I had a very interesting exchange in the comments section of Steve Cook’s excellent article yesterday with our very own MFW regulars Alex B and Dan Rear concerning the advantages and disadvantages of chanting at the Carra.
We all agreed that it boosts the atmosphere, genuinely helps the players and that some of the older, more explicit chants should be binned off as in these modern times they might be construed as offensive in certain quarters, as amusing as they were back in the day. The term “PC” featured in the exchanges.
That made me consider how football brings people together, on the pitch, in the stadium and just about everywhere really. I will return to this “topic” shortly.
Now there are some politicians and broadcasters I heartily disapprove of, not because of their colour or race, but because I consider them ineffectual and think they talk a load of carp.
Equally, I grew up with Sir Trevor McDonald as a newsreader and presenter on TV and I cannot fault the man. Not because he’s black but because he’s bloody consistently good at his job.
I don’t like Graham Norton, but I love the work of Stephen Fry. Both are openly gay but that doesn’t concern me one jot.
So with terms of reference set out, let’s consider the Norwich City “first-18”, if you don’t mind me putting it that way.
From memory, we have a Dutchman (or very occasionally a Northern Irishman) between the sticks. Two young English wing-backs and one of those has Northern Ireland caps.
“All the Germans” goes without saying but in addition, we have an English centre-back, a Scottish centre-back and a Swiss-German one to boot.
We possess a Norwegian-Ghanaian as a holding midfielder coupled with aforementioned Germans. And further forward we have an Argentinian Spaniard, a Cuban-German and that Finnish lad who doesn’t know where the net is.
The bench could always provide a further Englishman, Scotsman or yet another German!
And our signings for the Under-23s on Tuesday comprised one English guy with a Nigerian father and a young Moroccan striker.
Talking of Moroccans, I once had the privilege of meeting Youssef Safri in the Rising Sun in Coltishall when he was on a lunch date with his girlfriend.
He couldn’t emphasise enough how delighted he was with his native country’s flag on display in the Lower Barclay and said how much he loved his song (Moroccan All Over the World, of course). He understandably didn’t know who Status Quo were and had never heard the original but loved it all the same.
He laughed when I said I wished I’d never heard them either after his girlfriend and bartender Dawn comically mimed their thumbs in belt-loops hair-shaking style. Lovely bloke.
So to the few dinosaurs out there (and there regrettably are one or two still in the swamps who emerge at the Carra on a matchday), Norwich City is diversity in action. And has been for seemingly eons.
Every fan of every club would say the same – we’re not unique in this respect by any manner of means – but surely nobody in this day and age cares where any of the squad members, fans or staff comes from.
Football is a great leveller and is all the better for it.
As I’ve mentioned matters political above, I feel I have to end on such a note. A good mate of mine who’s IQ would probably dwarf even that of Stephen Fry said at the weekend: I don’t give a stuff about Brexit as long as freedom of movement for footballers remains.
And at least I didn’t proffer my views on Blair, Cameron and Corbyn. My language might have been worse than that used in some of those old chants!