Spud Thornhill: Early days, but can City break that promotion record?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
On Monday it will be 35 years to the day since we beat Bradford City 2-0 at Odsal Park and won promotion back to the old Division One.
I wasn't there - my away days hadn’t started.
Sadly, because of disputes between TV companies and the Football League that season over rights issues, I have never seen any video footage of that game. My only memory of the day is of watching BBC’s Saturday afternoon Sport show Grandstand at my nan's and grandad's. I remember seeing the old vidi-printer typing away and saying, Bradford City 0 Norwich City 2’. Underneath, in brackets: Norwich City are promoted.
I celebrated by jumping around in my grandparents' living room. More than likely me and my brother Martin went to nearby Waterloo Park to play football. I'd pretend to be Kevin Drinkell, scoring the goals to take us back to Division One.
April 12 is the earliest we have ever won promotion, and that was back in 1986, but Saturday could be another record broken by this wonderful team. By the time we kick off, Swansea City may not be able to catch us if they fail to win at Millwall. Then, if Brentford fail to beat Preston North End, it would just leave us to do our bit at Derby.
With what’s happening this season, especially since we beat Stoke City and reclaimed top spot in February, it won’t be a surprise. Since then, Brentford have had only three wins in 11 and Swansea have had four wins in 12. We have won nine of our 11 and we have had a goal difference swing from +15 to +36.
The football on Tuesday against Huddersfield was so good, I don’t think I have enough words for it. At times, I was totally gobsmacked. I think I can honestly say that was one of, if not the, best performances I have seen by a Norwich team in my almost 39 years of following them.
Maybe Huddersfield were not at their best, but the way we were playing, I honestly don’t think many teams could’ve handled us. Sadly for the Terriers, they were facing a team who have threatened to do this on so many occasions this season.
Add on the frustration of the late goal at Preston and you could really sense it was going to be one of those nights. Every player played their part. Obviously, and rightly so, the front three of Teemu Pukki, Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell got all the plaudits.
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For me, I’m going to talk about three people who deserve a shout-out.
First, Alex Tettey. Our Paddy Davitt tweeted that just before half-time at 4-0, Tettey was heard clapping and shouting ‘more, more, more’ whilst warming up. Ruthless, as Paddy put it. A minute later it was 5-0.
Our team is not just about the players on the pitch, but everyone connected with it. It’s this tight, closely-knit team which played a huge part two years ago when we had the likes of Jordan Rhodes providing similar encouragement..
Then there was Tim Krul in goal. On a very cold night with the ball down the other end most of the time, you could forgive Krul if he lost his concentration. But no - on at least two occasions he had to be at his best to keep another clean sheet.
And finally. Andrew Omobamidele. Unfortunately I hadn’t seen much of him before the Preston game. I was slightly worried that he and Grant Hanley hadn't had the chance to train together as they were both away on international duty. Not that you would have noticed that after his performances in the last two games. Absolutely fantastic.
The club's academy Twitter feed paid tribute by posting pictures of him since his arrival three years ago. He has bulked up and grown exactly like Ben Godfrey. And watching Daniel Farke speak to him straight after the game on Tuesday was so heart-warming. Andrew is another player with such a huge future. Like our football club.
And if promotion is not sealed on Saturday, we’ll just have to put the champagne on ice and wait a week.