Norwich City’s promotion to the Premier League still hasn’t really sunk in
I shall remember the final few weeks of the 2010/2011 season for the rest of my life. They were an energy draining mixture of almost unbearable tension and ecstatic elation.
We had already passed the Paul Lambert survival target of 52 points on the first day of February and were feeling good about the season, but we couldn’t have possibly foreseen what was to come. Over the next couple of months there was a dawning realisation that we were as good as, if not better than, just about every side we had come up against, so was there a chance we could sneak into the play-offs?
The results kept coming and we now seemed to be a permanent fixture in the top six. I have to say at this stage I would have been very excited about City being in the play-offs in our first season back in the Championship. I even organised my holidays around the play-off final and had my fingers crossed about the prospect.
During March, City found consistency, something (with the exception of QPR), our fellow play-off contenders couldn’t manage. There were a trio of teams – Forest, Burnley and more latterly Reading, who were ‘bubbling under’, ‘on a run’ and perceived to be a threat by the national media. They all came and went. Meanwhile City kept winning. By mid-March we were in the top two. For me, the nerves really kicked in. Could we do it? The play-offs, such an exciting prospect at Christmas, would now seem a disappointment.
Fortunately, the team and management didn’t share my trepidation, and kept their heads while all around were losing theirs. And when Cardiff bottled it on live TV in front of the whole of Norfolk and lots of packed bars in Portsmouth, the promised land of the Premiership was suddenly a reality. And as events unfolded at Fratton Park two hours later, the feeling was that unbelievably, we’d done it. I stood shell-shocked on the terraces at the end, scarcely believing what I was witnessing.
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And one month later, it still hasn’t really sunk in.
And the future? Well I hear people around me saying ‘survival and consolidation’. Isn’t that what they were saying at the start of this season?
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