We’ll follow the boys in yellow
David Cuffley Bad memories will not deter Norwich City fans from making their longest journey of the season on Saturday - with well over 500 expected to make the 720-mile round trip to Plymouth.
Bad memories will not deter Norwich City fans from making their longest journey of the season on Saturday - with well over 500 expected to make the 720-mile round trip to Plymouth.
Home Park has proved a graveyard of Canary ambition over the past two seasons and claimed a string of casualties, including one manager and four players who never appeared for the first team again.
The 3-1 Championship defeat two years ago this month proved to be Nigel Worthington's last away match as City boss - he was sacked the following weekend - while for Glenn Roeder, last November's 3-0 reverse was his first away game in charge, after which he axed three players for good, another made just two more appearances before moving on, and a fifth, still on the books, has not appeared in the first team since.
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But the awful recollection of two Devon drubbings has not deterred the diehard fans who will set out for the West Country at the crack of dawn hoping to witness their side's first victory of the season.
Some 776 supporters travelled to Plymouth in 2006, while 566 repeated the trip last season. Saturday's figure could fall between the two.
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“We have sold 450 tickets so far so with the rest of the week to go, I expect we will be on a par with last season or better,” said Andrew Cullen, City's director of sales and marketing.
City have taken a total of 5,000 fans to the first three away matches of the season, including nearly 500 travelling to Cardiff for the 2-2 draw, a round trip of 540 miles.
“There are two very long away trips back to back with Cardiff and Plymouth but support is holding up well so far,” said Cullen.
“Many of our longest trips are in the first three months of the season with Southampton, Bristol City and Burnley all coming up. We also have Barnsley, where we usually take good support, and Derby falls in half-term week, so I expect we will do well there. We are trying to work out a special deal for that game.”
Roeder will be hoping to wipe out the memories of a nightmare afternoon at Home Park last season. It proved to be the last game in City colours for Ian Murray and substitutes Julien Brellier and David Strihavka, while another substitute that day, striker Chris Brown, was given just two more brief outings from the bench before his £400,000 move to Preston in January.
Midfielder Simon Lappin is still with the Canaries, but has not played a first-team game since, while Chris Martin and Michael Spillane, both of whom started at Plymouth, are on loan at Luton.
Meanwhile, Plymouth's new striker, Emile Mpenza, will probably have to wait until Saturday's match for his first appearance in Argyle colours.
The 30-year-old Belgian, who is lacking match fitness, was due to start a reserve game at Cheltenham yesterday, but the game was called off after the Whaddon Road pitch was waterlogged.
Argyle had also pencilled in deadline day loan signing Nicolas Marin to make his first appearance.