Wow… none of us will forget the Easter Monday of 2019 in a hurry.
And who would have guessed that the City hero to emerge from the day would be an ex-Canary. Sergi Canos we salute you.
I’ve been banging the ‘let’s do this ourselves and not rely on favours from others’ drum for some time now but four draws from the last four games have altered the landscape. Unbeaten in 12 we may be but four points from the last 12 have led to an unhealthy interest in results elsewhere.
Fortunately, as City’s game at the Bet365 Stadium was being played simultaneously with Sheffield United’s stroll at the KCOM, we were spared the agony of observing a gurning and whooping Chris Wilder, but the timing of Brentford/Leeds made it impossible not to watch.
Having said that, having watched 192-minutes of football with so much hanging on them, seldom can I recall being so emotionally drained. Brentford’s win has taken us to the cusp – only a concoction of freak results can deny us – but having been put through the wringer to such an extent, it was difficult to process.
The cold light of day was supposed to bring clarity. That I’m still mulling it all over probably means it hasn’t but at least the sums are clear now – a point against Blackburn on Saturday night and we’re definitely up. That much I do know.
I also know that even though we’re on the brink, it won’t be plain sailing and our heroes in yellow will likely make us perspire one final time before crossing that line. It’s what they do.
The fact we’re staggering across the finishing line rather than smashing the tape into smithereens mustn’t, however, detract from the magnitude of the achievement. Agonising it may have been over the last few weeks, but this is a modern day fairytale.
In 21st-century footballing parlance, the club has no right to be where it is. No money, no billionaire owners, no big names, selling its best players to balance the books, a coach with little Championship experience. The list goes on.
But the rule book has been ripped up. Modern, innovative thinking and quality coaching have triumphed over fancy names, fat wallets and traditional methods.
And, on the field, courtesy of this brave new world, we’ve taken ourselves to the cusp of something great by playing the most aesthetically pleasing football that most of us can ever recall seeing on the Carrow Road turf.
There would be no place for a story like this in Roy of the Rovers because it would be deemed daft and unrealistic.
Readers of this column will know that in the past, I’ve been critical of Delia and Michael’s reticence to seek financial help when this club needed it most, but I’ve nothing but respect for how they’ve managed the post-Alex Neil era.
The self-funding model was borne of necessity but out of it came a willingness to look beyond the traditional norms – to change the shape of a club that for too long had religiously followed the well-worn path without having the financial oomph to keep up.
The sporting director/head coach plan was a board decision that was led by Ed Balls but for it to succeed it needed the right personnel to be slotted into the key roles. Enter Stuart Webber.
Whoever pointed the board in the direction of Huddersfield in this search deserves the freedom of the city. So too does Webber himself for appointing Daniel Farke and his team.
To see the job through in front of a packed Carrow Road next Saturday would be a fitting denouement of phase one of this project. Delia and Michael deserve their moment – I sincerely hope they soak up every single second.
I’m not sure if, in the club’s history, a promotion has been technically achieved at home – I’m sure someone will tell me – but it will be a first for me.
The closest I can get to a Carrow Road occasion of this ilk, from memory, is when Dave Stringer’s header against Crystal Palace saved the club from relegation from Division One in April 1973. But I was in short trousers then and cannot recall the finer points.
This one could be really special, assuming Ipswich don’t achieve the impossible and manage to avoid defeat at Bramall Lane in the hours leading up to our date with destiny.
Returning to the agony of yesterday for a moment, there were a few who used the 260 minutes between the final whistles at the Bet365 and Griffin Park to take potshots at City players, at other City fans and to reignite Twitter feuds that had been forgotten, but thank God calm was restored when it became clear that ‘Leeds falling apart again’ really was a thing.
Minus the interventions of Neal Maupay and Canos, this would have been one tetchy old week, but hopefully even the most cynical of cynics can see the job is almost done… and rather than dig out any of our heroes in yellow, whose form has dipped at the end of an exhausting season, or fellow Canaries whose views don’t exactly align with our own, let’s try and be nice to each other.
Yes, we conceded a couple of soft, needless goals yesterday but this is a young side with still plenty of room to learn. That yesterday’s game became way too open and end-to-end after the Tom Trybull injury was obvious but it’s also worth remembering that in mid-season we’d probably have regarded a point at Stoke as a good result.
Mistakes that earlier in the season are quickly forgotten become magnified in the height of a promotion run-in – and there’s no denying one or two have been hindered and inhibited by the pressure – but Stuart Webber’s has stayed true to his promise that no City side under his watch would ever be found wanting in terms of effort and desire.
Even in the fallow periods and the difficult moments, the courage and bravery of this group seeps from every single pore.
So, let’s all unite and roar these lads over the line on Saturday night. We can do thunderous receptions. Now’s the time for the mother of them all.
On the Ball City…