Fans having the last laugh
Bring on the summer! That was the clear message from Norwich City supporters last night after yet another tense afternoon at Carrow Road. The Canaries beat Leicester 2-1 on Saturday to record their fifth straight home victory - but with promotion no longer a realistic possibility the main talking point afterwards was the atmosphere inside the ground, or rather the lack of it.
Bring on the summer! That was the clear message from Norwich City supporters last night after yet another tense afternoon at Carrow Road.
The Canaries beat Leicester 2-1 on Saturday to record their fifth straight home victory - but with promotion no longer a realistic possibility the main talking point afterwards was the atmosphere inside the ground, or rather the lack of it.
Nigel Worthington's team had few positive vibes to feed off as they set about the task of extending their impressive run and when the home fans did make some noise it was frequently ironic in tone, with players being cheered - amongst other things - for passing the ball along the ground and executing a successful offside trap
The dark mood of the crowd was later picked up on by Robert Green, who had gestured to fans in the Norwich and Peterborough Stand during the game when he was sarcastically cheered for playing the ball short to Craig Fleming.
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He refused to criticise the paying customers after the game - but did acknowledge that they were making life difficult for the players they had come along to support.
Green summed up his feelings by declaring: “To be honest it's not the best atmosphere to play football in at the moment.”
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As far as Ben East of Northern Canaries is concerned that's perfectly understandably. He can't wait for the season to finish now that City have slipped effectively 12 points adrift of the play-off zone with just five matches left to play.
“The fans have had very little to get excited about recently and I think one or two of them have decided to have a bit of fun at the team's expense,” he said.
“They are having a few little digs and I think it's all in reasonable good humour. They are making a little point, while having a laugh at the same time, and I don't think Nigel Worthington and the players should be too surprised about that.
“There is a real end of season feel about the place at the moment. It's the first time since Nigel took over that there has been nothing to play for at this stage and I think a certain mount of frustration is inevitable. I think most of us want the season to end as soon as possible - I know I do!”
Paul Webster, chairman of Capital Canaries, agreed.
“I am ready for the summer now,” he said. “The whole season has been a big anti-climax. We have struggled badly away from home and although our home results haven't been too bad we have had to put up with a lot of average football. The Leicester game was yet another example of that.
“When I go to games at the moment there just isn't a buzz. I enjoyed myself at Leeds when we drew 2-2 - but it's been hard to get into a lot of games recently.
“As far as I am concerned the end of the season can't come soon enough. Let's get it out of the way and start concentrating on doing a lot better next time around. We can't afford another season like this, that's for sure.”
John Tilson, treasurer of Norwich City Independent Supporters Association, isn't in the least bit surprised that home fans are getting edgy at a time when their team are stringing together a decent run at Carrow Road.
“Some substandard fare is being served up at the moment, even though we are managing to win games,” he said. “I enjoyed the win against Sheffield United - but the other four have been against really dreadful teams, and we didn't give any of them a hiding. In fact all the games could have gone either way.
“I haven't enjoyed them at all, even though we have come away with three points on each occasion. To be honest I haven't enjoyed the whole season. Nigel Worthington and his team just haven't delivered the goods.
“I can't wait for the season to end - and I can't say I am looking forward to the next one much either. In my opinion the squad needs a complete overhaul and I just can't see how we can afford to do that, having blown all our spare cash on Rob Earnshaw.
“With the board clearly behind the manager, I can see the atmosphere being just same when we all come back in August. Unless of course England win the World Cup. That would give everyone a boost!”
Alex Warren of Waveney Yellows also hopes the mood will have changed by the time the 2006-7 campaign comes around.
“I can fully understand the mood of the crowd at the moment,” he said. “There are a lot of people around who have got issues with the manager, and they are clearly making their feels known.
“That's fine - I don't think a little bit of light-hearted banter ever hurt anyone - but I hope it will be a different story next season. Nigel is clearly staying and I think everyone should get behind him then. It will be a new start - and I am sure everyone will be watching the team's progress with interest.”