Thousands of incentives

Kathy Blake, NCISA It is traditional at this time of year to look back over the events of the past year.This is a period which doesn't make pleasant reading for Norwich City fans, to say the very least.

Kathy Blake, NCISA

It is traditional at this time of year to look back over the events of the past year.

This is a period which doesn't make pleasant reading for Norwich City fans, to say the very least. To steal a rather famous phrase from Her Majesty, it has been an 'annus horribilis'.

I don't know if someone broke a mirror at Carrow Road at the end of the 2003/2004, but not much has gone right since. It seems that everything that could possibly go wrong has. We have suffered from poor decision making at boardroom level, poor decision making at managerial level, questionable signings, questionable team selections and puzzling match tactics.

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We have had poor refereeing, a catalogue of injuries, some of which were serious and long standing and for Norwich, an unusually high number of red cards. We have had the ridiculous Colney fan ban which has now thankfully been lifted. We even a had a dodgy burger or two at the club barbecue. And now, on top of all that, some bloke has given Ipswich Town £32 million.

NCISA found itself sponsoring and creating a new banner for an assistant manager we never even got to meet. It's all been rather like a bad dream.

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However, at last I think we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. There is a general feeling around the fans that City have indeed got it right this time. There have been encouraging signs on the pitch and I don't think Glenn Roeder has done too much wrong so far.

Of course, not all fans share this view and, indeed, this is the case with the NCISA committee where there are always differing view points on all issues. Our chairman John Tilson is very depressed and remains convinced that we are going to be relegated. I think the sign outside his pub which says 'The Cottage' should read 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here' instead. I think some fans have suffered so much they constantly expect the worst to happen all the time. I suppose you can sympathise.

I feel much more upbeat. I think the appointment of Glenn Roeder has been a very shrewd one and the board have got it right at last. But I would like it to go on record who I think deserves the real credit for the green shoots of recovery that most of us feel are appearing. Okay, Mr Doncaster et al may be basking in a nice warm glow and patting themselves on the back that this time they have picked the right man. They may have negotiated his contract, given him a tour of the ground and the training facilities and stood over him with big grins while he signed on the dotted line.

But why did he come? It couldn't have been easy selling Norwich City to Glenn Roeder. We were asking a man who had guided Newcastle United to the top half of the Premiership when others had failed, to come into a club rooted to the bottom of the championship, with little or no money and stuck out on a limb geographically.

There must have been a point when he sat there with his family and thought 'Do I really need this'? Especially as at the time there were other managerial vacancies and other potential jobs in the pipeline. So what made him say yes? Do you know what I think clinched it? Us. The supporters. He must have looked at the Carrow Road gates, the away following and the unflinching and noisy support of a group of fans who had put up with so much over the past few years but still turned out in their thousands to back a very mediocre side.

Even coming from the so called hotbed of soccer in the North East this must have compared favourably and must have quite frankly amazed him. He must have thought with these fans the sky's the limit for this club. So step forward and take a bow, Norwich City fans. You just may have played a crucial role in the future success of your football club just at a time when it was most needed. You're the best.

I would like to, on behalf of the NCISA committee, wish all our members and Norwich City fans everywhere a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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