Ian Clarke: Relax Norwich City fans - we’ll go up on Easter Monday
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I’ve sensed quite a few nerves among some Norwich City fans in recent days.
There are those who adamantly refuse to use the word ‘when’ and insist it’s still a case of ‘if’ we go up.
Others are dwelling on the negative aspects during the two most recent matches.
While another faction is concentrating on raising the ‘what if?’ questions around what Daniel Farke should and shouldn’t have done.
This has all led to unnecessarily tetchy exchanges among supporters on social media and in forums.
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Yes, of course we need a few more points to put that big cherry on the top of this season’s amazingly tasty cake.
Yes, in the last two games we haven’t reached the soaring levels of brilliance we have been treated to for so much of the campaign.
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But come on, guys, let’s chill, relax and stick together. I’ve got a bit of news - we’ll go up on Easter Monday.
I admit it’s a hunch with no secret insight into what will happen in the next two rounds of second tier games.
I’m banking on Sheffield United getting something from their Good Friday lunchtime showdown with Forest.
I’m confident we’ll get back on it against Steve Bruce’s Sheffield Wednesday hours later at a rocking Carrow Road.
Only twice in our history have we won promotion in NR1 - and I think that will continue on Monday in the Potteries with a positive result against Stoke.
The sold out away end at the Bet 365 stadium will be treated to phenomenal scenes reminiscent of those at Wembley, Fratton Park, Vicarage Road, Hillsborough and all the other venues where promotion has been confirmed down the years.
While it won’t be quite the same, thousands more will be able to enjoy an amazing party atmosphere at Carra as the game is beamed back.
I guess the negativity in certain quarters stems from a desperation to finish the fantastic job Farke’s men have started.
There really is no reason to panic, though.
City are four points clear of Leeds and seven ahead of the Blades with just a maximum of 12 to play for.
Despite those draws against Reading and Wigan, nothing has changed in terms of the bottom line gap to third place in that period - apart from there are two fewer games to go.
Remember City have still lost only once in the league in 2019.
Don’t forget that the Canaries have sealed 81 points from the 36 matches since that stuttering start. Incredible.
Oh, and I sense that most of us would have taken 26 points from the last 30 available.
Reading came and did a real job on us. These games will happen. We could so easily have lost. We were agonisingly close to winning.
I thought Wigan were very good on Sunday. Don’t forget it’s only just over a year since they beat Manchester City at the DW in the FA Cup. They have lost the same number of home games as us, Leeds and Sheffield United. They were never going to be a pushover and made it difficult. It was a point gained.
As soon as Emi Buendia flew into that rash and needless lunge against QPR, we knew that would have a big impact on us.
For all the debate about who fills his midfield boots, there isn’t a like-for-like replacement at our club.
He is a phenomenal talent and we’ve missed him big time.
With the little gem in the side we have won 25, drawn seven and lost three (average points per game 2.34).
Without him we have won none, drawn four and lost three (average points per game 0.57). (Thanks as always to @ncfcnumbers for the stats).
I sense DF will have a re-jig for the Wednesday game in the centre of his team. Mario and Mo had an impact when they came on, on Sunday and think he will start with them both.
Clearly the result from Bramall Lane will have a big impact on the atmosphere at Carra when we arrive - but let’s get the ground bouncing whatever has happened earlier.
Up to 2,000 more flags will be in the stadium for the game and all the great initiatives are helping increase the volume levels.
I’ve lost count of the number of plans my colleagues Chris Lakey, Mark Armstrong and I have talked through in terms of when we can press the go button on our promotion coverage. Keep the faith, lads, we’re getting there!
Keep positive everyone and remember that OneCityStrong campaign. Together we’ll get there - and enjoy a promotion party to remember for years to come.
I’ve had the privilege of writing a piece for the Norwich programme for the final home game of the season against Blackburn about Dereham’s very own Todd Cantwell.
To have seen the young man from my home town rise from the youth set-up to the first team has been fantastic.
Daniel Farke has shown great faith in Todd, which I love,
The young man wasn’t at his best against Wigan on Sunday - but none of the players was.
He felt he needed to defend himself on Twitter after some criticism.
Todd perhaps shouldn’t have got involved. However, I really understand why he did,
We hail him as “one of our own” and yet it is some of our own who have said things which have led Todd to feel he needs to open up publicly.
Of course fans should be able to give our opinions - that’s part of football.
But please, please let’s not discourage a terrific young man, great prospect and a player who is an example to so many.
There have been so many brilliant aspects on and off the pitch this season.
Among the great things away from the playing surface has been the contribution of the Norwich City Fans Social Club.
They have organised some great forums with Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke, quizzes with legends taking part plus various fund-raisers.
The volunteer-run group’s final event of the season is on Thursday, April 18 in the Top Of The Terrace Lounge at Carrow Road from 7.30pm.
It will be free and informal for anyone who wants to enjoy a drink and a natter with fellow City fans, club sponsors, previous speakers, hosts, helpers with legends also invited along. There will also be some fun games.
Those attending the evening will also find out how much the social club will be donating to the Community Sports Foundation from this season’s activities.
And the evening could be a warm-up for a weekend of promotion celebrations!