Ian Clarke: Best, worst and quirkiest things of 40 odd years as a Norwich City fan
It’s now just over a month since we last saw Norwich City in action.
Missing it? Yes, me too.
With no football to watch and debate, many of us have turned the clock back to see old games, recall stories and reflect on our lives as Canaries’ fans.
So this week I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane through more than 40 years as a City supporter and think about some of my favourite, worst and quirkiest memories.
Hopefully it may prompt you to do the same.
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FAVOURITE CITY PLAYER
He’s made the most appearances (a record which surely will never be beaten), was one of the biggest characters we’ve had and was a great keeper in teams across three decades. Yes, Kevin Keelan, you are my Canary hero.
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BEST CITY PLAYER
I was a really young fan when he was with us, but to have watched Martin Peters in a yellow and green shirt was a joy and a privilege. What a player.
FAVOURITE CITY GAME
There are so many to choose from with Wembley finals, promotion thrillers and amazing comebacks. My favourite game actually wasn’t even a win - it was in fact a draw. But the 1-1 in the UEFA Cup against Bayern Munich tops the lot. As our daughter had just been born, I didn’t make the amazing win at the Olympic Stadium. However, the triumph to complete the two-leg victory over the footballing giants was incredible - and the atmosphere at Carra was unbelievable.
Fulham away 2005, 6-0. Enough said.
Michael Theoklitis. Sorry Michael but to have let in a goal roughly every 13 minutes of your Norwich career says it all.
FAVOURITE AWAY GROUND
Wembley, Tottenham Stadium, Emirates, Millennium Stadium and Old Trafford are all massively impressive - but I’m quite old school and I always loved a trip to Upton Park.
Portman Road. I don’t need to explain.
WETTEST EVER AT A GAME
Exeter, FA Cup, 1990. I’m still drying out (and the bits of cut up Yellow Pages which were thrown in the air stuck to my coat for years).
WORST INJURIES AS A FAN
Promotiom campaign 2011 - When Simeon Jackson scored THAT goal against Derby I jumped on my seat and slipped through - calf strain sustained. Then just weeks later while celebrating going up against Portsmouth I went over on a dodgy paving slab causing bad knee damage. Ouch.
Ken Brown - he led us to our win at Wembley and will always be thanked for that.
ALMOST GOT ME IN TO MAJOR TROUBLE MOMENT
When Mark Bowen scored against Bayern Munich I was looking after our newly born first daughter on my own for the first time and almost dropped her. A last ditch save saved the day.
MOST BIZARRE WAY TO FOLLOW CANARIES’ FORTUNES
I can’t even remember the opponents but we were camping in deepest Suffolk and went into a cup penalty shoot out. As the coverage was so scratchy I had to keep switching the radio on and off between penalties!
BEST AWAY DAY
Hillsborough, 1982, when we clinched promotion. It was my first away trip and thought they’d all be like that!
FAVOURITE CITY GOAL
So, so many contenders - but it’s got to be Steve Bruce’s header against Ipswich to send us through to the Milk Cup final. It was my first game in the Barclay. Limbs everywhere.
BEST NON-CITY PLAYER SEEN AT CARROW ROAD
Again, many to choose from. But it goes to Thierry Henry. Pure class.
Winning in the 2015 Wembley play-off final, particularly as I was there with my son and my Mum (and it was the day my great niece was born).
FAVOURITE CITY SONG
“We love you Paul McVeigh” - and we even got to sing it live on Radio Norfolk on the way to the 2002 play-off final in Cardiff.
Middlesborough 4-4, 2005 (although my son still can’t believe I left him alone while I ran down the gangway to celebrate Adam Drury’s goal at the front of the South Stand.)
‘I DON’T BELIEVE IT’ MOMENT
We got married on October 3, 1992. I’ll never forget that day as we lost 7-1 to Blackburn. There were no phones then so when we came out of the church for photos I was told we were four down, then five down...and then it was seven. I didn’t believe it until I watched on Match Of The Day in the bridal suite (Yes, really...)
You’re so right, Thierry
As well as naming him as the best non-Norwich City player I’ve seen at Carrow Road, Thierry Henry is now confirmed as a really great guy.
The video of the Arsenal and France legend telling City starlet Shae Hutchinson that he’s his hero was really heart-warming.
We’ve all been in awe of the incredible bravery of the young striker, who needs a kidney transplant as he continues to battle with a genetic condition.
Hutchinson joined the Canaries from the Gunners academy.
In a message, Henry said: “Hello Shae, this is Thierry. I just wanted to let you know that you’re my hero. It is unbelievable to see what you’re going through right now.
“Not only to deal with it one time, you came back, you played. Now you have to deal with it a second time. All my thoughts are with you, my prayers.
“You just have to hang on. Stay strong. Hopefully I’ll see you soon.” Wow!
On your bike, Todd!
While there has been much debate about footballers in recent weeks - especially around the thorny issue of their pay - Norwich City players and staff have been winning lots of friends with acts of kindness.
One of the ways they have been interacting with fans is by ringing them for a chat and also sending gifts.
I heard lots of people say how much those calls mean to them, especially those who are going through tough times and maybe are alone.
One of my favourite stories came from my friend Bill who lives near me.
He’s a devoted season ticket holder and probably the most upbeat supporter I know.
A member of the Carrow Road coaching staff rang Bill to see how he was doing and they got chatting away.
When he realised Bill lived in Dereham he said: “Ah, Dereham...I’ll get Todd to get on his bike and bring your shopping round to you!”
And knowing what a top lad Todd is, I bet he would as well!