Thanks, Norwich City, it has all been a pleasure
If Norwich City aren’t careful they are going to have to attach cigarette-style health warnings to match day tickets.
“Warning: Watching Norwich City may seriously damage your heart, or cause serious injuries to various parts of your body.”
I consider myself fairly healthy, but after a season of twists and turns like this my poor old ticker surely cannot take much more?
Meanwhile, every other weekend the poor bloke next to me, or the wife, or anyone I can get my hands on, is forced to endure a massive bear hug as we snatch yet another victory.
And I don’t know what’s going to break first – my poor old knees or the back of the chair in front of me, which gets an unintentional thwack every time I leap up to celebrate another last-gasp goal?
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But at least I’m not the poor bloke from the City Stand, who must still be nursing bumps and bruises all over his body after hurtling through the air and into an advertising hoarding while celebrating Simeon Jackson’s third goal against Derby.
That must have hurt – but at least compensation will come in the form of immortalisation on Youtube.
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However, I’m sure even The Flying Canary (please check it out, it’s well worth it) would agree the pain has been worth it for what continues to be an amazing season to follow Norwich City Football Club.
Perhaps whoever is writing the scripts down at Carrow Road this season deserves a shot at Hollywood – because just when you thought it couldn’t get more dramatic, or more memorable, along comes a new twist or plot line. And to think there are likely to be a few more thrilling scenes yet to come.
Even if we don’t make it to the Premier League (don’t worry, I won’t dwell on that thought too much), only the most miserable of City fans could claim it hasn’t been a pleasure watching Norwich City this season. And perhaps all those early leavers who continue to miss goal after goal.
When I look back a few years and think of some of the rubbish being served up on a regular basis by previous City squads, it makes this season’s achievements all the more staggering.
And I deliberately say this season, because the football being played at the moment is way beyond even last year’s high standards. The memorable moments have come so thick and fast that you could be forgiven for forgetting several of them.
Take the 4-3 thriller at home to Leicester in September, or the 1-0 victory at home to Queens Park Rangers in January. In any other year any one of these would arguably be talked about as the games of the season.
But in this case they are eclipsed by the 4-1 and 5-1 wins against Ipswich, Monday’s win against Derby, the 6-0 rout of Scunthorpe or the last-gasp 2-1 wins against Millwall and Reading in February.
Surely there can’t be a better ground this season for drama and value for money than Carrow Road?
We really have been spoilt and, no matter what happens over the next few weeks, Paul Lambert, his players and backroom staff deserve all the praise that is coming their way for everything that has been achieved during this fine, fine season.
• FIVE OF THE REST
1. Those who watched his Gillingham goal compilation on Youtube will not be surprised that Simeon Jackson has, after being given time and a run in the team, now come good. Along with Andrew Crofts, David Fox, Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan and Russell Martin, to name but a few, he is another example of players moving up several levels after spending a bit of time with Lambert and his team.
2. City’s last-minute winner on Monday may have raised the Carrow Road roof, but it felt to me that compared to recent weeks the crowd were, in general, a bit subdued. Perhaps it was a combination of nerves and the sun beaming down on everyone. It is perhaps an indication of how great our support has been this season, however, that a friend and Derby County journalist was waxing lyrical to me after the game about the brilliant atmosphere created by the supporters, especially when compared to his own club.
3. One of my favourite sights of the brilliant last few days has to be the picture of Norwich fans celebrating last Thursday after one of the goals. Why? Well, you can just about spot the welcome return of the inflatable canary, a sight synonymous of course with one of the most successful periods in our history. Wouldn’t it be a great sight to see 20,000 or so of them bobbing up and down at Carrow Road at the last game of the season?
4. If Suffolk Police’s handling of last week’s derby was as bad as many of the reports suggest, they really do have something to answer for. Every year there are reports of away fans being intimidated and abused while being herded to and from Portman Road – so why hasn’t something been done about it? I was at the beam-back – a brilliant experience, the atmosphere created by 7,000 people watching on television matching some Carrow Road match days. Imagine, though, how bewildering it must have been to any non-football supporting visitor staying at the Holiday Inn last Thursday. Yes, this is how we watch television in Norwich!
5. Blatant time-wasting is quickly becoming endemic in our modern game and I think it’s something that pretty much every club, including Norwich, tries on when they need to. On Monday, Derby started the delaying tactics after about 60 minutes, so intent were they on a draw. It cheats the fans, though, and often takes away much of the drama of the closing few minutes (though not in City’s case it would seem). I would urge the powers that be to follow cricket’s lead, where teams and players are fined after the game for a slow over rate.