One of the great things about a blog is you can write about anything you want to! Today it is all about being a football fan.
To be clear a fan of Norwich City and before we start, here is a short video to remind those that need to know how to score a goal. Should cheer you up!
It is Sunday 12 of January 2014. I woke this morning at around 7:30 a.m. and flicked on the BBC 1 just-in-time for Match of the Day. Knowing the fact that Norwich had lost 2-0 to Everton the day before, I could not describe myself as chomping at the bit for what was about to happen.
As it was certain we would not be the first match of the program, (more like the last) I opened up the iPad and started to read the Sunday Times. Pretty soon I came across the Norwich Match report written by Paul Rowan.
One section in particular grabbed my attention
“Two breathtaking strikes from outside the box, first from Gareth Barry (check the link to see the goal), then a Kevin Mirallas free kick after the interval livened up what otherwise threatened to be a rather run of the mill afternoon at Goodison.
Much of the responsibility for that lies with Norwich who never showed serious intent to threaten the Everton goal consistently, except for late in the game when they would have been flattered that they pulled even a goal back.”
There-in lies the story of the best part of two years at Norwich City.
Having been a fan for the longest time, I have been through the standard ups and downs of an English football fan. Aside from Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, most fans (of teams in the Premier league) will have had a good number of downs as well as ups in their football lives.
Rather like a Sine curve NCFC seem to fluctuate from flashes of great, to the majority of average and onward to periods of seeming disaster.
By way of example, a quick history.
Nigel Worthington gets us promoted 2004 we get relegated 2005. Worthington goes, Peter Grant arrives.(Most memorable comment about the goalkeeper,” Stevie wonder would have seen that one coming!”) Grant was apparently a great coach. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a “pants” manager.
Next came Glen Roeder of Geordie fame and in his first season he rescued the club from relegation to League one. Genius! The next season he descended into madness and chaos. Getting rid of Darren Huckerby and then entering into a one man war with the fans, the team and ultimately the board of directors. The end game came soon enough.
Could things get any worse?
Enter stage right, Bryan Gunn. Gunny was a club legend and ex sheriff of Norwich. Unfortunately, not a very good manager of football clubs and so came relegation to league one.
The timeline to this point was from May 2006 through 18 August 2009 and then the worm turned. Paul Lambert walks through the door, and every single City fan (without knowing it at the time) got on the last train to chaos central.
No money, depressed fans, the same players and the bucket of determination was the starting point that came with Mr Lambert. There followed a swash buckling two years of back to back promotion, exciting attacking football (With quick substitutions if things weren’t working out!) and ultimately promotion to the promised land of the Premier League
One more glorious year of Mr Lambert, finishing 12th in the league, and then he was off like a rat out of an aqueduct to Villa and pastures new.
Norwich city manager number 37 is Chris Hughton. I have been around for about 16 of those, starting with Ron Saunders.
Life in the Premier league has become a really dull affair compared to the previous three years. The crazy money overflowing from sky TV into football has distorted the way the game is played. Mr H, known as “Cautious Chris” in many circles plays the game with a view that it is better not to lose, than it is to win.
That would of course be okay if it worked. It has not. As is the Norwich way we play well (but on the whole lose) against big teams and with struggling teams we seem to lower our standards accordingly. This means either scraping by, drawing, or in the case of Boxing Day losing to a team like Fulham, who we really should have smashed to bits.
I have never known the Norwich faithful to be so split as they are at this time. I don’t think anybody enjoys the way we play right now. A meaningful number of fans (and commentators) have been campaigning for the manager to be fired since the middle of last season. Another significant group believes he should be given more of a chance.
As far as the media goes the excellent correspondents at myfootballwriter.com do their best to create a balanced view that err’s on the side of keeping Mr Hughton in place. Rob Butler of Radio Norfolk said recently,” it’s one step forward and three steps back” suggesting a less than positive view of the current management structure.
I have to say that I am nearer to Rob B, than I am to Myfootballwriter. In my view all we have to look forward to is 4 1/2 months of gut wrenching, dour, conservative, (hold on to that 1-1!!) football.
If we are lucky enough to stay in the Premier league, it will be because others are worse than NCFC, rather than Norwich city being better than anyone else. Happy days!
Real football is hard to find these days. By that, I mean football that is not influenced by having millions of pounds at stake. Premier league football for all but a few is a slog that on occasions is difficult to describe as entertainment.
Playing a more attacking style would not guarantee success. Personally, I could take the failure on the chin if I believed we had gone down fighting. Fighting hard to win rather than just about hold on for a 1-0 against Palace. Fighting in a manner that might have got something extra in the net against Fulham on Boxing Day.
Stay up or go down? Who knows?
At least if we did go down, it would not be for the lack of trying and at least we would see some passion.
Throwing caution to the wind worked against West Brom and Man city at the end of last season with stunning results. Cautious Chris appears to have stamped out that inspirational embryonic flame this year. Here we go for four more months of gut wrenching, nail biting torture.
On top of that! We pay money for this too!
Have a great week!