It started off as a normal sort of day at 28 Stanley Avenue. Dog walked, papers bought and scoured for hope.
Few texts exchanged, nervous stomach, kiss for Mrs Stan and Stan juniors and a departure from the house that more befitted a man heading for the gallows than one off to spend his 'leisure pound'!
A 30-minute walk and brief pub visit later, Stan stood in his usual vantage point flanked by Tim and Big Dunc. Then came the moment that something changed. At five to three, as darkness fell, and a gentle mist rose from the crowd the tannoy crackled a fitting eulogy to the late, great Graham Paddon and the minute's applause began to echo around the ground.
As Stan fixed his gaze at the very same little grassed rectangle on the bank of the Wensum where Graham had made his name and won our hearts, a faint ghost-like 'One Graham Paddon?..there's only one Graham Paddon…' rose muffled from the Lower Barclay below and a tear came to Stan's eye.
Would Paddon have thrown in the towel and sulked in the corner of the dressing room? Would he have disappeared when things were going against him? Would he have formed a Machiavellian clique? Like hell he would, and his is exactly the mentality the whole club has got to gain are we to get out of this hole.
Let's all put the petty and often personal recriminations aside and get on with making us truly proud to say we are City fans again. We need to do this together, not sniping from the sidelines and calling for ego-trip induced protests.
Finger pointing can wait, right now every last one of us has a job to do, get behind the team and support with a passion befitting the City and club we love.
As has been mentioned a number of times this week, Roeder has spotted the lack of physicality in the squad and has gone about addressing it. What he has also alluded to numerous times is the importance of us, the fans.
It is us who set the tone and can drive the team upward and onward, we did it at half time against Ipswich, we did it yesterday. The players responded, the crowd demanded more and the players produced. It was wonderful to feel part of and didn't the post match pint taste better because of it?
OK, it was only a win against an out of sorts Coventry but it somehow felt much more. We won, and for the first time in months we deserved to.
We were the better side. We harried and tackled, threw ourselves in front of shots and passes, took our chances and didn't buckle under pressure. The line remained high and the ball remained on the ground.
Roeder made some brave decisions and these were all proved good ones. Stan was initially sceptical about the return of Fotheringham along side Russell, but it worked. The ground Russell covered was worth two men and Fozzy got the ball down and played.
Dion gave us 90 minutes of splendid endeavour. Camara added athleticism and a bit of nous and Taylor proved to all those assembled why we have all blathered on for so long about signing a centre-half.
'Pogo' Patterson looks likely to be a gem and Jamie popped up on the end of a wonderful move whilst our new thoroughbred chomped at the bit from the sidelines. Every last player put in a shift, and it's a long, long time since Stan last said that.
One swallow doesn't make a summer and we could well blow it on Tuesday night and be back to the drawing board, but there are grounds for hope. Should we lose at Blackpool or Stoke we just pick ourselves up and go again, and again, and again.
So, on we all go, as one, together. It's all that Graham Paddon would have expected; it's all he knew.
On the Ball City!
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