Terri Westgate: Perhaps we've been too reliant on City to lift our spirits

Conor Hourihane of Swansea City celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Sky

Conor Hourihane of Swansea City celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 05/02/2021 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

There’s no argument that Norwich had a disappointing result at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night, and it came on the back of some uninspiring goalless draws against Middlesbrough and Millwall.  

In the rollercoaster of a football season, we are currently mid-point in the journey, and it feels like we are careering down from a spectacular height with a stomach churning drop back to earth. 

I am usually one of those who takes to social media following a defeat to tell other fans not to be despondent, and to bring out those tried and tested clichés – it’s a marathon not a sprint, there’s only one day the table really matters, ignore the noise and keep the faith. 

Yet this weekend following the loss to Swansea I chose not to. The time did not feel right. We all need a space to vent and let out our frustrations right now. Not just because of the performance of our team.  

Outside of our football bubble, the last 11 months have been tumultuous and stressful. Everyone has been affected and this winter has been a particularly dark time as we cope with this unrelenting pandemic.  Our society is currently jittering on the edge of anxiety, and the never-ending stream of people telling you to stay positive can grind you down. It was not my place to tell anyone to remain calm. 

I think we are now realising how reliant we had become on our football team to lift our spirits and get us through the darkest of days. Suddenly we are aware of what this time must be like for those who have been supporting less successful teams this season. When the highlight of your weekend is sat at home watching your side play out an important match in an empty, soulless stadium, the effect when you lose that game can be crushing.  

Social media has become an increasingly angry place recently, but that is not the fault of the platforms themselves. It’s just a reflection of the mood of the population, just the tool used to express growing frustrations and fears. Normally after a disappointing result you would go to the pub to discuss the match, or travel home with friends and family going over key points.  

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But instead we are all stuck in our homes, huddled over a phone or laptop, tapping out our views and losing context and nuance in the process. We’ve not been able to attend matches and shout and sing to release the tension, our passions have been confined and supressed. 

We are all missing out on human interaction every day. We do not have those chats in the kitchen or canteen at work, those impromptu discussions on the bus or train, the catch up at the school gates. It’s difficult to talk about keeping perspective when our everyday lives have been turned upside down by a lethal virus.  

Personally, I don’t think that Norwich are in crisis, or that our season is in freefall. Every team will have a poor spell in a 46-game season, it’s just we are having ours at a time when emotionally it’s the toughest to take. I do still have faith in our exceptional coach and talented squad of players, and we have a healthy stash of points in the bag. There is now a full week to recover and regroup, with football heaven returning to the squad for selection on Saturday.  

So although I don’t think we are doomed, or our promotion bid is slipping away, now is not the time for an argument with those who feel differently. I believe we’ll soon be travelling back up that rollercoaster, and our winning ways will return. But my opinion is no more important or relevant than any other fan. It’s fine if you disagree, and I hope we’ll all get to discuss the finer details of our performances in person, over a pint one day soon. 

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