Terri Westgate: Norwich City finally have something to cling to... hope

Norwich City fans celebrate their third goal during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watfo

City fans are starting to believe their side can pull off a great escape following victories over Everton and Watford - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Hope is such a powerful emotion.  

Without hope the life of a football fan would be very dull.  

Hope gives you optimism against the odds, gives you belief when rational thought tells you to expect defeat. It encourages hundreds of supporters to give up their time and part with their cash to travel to Watford on a Friday night, despite a poor recent record against the Hornets. 

The reason we have this hope is because it’s not unfounded.  

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There are times when you play the best team in the land, when your squad is depleted by injuries, and you miraculously beat Man City 3-2.  

After relegation to League One you return as champions, and the following season seemingly from nowhere you finish second and get promoted to the Premier League. You are losing at home to Millwall and you’re already into added time, surely there’s not enough minutes to score two goals… 

Though we may often go to matches with hope, alongside it, what will help to lift the noise of the crowd, is endeavour. Fans will always warm to those players who never give up in the face of daunting opposition.  

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Those who keeping chasing the ball until their legs give way, and never let their heads drop, no matter what mistake or misfortune crosses their path. It’s this character that means former Canary Iwan Roberts remains a hero of mine to this day. And these qualities can also be attributed to Friday’s man of the match - Josh Sargent. 

The young man from Missouri hasn’t had the ideal start to his Premier League career with Norwich City.  

Many have highlighted the chances he missed, his mis-kicks and misplaced passes. The opportunity in front of an open goal against Brighton being the most obvious. But many Norwich fans still wanted to see him on the team sheet, cheered his name and were willing him to do well. 

It often takes players time to adjust to a new league, in a new country, and it pays to allow a little patience. There were early signs that Josh would be worth the wait. He quickly developed an understanding with Teemu Pukki, with some good link up play. He constantly hassles defenders, sometimes causing panic that creates chances like the aforementioned opportunity at home to the Seagulls. He can bring a bit of chaos which disrupts the best laid plans of the opposition, and generates excitement in the crowd. 

All of this alongside the fact that his endeavour did not dampen for a moment when something went wrong. He continued to persevere and slowly the tide began to turn. He provided the cross for the opening goal against Everton, our first for seven games. Then on Friday night with a sublime deftness of touch he finally opened his account for Norwich City and rewarded the travelling faithful with two goals in a comprehensive win. 

Those back-to-back victories have provided a spark amongst the fans, the flicker of hope now burns a little brighter. Future fixtures analysed, calculations made, permutations considered. The seemingly impossible could yet happen. There is life in our season, nothing has been determined. 

Yet there are still many games to go, and whether this invigorated hope is misplaced or not, we have still to discover. But with the endeavour demonstrated by Sargent, the continued support from the fans, and a little bit of luck, maybe a corner has been turned. 

Mark Twain once wrote: “The report of my death was an exaggeration”, though it has been famously rehashed and misquoted. But the same sentiment can now be applied to our beloved Canaries.  

Some would say it was foolish to write off a team so early in the season, when the table shows others just a few points above. The hope that we could yet ridicule that prediction is now real.  

And maybe that hope will be rewarded.