During the course of the season we have regularly heard the passionate thoughts of Yellow Army foot soldier, Anita Byrne-Phillips. And so for the final time in 2015/16, take it away ABP…
I have had a season-ticket for 17 years – OK there was a short break in the middle, married someone who hated football [big mistake], divorced and renewed season ticket [great decision] – and I have witnessed a few relegations.
Unfortunately they just don’t get any easier to endure and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to shed a tear last Wednesday night.
But I’m sure I’m not alone – in football you’re never alone – and I am positive there have been a fair few grown men over the course of time supporting their team who have done the same.
But it’s been a tough one.
Villa away: This was my worst away-day to date. I stood, the rain pelting down my face, with a small child standing on his chair facing me rather than the pitch who preceded for almost the full 90 mins to scream “kick it, kick it” into my left ear.
And if that wasn’t painful enough there was the game itself. And it was afterwards that it dawned we didn’t have the quality or perhaps even the desire to stay in the Premier League.
Aston Villa had been awful all season and we couldn’t even grind out a result away against them. Perhaps that was the start of #alongcamenorwich.
And that became the theme of the season.
If the opposition had a striker not hitting the target, had had a bad few games or a run of bad luck just throw little ol’ Norwich in as their next game.
But that aside we simply didn’t find the necessary quality in attack and, put simply, our lack of goals meant a lack of points. And we have now slid back to the Championship.
Last Wednesday, in a week that made Norwich fans question everything from the team to behind the scenes, I feared the atmosphere would be one of impending doom.
There were even rumours of protests, fans calling for all the board to resign, for Alex Neil to be sacked, and questions asked of who was worthy of wearing our shirt.
I wondered if the ground would be half-full and it was with trepidation that I entered the turnstile and made my way straight to the empty bar for some Dutch courage.
What transpired though surprised me. Despite fans being divided by the marmite McNally and what could be round the corner, we saw a great game of football.
There was initially a Great Escape backdrop but even as it became clear there wasn’t going to be one and with the Watford celebrating the Sunderland goals, the chants notched up to a fever pitch.
We were in this together. United we stood.
We may have gone down in footballing terms but we were uplifted, standing proud, singing loud, voices in unison, arms aloft.
This is our club, this is where our loyalties lie. We may disagree about the CEO, the best striking partnership or the back-four, but we have a sense of belonging.
And we all have one thing in common: a love for our club. We fill Carrow Road week in week out. We are one big family.
So let’s remember that atmosphere. It was intense. It may have just kept our manager here. It humbled him. It even made newspaper columns.
We didn’t get relegated demonstrating against owners, we held our heads high. We did our club proud.
I think we know we have got what it takes to be a bigger club. Colney will be undergoing a refurbishment in the summer and we have now appointed a head of recruitment, which I feel is where our failure to strengthen lies.
Our scouting network also needs addressing; all part of the same issue of failing in the transfer market.
We have to just hope whoever comes in can put that into place. McNally has laid the groundwork – turning us from a club on the brink of administration to a financially sound business – but we are not a commodity.
We proved last Wednesday that as fans and we are dedicated and without fans there is no football.
So let’s see if we can put ourselves through it all again. Look out Championship we’re coming for you….!
City Till I Die
Thanks again Anita. I’m sure we’ll hear from her again once the Championship campaign is up and running.