On-loan Canary midfielder Matty Pattison today paid a glowing tribute to City supporters – revealing that the atmosphere at Carrow Road out-shone that at St James'.
No mean feat for a club still wedged firmly in the bottom three of the Championship – and one that will, once more, sell out every seat for the home clash against Sheffield United this weekend.
?It's unbelievable – getting sell-outs every game,? said the 21-year-old Geordie South African, well-versed to the tribal loyalty of the Toon Army after his five years on Tyneside.
The loyalty of the 'Yellow and Green Army' is in a different league again.
?It's crazy. I can't get over it – there's more atmosphere at Carrow Road than there is at St James' Park. It's massive.?
It was a point that City boss Glenn Roeder touched on at his morning Press conference – and woe betide any of his players that ever take that level of unwavering support for granted.
?Phenomenal,? was the word the new City boss used on Tuesday night after City went into that home clash with Plymouth with the 'Sold out!' signs up at Carrow Road. The same signs that, in every likelihood, will be out again tomorrow.
?So I'll probably have to use the same word again then,? said Roeder, fast developing a big bond of respect with the Canary faithful.
?They're quite unbelievable – it's easy to watch a winning team,? he added. ?It must be so much more difficult to turn up in the thousands that they do to watch a team that hasn't been winning.
?And we've just got to make sure that our players recognise that – and don't ever, ever, ever take the Norwich City supporters for granted.
?Because this year especially, they've shown themselves to be special people,? said Roeder, handed the perfect introduction to the passion that lurks within by his managerial debut against the neighbours.
?That's why I said it was a good fixture for me to start with – Ipswich at home. Because the crowd was always going to be on our side all the way through. And they have been like tha ever since.?
It was in the midst of the debacle at Plymouth (a) where Roeder was granted another, telling insight into the ways of the 'Yellow and Green Army'.
?It was a picture I shall never forget,? he said. ?Simon Lappin coming up to take a corner where our supporters were. They're 3-0 down, they'd travelled for seven hours, seen a non-performance and they've actually applauded him.
?And I've come from that Newcastle crowd that would have been over the wall and would have taken your head off. And that kind of sharpens your mind to try and play a little bit better.?
That said, the ways of the travelling Canary faithful – and their home brethren – demand a different respect.
?If you're a good person and have got a good attitude, you will appreciate how our supporters are. How they have stuck with us.
?We have got good lads with good attitudes,? he warned. ?But if I ever think that any one of them ever forgets that I will come down on them very quickly because I can't tell you how important they are going to be for us for the rest of the season – we're still going to have ups and downs.?
Hopefully, however, the only way now is going to be up after those three wins in the last four games hauled Norwich right back into the relegation pack.
A back-to-back home win tomorrow could yet take City out of the bottom three – a remarkable achievement given where Norwich were firmly heading on Roeder's arrival.
?Everyone in the dressing room is buzzing; really happy, so hopefully we can get another three points on Saturday and climb even higher,? said Pattison, likely to be firmly in the mix given the fact that Darel Russell is suspended tomorrow.
?Like the manager says, we need to keep trying to win two games out of every three that we play. And if we do that then we'll keep climbing the table.?
Opportunity certainly knocks for the picture to change again tomorrow. That said, the Blades arrive in Norfolk with three away wins on the spin under their belt and with James Beattie in the kind of form that once had him in the full England set-up.
It is the form of QPR, Preston North End, Blackpool and Co that is, for now, of even greater interest to Pattison.
?To be fair there are a few clubs that are being dragged into it and are closer to us now on 21 points, 22. So hopefully if results go our way on Saturday and they get beat and we win, then we can climb a bit higher.?
As for his own future, the bull-ish midfielder is still hoping for a full-time deal once the January transfer window opens; that, the suggestion was, was already sat on the table.
?I'm hoping so,? said Pattison, quizzed as to whether he saw his future in Norfolk.
?Obviously I want to stay a lot longer and maybe even sign a permanent.
?I'm enjoying it so far, so I don't want to go back to Newcastle – I just want to play football.?
Roeder was dropping broad hints that in Russell's absence, on-loan Chelsea youngster Jimmy Smith could also figure large.
The 20-year-old now has the new manager's seal of approval after coming on leaps and bounds in training. ?I like him,? was Roeder's succinct verdict this morning, as he promised to speak to Frank Arneson – Chelsea's director of football – about extending his loan spell again.
He may also toy with the idea of going three in the middle to meet United's fire with fire; whether Ched Evans starts his second successive game is another one for today's melting pot.
Roeder did, however, rule out a move for Charlton striker Izale McLeod.
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