Lee Payne: Pockets of space at Carrow Road? Not if we keep winning

Block A in the Barclay End, where some 50 fans will have to give up their seats. Picture: Paul Chest

Block A in the Barclay End, where some 50 fans will have to give up their seats. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Knowing I had this piece to write after the Sheffield Wednesday game, I sat in my Barclay seat thinking of the point I wanted to make as the match progressed.

The idea changed more than once. At half time, when I was cold and bored by another disappointing performance, this article would have been very negative indeed. Norwich’s comeback means this is a slightly more optimistic view.

I went to my first City home game almost 15 years ago. For all the seasons I have been to Carrow Road since then, I have been able to rely on the stands being full.

Other clubs struggled to get a ground full of fans, but not us. So, it was quite a surprise when kick-off came on Saturday and pockets of empty seats could be seen dotted all around the stadium.

MORE: Michael Bailey looks at six things he learned from win over OwlsI know we haven’t been playing very well recently. I know the game was on a freezing December night. I know it was on Sky TV. But I have never seen so much space in the Carrow Road stands for a league game. Not even during the Roeder years.

It was still a very decent crowd, one that our friends from Ipswich would die for, but it certainly raised an eyebrow.

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You wonder what they thought in the directors’ box with season ticket renewal time coming up.

Anyway, those that there were in attendance were part of a terrific atmosphere towards the end of the game.

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The Barclay and the Snakepit were louder than they had been in months. It’s amazing what winning can do.

In the first half City looked low on confidence. The game was following a similar pattern to most in the wretched winless run.

You could tell that they started with a clear plan under orders from Daniel Farke, only to struggle to break the opposition down and then go a goal behind.

When we hadn’t won a home game for precisely three months, you can understand the crowd being a tad despondent about what they were seeing.

Credit to the players, though, as the second half was much better.

We are in for a long January, waiting for the transfer window to close and hoping that James Maddison will still be ours (I think he will).

He’s bound to attract interest from Premier League clubs. It came as a surprise to me when I saw the team sheet before the game to find Maddison and MORE: Melissa Rudd – Farke must build around his star midfieldersAlex Pritchard both starting, but they seemed to work well together, and I think we may well see Farke try it again.

Harrison Reed had, in my opinion, his best game in a City shirt – hunting down the ball and making a nuisance of himself.

I thought Timm Klose was excellent at the back, and his thumping header to put City in front was a well-deserved goal. It was also heartening to see Tom Trybull make his return from injury as a substitute.

A win was what was needed, however it came. And Saturday was a perfect example of inconsistent Norwich. The contrast between the first and second half performances was stark, and a good example of why a mid-table finish is almost nailed on this season. Against the best in the division, there has been a clear gulf in class. Against the rest, City compete and compete well. We won’t go down and we won’t go up. Whether that’s good enough for some sections of the supporters is not for me to say but in the first season after making such dramatic changes to every part of the club, I think it’s a decent platform to build on.

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