It’s so bloody hard to be objective when you’re inside the Canary bubble. We’re all so wrapped up in it, ensconced in it, invested in it, it’s impossible to see what everyone else is seeing.
They see a team that plays the most beautiful football, that’s finding a way to beat every opponent put before them and who are on an imperious march not only to the Premier League but to the Championship title.
We see a team of heroes who we think are doing all of those things but who also have a path ahead of them that is littered with banana skins – one at every turn – with the prize close enough to see but still some way from being in touching distance.
They also see a head coach who is ice cool, who trusts every member of his squad implicitly and who, inconceivably for this time of the season, has a fully-fit squad to pick from. A coach whose squad is carrying out every instruction he gives them to the letter.
We still live in fear of injuries (or suspensions) to key players that could potentially derail our final push, or of a daft refereeing decision that could deny us a point or three when we need it most.
But we need to start listening to the ‘experts’ and Ian Holloway. To a man and woman they believe we’re nearly there. That it’s almost job done.
And I have to confess, experts we most certainly are not, but my dad and I had a moment yesterday just after Teemu Pukki slid in goal number three.
‘We’re going up aren’t we, Dad’
‘You know what, I think we are, boy’
A daft, stating-the-bloody-obvious type exchange to many, but to two gnarled, grizzled veterans of many a failed promotion campaign, that was about as brave and daring as it gets with six games to go.
The false dawns, the disappointments, the numerous heartbreaks, have all taken their toll, and we’ve become almost conditioned to fear the worst and take anything good or brilliant as a bonus.
In everyday life, my dad lives his with a half-full pint glass in his hand and has encouraged me to do the same. But this is football. This is Norwich City. Until Christoph or Alex or Grant or Timm are there on the balcony of City Hall with the trophy held aloft neither of us will fully believe.
Yet, there was evidence aplenty on offer yesterday to suggest that this is indeed our time.
Of course, QPR were poor, probably the weakest opposition we’ve seen at Carrow Road this season (yes, including that lot), but over the aforementioned years, we’ve lost to plenty of cr@p sides and managed to find a way to drop points. At that level, no game is easy, and even QPR yesterday would have had a sniff if City were operating at, say, 90 per cent.
But that was never likely to happen. They were on it from minute one and to offer up a footballing masterclass of that magnitude under that kind of pressure was exceptional.
It’s one thing rolling over weaker opponents during the season when there is no finishing line in sight and the only objective is to accumulate points. It’s quite another to beat those same opponents when you have to win. Those who have played the game will know what I mean.
Things that earlier in the season were done instinctively can become the victim of too many touches. Those who are normally relaxed in front of goal feel their shoulders tightening up when an opportunity comes their way, and everything seems that little bit more difficult and disjointed.
That’s what can and sometimes does happen.
But these are extraordinary times at Carrow Road. This is an extraordinary squad. And we have an extraordinary head coach.
None of those things happened yesterday. Not one. It flowed, the passing was precise, Pukki was ice-cool in front of goal and with just seven games to go, with the biggest prize in sight, they conjured up an opening 45 that was as good as anything they have produced over the course of the whole season.
QPR’s resistance was futile. But it’s not just QPR who they will take to the cleaners when it purrs like a Rolls Royce engine as it did yesterday.
There was an obvious downside of course in the form of Emi Buendia’s needless red card but it has been coming for some time.
Part of what makes him so brilliant – and he is absolutely brilliant right now – is that he plays on the edge. He competes for every ball, no cause is lost, and because he takes plenty of stick himself, there are plenty of candidates to ‘leave something’ on.
Only he knows if that was his intention yesterday, and it could just have been simply over-zealousness, but no complaints about the red card from me. We’ll miss his individual flair, but there are plenty of options in that midfield area. We’ll just have to do things differently over the next few games.
And so we march on. Leeds slipping up was a bonus (so too their fans playing the ‘no-one tries against Norwich’ card) but it really matters not what is happening in the minor placings behind us.
From Daniel Farke to Stuart Webber to the players to all the staff… there is a focus and determination inside Carrow Road right now to get this job done and get it done in style.
There is nothing this group deserves more than to get their hands on a trophy. Let’s play our part in making damn sure they do. And my dad… he deserves it too.
You may have noticed that in order to *hopefully* safeguard the future of MyFootballWriter, we’ve started a fund-raising drive using the Patreon membership model. If you think you could help, or if you’re at least intrigued as to what it’s all about, please have a look here.
We’ve made a steady start but there’s still some way to go before we can look forward to, hopefully, reporting on City as they mix it with the elite of the English game. We’d really appreciate your help people.