Win at Bolton, equal a record and frustrated City will still be heading in the right direction
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
After two frustrating home defeats in the space of four days for Norwich City, DAVID FREEZER gets back into away mode and looks back on a time when things were far, far worse for the Canaries.
What a strange football reality Norwich City are navigating at the moment.
Home fortune seems to have deserted Daniel Farke’s team for the moment, yet tomorrow they could equal a club record, again.
It could easily be forgotten on the back of two Carrow Road losses in the space of four days but the Canaries have won each of their last four away league games.
They have already matched the club record of five successive away wins in all competitions – set in the top flight in the early stages of 1988/89 – after wins at Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Reading and, of course, Ipswich combined with a League Cup win at Brentford.
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Back in 1988 Dave Stringer’s team did similarly, winning at Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Derby and Manchester United in the First Division, as well as a League Cup replay at Preston, to make it five successive away wins.
They were then beaten 2-0 at Leicester in the League Cup to end that run of consecutive wins outside of Norfolk but won 2-0 at Wimbledon in their next away game in the league.
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Daniel Farke’s team can follow that pattern tomorrow if they can win at bottom-of-the-table Bolton.
That cruel defeat at Arsenal in the League Cup denied City a sixth successive away win and the outright club record, yet they are still on an away winning streak in the Championship.
Those records may be of interest to stattos and club historians more than most but they can also act as landmark moments to signal the progress being made.
When Angus Gunn kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet and surpassed his father – Canaries legend Bryan – in the process, City fans were singing from the rooftops about the achievement following the 1-0 win at Boro earlier this season.
Clean sheets guarantee points and equalling another record at Bolton tomorrow would mean a precious three points will keep Farke’s team in top-six contention going into the international break, despite a gruelling fortnight not quite going to plan.
That included disappointment at Carrow Road, where five games on the bounce without a win have left season ticket holders feeling rather jealous of the hardy travelling supporters.
Neil Adams’ team of 2014-15 had gone five home games without victory and the class of 2017-18 have now matched those struggles.
The last time a Canaries side went six Carrow Road games without a win was at the start of the 2000-01 season under Bryan Hamilton, drawing five and losing one of their opening half-dozen home fixtures.
The last time a poor home run stretched to seven games was at the back end of 1998-99, drawing five and losing two as Bruce Rioch’s first campaign in charge meandered to a ninth-place finish – let’s not worry about that just yet though.
However, things could be far worse.
Back in the disastrous campaign of 1956-57, the Canaries went an awful 13 home games without managing to emerge victorious, which is the club’s all-time worst record.
Bizarrely, that started after all five Carrow Road games at the start of that Division Three South season had been won, before nosediving into a run of five draws and eight defeats – one of which was a 4-2 loss to Southern League side Bedford Town in the FA Cup first round.
Floodlights were used at the stadium for the first time during that horrendous run, which had cost £9,000. The result on the night of Wednesday, October 17, 1956, when the lights were first used? Unsurprisingly, a 3-0 defeat, to top-flight Sunderland in a friendly.
Stretching from a 1-1 draw with Newport in late September, to a 3-1 loss to Bournemouth in late February, it was a time of crisis on and off the pitch.
It was announced on Wednesday, December 12 that the club didn’t have the money to pay their £500 wage bill. On Monday, February 4, 1957, a new board had been appointed, with Geoffrey Watling appointed as chairman and an appeal committee setting about raising the £25,000 needed to save the club.
At the start of March the 11,921 inside Carrow Road finally tasted victory again, beating Millwall 2-0 thanks to goals from Peter Gordon and Alan Rule.
The money to keep the club afloat was of course found and two seasons later the famous 1959 giant-killing FA Cup run took the Canaries to the semi-finals.
The rest, as they say, is history.
There is absolutely no chance of Farke’s developing team breaking that horrible record and despite the frustration of recent home results they are more than capable of winning tomorrow – and keeping their season on the right track in the process.
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