It’s guest blog time again and our Don is back! The MFW floor is, once again, Mr Don Harold’s, who takes us through some other teams that he actually quite likes…
Supporting East Anglia’s finest for over 40 years has had more peaks and troughs than a load of Brummie gangsters in an equine feeding station. The present peak is one of my favourites, not least because, after the first few games of the season, it looked nowhere near happening.
During the troughs, I find a slight comfort in looking at the fortunes of other teams I quite like. I won’t talk about the Scottish ones (Celtic, Albion Rovers and St.Mirren) but will concentrate on the teams scattered through the English leagues who we could play.
I really like Sunderland. Not just because of the whole 1985 thing but because of the 1973 FA Cup final. The build-up to that game had been massive, second division Sunderland were given no chance against the then mighty but deeply unpopular Leeds team.
I was 8-years-old and although I loved watching and playing football, I didn’t quite ‘get it’. By the end of the game Ian Porterfield had scored the only goal with about an hour left to play; Jim Montgomery had made one of the most brilliant saves I’ve ever seen and the strangely attired manager, Bob Stokoe, had danced across Wembley in celebration. I knew then that supporting an underdog team was going to be just fine.
Growing up with the name Donald in Norwich made me an obvious target for what would now be called bants. I could only take so many Donald Duck references before getting in a scrap or two and got mightily annoyed when Mr Slack, my form teacher when I was 10, sang Donald Where’s Your Troosers every time I walked in the classroom.
Because of this, I kept my middle name of Alexander a closely guarded secret but, because of their name being almost the same as mine, I came to like Crewe Alexandra. They were constantly applying for re-election but, probably because their ground is easy to get to, they remained in the league. It was a joy, years later, to celebrate promotion on the pitch at Gresty Road.
I feel sorry for Stockport County. I saw them at Carrow Road about the time when Carlton Palmer was manager and thought they looked like a brilliant young side and sat in the uncovered stand at Edgeley Park when we beat them 3-1 in League 1.
They have been victims of the wrong type of investment, as their rich buyer was only interested in rugby and left the football team to rot. They look as though they’re making a recovery of sorts now.
I quite like Newcastle mainly because of the excellent city centre location of their ground which gives quick access to the joys of the Quayside and the Bigg Market, West Bromwich Albion because they’re not Wolves, and Spurs because they signed the exotic Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa (we signed Drazen Muzinic a couple of years later as our first exotic overseas signing….oh dear!).
Reading this back, I realise that, with the exception of Celtic, none of these teams win trophies on a regular basis but, like Norwich City, their fans will have taken joy in the ecstasy of promotion and competing with teams with much bigger resources from time to time.
Norwich are providing me with all the football joy I need at the moment and are the only team I truly care about, but good luck to these others as well.
Cheers as ever to Don … he’ll be back.