At my grandparents’ house, there was a small model alpine cabin that would provide a rudimentary weather forecast. A tiny lady figurine would appear through a door on one side, if it was going to be sunny and a man with a brolly – much like Steve McClaren at Wembley – would emerge from the other side, if it was going to rain.
As they lived in Bergen (Norway’s wettest city), the lady made fewer appearances than Matt Jarvis.
City’s results have a similar effect on the fan base – or at least on some of those who take to social media. Win and the ‘sunshine brigade’ come out to play; lose and the ‘wet and windies’ are in full voice.
Symptomatic, perhaps, of what feels like an increasingly polarised world, which tends to deal in absolutes.
Black or white, for or against, right or wrong, leave or remain, Delia in or Delia out.
When it comes to football, results are the most tangible measure of progress and you would think that City’s record and league position would be sufficient to dispel most of the gripes and keep the storm clouds at bay.
Even the most optimistic amongst us would be hard-pushed to say that they expected 2nd place at this (or any) stage of the season, and yet the recent dip in form – two wins from eight league matches plus the obligatory cup exit – has seen a noticeable increase in discontent.
‘The man with the brolly’ has shown his face over recent weeks, to offer such insights as Krul is a liability; Cantwell is lightweight; Aarons will be sold; Farke leaves his substitutions too late.
I don’t intend to counter any of those claims directly or take up the opposing position – there is enough of that on Twitter. For despite how it appears to some, very little is actually black or white, and in the interest of fairness, it’s only right to acknowledge a few things.
City are not the finished article – not by a long way.
We’re not the Wolves from last season who marched imperiously to the Championship title, ruthlessly dispatching sides along the way.
Of the (impressive) 15 league wins picked up so far, only five have come with the comfort of more than a single-goal advantage and of the 52 goals we’ve scored, 21 have come in the final fifteen minutes, with six of them in injury time.
This, of course, is testimony both to the fitness and spirit of the players but also reflective of a team that struggles to put games to bed.
Our ‘game management’ against Birmingham, which was praised by some and which in fairness, got the job done, lacked the genuine self-assurance and conviction that you might expect from table-toppers and was reflective of a side with certain defensive frailties. Frailties that were exposed last weekend by Billy Sharp (twice).
We are a side which consistently looks vulnerable from set-pieces, especially in the second phase, and which features a back-line and keeper who are prone to more than the occasional lapse of concentration.
But here’s the thing; it doesn’t bother me.
In fact, I love it.
There is something genuinely endearing about the current squad and the way they go about things, and whilst my blood pressure would surely benefit from watching a more clinical team cruise towards the top flight, I wouldn’t change a thing.
It’s entertaining, it’s exciting, sometimes excruciating, other times exhilarating.
If we fall short, I will, of course, feel a genuine sense of regret and there will be a time to rue the missed opportunity and dissect the shortcomings.
But I don’t believe that the time is now.
Now is the time to revel in the (over)achievements of a squad that has performed way above and beyond our pre-season expectations.
It’s a time to delight in the drama that seems to follow this team, where even the floodlights seem intent on getting in on the action.
A time to savour the anticipation that comes from challenging at the top of the table, where each game has meaning and invariably brings with it a roller-coaster of emotions.
We currently have a club and a team to be proud of. A team with undoubted weaknesses, but one capable of producing some of the most scintillating football I’ve seen at Carrow Road for years.
We have a Head Coach who has galvanised his players and formed a genuine connection with the fans.
We have a Sporting Director who has overseen an overhaul of the club’s structure and culture and given the club a true identity.
And (tin-hat on), we have owners who instigated it all by appointing Stuart Webber and allowing him to get on with it.
Will it be enough to take us to the Premier League?
No idea, but it’s going to be fun watching us try and the atmosphere at the ground suggests that many City fans feel the same.
For those who prefer to focus on the negatives, a buoyant Carrow Road is currently not the place to be.
(There’s always Bergen where, on average, it rains for 231 days of the year).