Have any of you ever actively wanted to swerve a visit to Carrow Road – as in you would rather have been anywhere else but there that day?
Sure, the possibility of ‘meeting’ some irritating Leeds fans or what constitutes Millwall on the road isn’t exactly appealing, but we all take that for what it is and go to the game anyway. Of course we do.
Maybe we have that stomach-churning dread when we’re playing Fulham. Perhaps we dislike you-know-who and Wolves enough to take the anticipatory gloss off proceedings in a minor way. But we still turn up because we want to be there in the hope that we give the clubs I’ve mentioned a thorough pasting.
Well, last week, I did not want to go to Carrow Road.
I was told I must be there at 08:45 for 09:00, not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and my attitude had to be that of the cherubic schoolboy or I would be removed from the stadium. And it cost me £80 for the “privilege”. Not having my driving licence with me would have equated to not having my season ticket.
Yes you’ve guessed it – I was on a Speed Awareness Course.
I nearly fell through the floor when I found out The Carra was a venue for these things. I could have chosen other places, but as I’d never been in our reception office block before I thought I might as well go for it. The instructions from Norfolk County Council (don’t you just love ‘em) and the Police who administer these things was so vague I thought I’d better phone up NCFC for some tangible advice.
A lovely lady on Main Reception laughed loud and long, and explained where us naughty boys and girls had to be. I thanked her, and she asked what I’d done “wrong”.
I said I was caught by a camera doing 35mph in a 30mph zone at 06:50 with nothing whatsoever on the road. She then said “well Mr Kray, you are a very naughty boy indeed“.
Assuming I was Reg, she said she was sure Ron would look after our mum while I was banged up for four hours.
The elongated but pertinent point I’m making here is that the attitude amongst City staff has lifted along with our new structure. Just a year ago, I would probably have got a disgruntled “go back to your course organiser” type of response. This lady (who I’m sure I’ll never meet) was helpful beyond belief and a right laugh.
Arriving on the morning, I spoke to several NCFC staff members – without mentioning I was Reggie Kray – and all of them, without exception, were cheerful in the extreme. I posed the question (anonymously) and everybody answered they were happier in their work.
Apart from one very young guy who told me he’d only been there for a fortnight and didn’t really understand what I meant. Bless!
No rose-tinted glasses from me: if you’ve ever done one of these courses, you will know they are the most bum-numbingly boring and ill-informative things around. Having a laugh with our staff helped get me through it.
But, there were 23 sad souls in the 101 room on that day at £80 a time, which should bring in about £1,500 for the club after operating costs for an otherwise unused room.
And on my way out, I decided to get semi-deliberately lost. The pitch looks utterly fantastic; I went down to pitch level without trespassing obviously, but it looks as good as I’ve ever seen it. Even the grass seems to be looking forward to the new season.
And on the way out, I took a quick look at the Barclay from the outside and realised it won’t be long now.
Until all of us here at MFW have some real football to read and write about. Bring it on
* There are no prizes, but if anyone gets the Elvis reference, identify it and there will be plenty of respect coming from me!