Terri Westgate: I’m so sorry to have doubted you Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I’m one of life’s optimists.
I'm the person you come to whenever you've lost hope and are looking for inspiration. I always see the silver lining, the glass as half full. But even I was devastated by the injury update delivered by Herr Farke on Friday.
So many key players out, and some for months. The area of the pitch most affected was defence. And the reigning champions were arriving the next day. A difficult task suddenly looked impossible.
Football fans are experts at gallows humour, and there were many comments about bringing your boots to the match, or forfeiting it to get a 3-0 defeat and avoid humiliation. I joked about playing our Under 23s to avoid further injuries as we were going to lose anyway.
By matchday the mood had turned sombre, with genuine concern that a certain team's record defeat could be in jeopardy.
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At this point something in me switched, and I was annoyed at this defeatist attitude. Yes, we'd be up against it, but we'd always get at least a goal with our frontline still intact, and it was a time for new heroes.
As the teams walked out, and I helped haul the giant surf banner to the top of the Barclay, I was determined to get behind the team whatever the following 90 minutes would deliver.
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- 8 'Auld Enemy' clash on the backburner for City captain
- 9 'Like a shield' - Canaries boss heaps praise on Webber's work
- 10 Farke's dilemma with City prodigies
They had earned that support many times over last season, and I wasn't going to let them down now no matter how bad it got. It turns out that I need to work on my optimism a bit more, because at no point did I ever think that 30 minutes in we would be 2-0 up, and go on to secure all three points. But we did.
MORE: We had tears in our eyes - DeliaWe found our new heroes in the excellent Sam Byram and superb Ibrahim Amadou with an immense defensive performance, but none of the Farkeball principles were sacrificed. The beautiful flowing football and short pinpoint passing were present whenever we went forward. We never stop chasing and hassling, and forced the opposition into making errors. The second goal, which I have re-watched dozens of times, was beautiful in the build up and execution.
The Barclay, in fact the whole ground, was bouncing.
That late goal from Man City had all our nerves on edge, but the crowd didn't go quiet. We sung and cheered louder, celebrated every tackle and block. People were on their feet each time Tim Krul collected the ball. The noise at the final whistle was still ringing in my ears when I lay in bed several hours and several beers later.
I will never enjoy seeing my beloved Zimbo on crutches, but watching him hobble onto the pitch to embrace his teammates seemed symbolic.
Without him, Grant Hanley, Timm Klose and Max Aarons we had managed to beat one of the best teams in the world. Because they never give up. Our coaching and playing staff work hard and fear no one. Sometimes it won't work, as demonstrated with the defeats against Chelsea and West Ham but when it does, it's a joy to watch. The wins against Newcastle and now Man City have been entertaining and exhilarating.
I have always believed that as a supporter you are a part of the matchday experience, and not just an observer of it. The great work that the Barclay End Project and Along Come Norwich group have done to improve the atmosphere has grown in tandem with the exciting performances on the pitch. Last Saturday it came together beautifully and there was nowhere on earth I would have rather been than Carrow Road.
So apologies to Daniel and the team. Never again will I doubt your ability to succeed against all the odds. My positivity has been emboldened, and my optimism refreshed. Long may you continue to prove all the doubters wrong.