Spud Thornhill: Why’s he back in the Carrow Road tunnel?

Spud Thornhill after completing his first London Marathon in 2017 Picture: Spud Thornhill

Spud Thornhill after completing his first London Marathon in 2017 Picture: Spud Thornhill - Credit: Archant

It’s a special day at Carrow Road for Canaries columnist Spud Thornhill...

Spud Thornhill is back on the tunnel this weekend - but for a very different reason Picture: Archant

Spud Thornhill is back on the tunnel this weekend - but for a very different reason Picture: Archant. - Credit: Archant

Maybe, whilst you’re walking to Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon, you’ll spot two sets of fans floating through the air.

Recently, the Canaries and the Robins of Bristol City have been flying.

The visitors are unbeaten in their last 13 games, winning their last seven while, despite our defeat at Preston, we’ve seen some exceptional football, goals, passion, excitement and, most importantly, plenty of points.

A few weeks ago we may not have been majorly worried about taking on Bristol City, but this game is now as tough as they come.

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The Robins’ confidence will be high on the back of the run, but I’m hoping after that superb result at Bolton last Saturday that our own confidence will be even higher.

Last week, BBC Radio Norfolk’s Rob Butler was singing City’s praises, saying it was the best ever away performance from City he had ever witnessed. It’s not that I didn’t believe him, but I was amazed exactly how good we were when I saw it on TV. Rob was spot on.

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Spud’s teaser: What happened at half-time when Norwich City played Bristol City in December 1998? Answer at bottom

I know I’m biased and I’m sure some people will say it was ‘only’ Bolton, but I don’t think there would have been many teams, including a lot of Premier League sides, who would be able to keep up with us. And that is why, if we do go up, I’m sure we will be able to cope in the Premier League. We are playing Premier League football.

There has been plenty of praise by numerous people in the game, one of them being Bolton manager Phil Parkinson, who was highly impressed by our performance last Saturday stating, “some of their goals and approach play were out of the Premier League, not top of the Championship”.

Bristol City may not be as poor as Bolton, but hopefully if the team can be half as good as last week, we may put an end to the visitors’ good form.

I will be returning to the touchline and standing between the dugouts – but not as the fourth official as I did last season. No, I have been chosen to be the Community Hero for the game. My duty is to place the match-ball on to the plinth ahead of the game before the match referee collects it as he leads the teams on to the pitch.

It’s a kind invitation from the Communications Department in recognition of my charity work ahead of my forthcoming London Marathon where I will be raising money for Children with Cancer UK.

With me being the Community Hero and being fourth official in the past, I think it makes up for some misfortune when I was a young lad.

Unlike nowadays where there are 11 mascots, there was only one on a match day. If you were mascot back then, you were lucky. If my memory proves correct, mascots were invited after having their names drawn. I was desperate to be a mascot... but it was not to be.

Then, come October 1985, I got my chance to be involved in a first team game. It was a Second Division fixture against Shrewsbury Town and my school was chosen to provide ball boys for the game. I was so excited. I was sure I was the biggest Norwich fan at my school ... a lot of the others were glory hunters.

But I had faith in my teachers to choose me as they knew how much I would’ve loved it. But no. My teacher said I was too small to be a ball boy. Too small! Yep, you read that right.

Norwich won 3-1 that day and I still have that memory of watching with envy as my school friends, who were not Norwich fans, ran across the pitch or threw the ball back to my heroes at the time, Steve Bruce or Kevin Drinkell.

So, as I’m too old to be a ball boy or mascot, this game will definitely lay some disappointments to rest.

But the main thing is to raise awareness of Children with Cancer UK and, most importantly, raise a few quid for the charity.

That and three points will make Spud a happy man.

Spud’s teaser answer: There was a vote by the Norwich City fans on what colour shorts we should wear.

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