First there was the X Factor - and now there’s Norwich City’s H Factor

Jonny Howson's magnificent goal at Manchester City capped off a fine finish to the season from the m

Jonny Howson's magnificent goal at Manchester City capped off a fine finish to the season from the midfielder. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

So what was all the fuss and worry about then?

Hands up who was genuinely worried we would be joining QPR and Reading to dive through the Premier League trap door and let that £90m (or whatever the figure actually is) slip through our fingers?

If you are honestly keeping your arms down by your side, you are a more faithful person than me.

I had been pretty hopeful all season, but the defeat against Villa and Wigan going ahead, did fill me with real fear.

Of course the West Brom victory blew away the doubts in emphatic style. The triumph at the Etihad ensured a tasty dollop of fresh cream on the Canary cake.


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Finishing 11th shows how crazy that league has been.

What then was the reason for City suddenly to find life in the Premier League so easy and comfortable – and ensure they finished a place higher than last yeat?

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Maybe the X Factor suddenly descended on Carrow Road – or maybe it is actually the Canaries’ very own H Factor.

Let me explain.

Before the West Brom game, many fans had written Holty off and assumed he would be leaving in the summer. He looked out of sorts and odds on him heading north. All of a sudden he looks hungry again and bagged two goals in two games and his total for the year becomes a more respectable eight.

Add to that the H of Hoolahan who also had a final burst to the campaign. I still feel when Wes ticks, City tick. Having seen a bit of RVW in action, I sense he could be just the man to feed the Wolf.

This time last year I predicted Jonny Howson to be this year’s player of the season. He had a great end to last term and I had predicted him to continue it in 2012/13. As it turned out, the Tettey/Johnson partnership squeezed him out. But what a finale the midfielder has had. His new found freedom has spurred City on – and the confidence of the team has rubbed off on him. Arguably he has scored our two goals of the season and if he carries on doing that in August, who knows what may happen?

And after a year of greatly fluctuating fortunes, where he has fluctuated between hero and zero, Mr H himself must get a mention. I have had my doubts about the manager and am not the greatest fan of sometimes turgid football. But any boss who can oversee 11th place must get huge credit. Please, please Chris encourage the lads to play with the freedom they have shown in May next season.

Finally, I have a nice little story about a good friend and fellow City fan to end the season with.

While I had some doubts over Norwich’s survival at various times, another Dereham yellow and green ’un, Bill Dingle, remained unswervingly positive.

“We’ll be alright Ian,” Bill kept telling me.

And so as he was proved correct, it was fitting that he was rewarded for his loyalty in the church bell tower where he is tower captain.

He arrived for practice on Monday and his colleagues had put in a new rope on a refurbished bell in Canary colours.

Bell number five is Bill’s favourite – quite apt in itself being the shirt number of City’s player of the season Seb Bassong.

So have a good summer everyone – and from me and Bill it’s On The Bell City!

Please contact me with your views and ideas and suggestions for any of my “...of the week” slots. Email me at ian.clarke@archant.co.uk or become my friend on Facebook

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• ADAM’S EFFORT WAS TRULY REMARKABLE

Hero: There are lots of City players who could easily lift the award. But I’m giving it to former footballer Adam Tann, who grew up in Fakenham. On Sunday he completed a remarkable feat of cycling hundreds of miles to every ground in the Premier League in just a week to raise money for a male cancer charity. He got a shout out on Jeff Stelling’s Sky Sports News show and he deserves all the plaudits he will get.

• FAREWELL FERGIE – I WILL MISS YOU ANNOYING ME

Villain: I’m only doing this as a joke. I actually have a soft spot for Sir Alex Ferguson and he has done amazing things over the years. But as he has now hung up his hair dryer, I will not be able to pick him for my boo boy gong any more. So for all the times over the years Sir Alex has annoyed me I dedicate the honour to him. Happy retirement!

• HOWSON’S STUNNER WAS A REALLY SPECIAL MOMENT

Highlight: I haven’t done the research to find the exact number of times City have won away to Manchester City since I was born. I suspect the answer is pretty small. Therefore seeing the yellow and green army go mad behind the goal at the Etihad as Howson’s winner went in was a really special moment.

• THEY START THEM YOUNG AT STAMFORD BRIDGE

Funniest moment: If you haven’t seen Chelsea player Ross Turnbull’s two-year-old son scoring at Stamford Bridge you must find it on Youtube. “Sign him up!” chanted the Blues fans!

• EXPECT SIX NEW ARRIVALS BEFORE THE NEW SEASON

Prediction: I was surprised by the end of season cull by City. We already know RVW is coming in – and my prediction is that we will see six others arriving at Carrow Road before August.

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