frustrating to see our club undermined in such a massive way. Some folk were even discussing the fact that Spurs play Manchester United on Friday, so poor old Manchester United.
The result brought out the worst in football fans, when it really should have brought out compassion and respect.
Can City survive?
This is a real head versus heart moment.
Can City survive? Yes, of course they can.
However, I don’t really feel I can say with 100pc faith that they will.
Even with nine games to play, six points is quite the gap to close and so many times we have seen City play well and not get just rewards.
My heart says we will do it, my head says it’s sadly that little bit too far to reach.
Who will be relegated?
It’s difficult to look past the bottom two of City and Aston Villa to begin with.
The third is a bit of a tougher one to figure out, but taking into account run-ins I can see Brighton being the third to make the drop.
While the title will be long sewed up by the time they face the big boys, Champions League football will still be up for grabs, so they won’t be catching anyone on the beach.
Who is the most important player/person for City for the rest of the season?
While Emi Buendia hitting his stride creatively is clearly a major factor, as we have seen already he can be in his most creative mood, but without the chances he makes being converted, he’s pointless.
Therefore, City desperately need Teemu Pukki to have his eye in and find the predatory instinct he had at the start of the season and all last term.
If his toe is healed and he is back to his best, Pukki will clearly be the most important player on the pitch - goals will determine what league we play in next season and he is the man we look to for them - so no one is more important.