Spud Thornhill: I'll have to rely on good memories of City's away days in the FA Cup
- Credit: Alex Broadway/Focus Images Ltd
Barnsley away in the FA Cup is definitely a tie I would be buzzing for - if it wasn’t for the current climate.
I can see myself now amongst many fellow Canaries ready to go old school for an away day.
Many away trips in the FA Cup have brought me so many memories, not just with things that happened on the pitch but off it as well.
Grimsby away in 1998 springs to mind: the trip home was memorable as the Lincolnshire Constabulary escorted the majority of the 3,000 unhappy Norwich fans (due to an awful 3-0 defeat) along a very slow scenic route through the county all the way to the Norfolk border.
More happy memorable trips include Tamworth and Paulton Rovers - enjoyable times with the locals who were happy to have Norwich City visiting their club for a competitive game.
One of my first away FA Cup trips was the long old poke to Exeter City in January, 1990; a classic eye-opener for me as a 14-year-old. I had only been to five or six away games by then and I was welcomed to the smaller St James Park in the Football League.
I remember the old terrace houses just outside the ground which had people looking out of their windows over the old away end at Exeter. It was such a small away end and I was standing at the front just beside the goal. The pitch was a mud bath. Bryan Gunn was warming up in the goal when the ball came over towards me. Gunny spotted me and greeted me by rubbing his muddy gloves in my face.
With a quagmire of a pitch it made it a cracking cup tie. I still remember the roar of the home crowd when Exeter scored with a late goal which I’m sure would match the roar of St James Park of the North. Luckily, Robert Fleck saved our blushes when he scored within a minute.
The game was on Match of the Day that night and is now on YouTube – well worth a watch.
Barnsley is an away day that I’ve always enjoyed. I have been six times, with four away wins to my name. It’s a cracking, old traditional ground where I love the walk down the hill from the away car park towards the away end. I’ve had some eventful trips there.
My first visit was for a midweek game in September, 1998. Our minibus broke down, meaning we missed the first half - we were 1-0 down at half-time - only to be escorted out by stewards 16 minutes into the second half after I over-celebrated Lee Marshall’s equaliser. After many attempts to get back in, I sneaked back in time to watch two late goals from Iwan Roberts and Craig Bellamy to give us a 3-1 win.
Then there was the glorious sunny day in April 2002. I was among thousands of Norwich fans in the away end. A 2-0 win put us in driving seat for the final play-off spot. Not only was I buzzing after a superb away win, defender Adam Drury gave me his shirt after the game - the first player’s shirt I ever got.
Then there was my last visit to Oakwell for a 2-0 win in February 2011 when Andrew Crofts scored both goals, his second remembered for the Justin Fashanu-esque finish.
It seems Barnsley is a popular away day where we seem we always take a good away following. Not this time, of course. I can’t even get it on TV, as I don’t have BT Sport in my household.
However much I would like to be at Oakwell, it’s not to be. Instead, I will listen to Chris Goreham live from The Forum instead of the wonderful old wooden stand at Oakwell.
Let’s hope we can continue our winning ways in 2021 - hopefully it will soften the blow of not being able to be there. Let’s make it five wins out of five.
Come on, you yellows!