Banned City midfielder Matty Pattison has revealed his debt to the Carrow Road faithful for the way that they handed him a big ovation at the end of the most torrid week of his 21-year-old life.
Arrested on the Sunday morning after heading for a training session that wasn't twice over the legal drink-drive limit, by the middle of the week 'Party' Pattison was the subject of national tabloid ridicule as the Daily Mirror claimed that he had arrived at Colney not only half-cut, but half dressed. More 'Pants' Pattison.
He was also, the paper claimed, en route to Tony Adams' Sporting Chance rehab clinic in Hampshire for a serious drying out session in a bid to curb his wild 'Party' ways.
Having admitted his guilt from the start and conceded that he had made the biggest mistake of his young adult life, Pattison might reasonably have feared what would await him after Canary boss Glenn Roeder stood firmly behind his man and named him in the starting XI for that crucial home clash with Colchester United.
Helped in no small part by his own bright, individual performance, the crowd followed the manager's lead and stayed loyal as he was substituted early in the second-half. He was Canary family; you don't turn your back on family – that was Roeder's message and one that struck a chord with the Norfolk way of doing things.
You sense now that Pattison will walk through walls for both manager and supporters.
“It was obviously a big moment for me,” said the South-African bred Geordie, speaking for the first time about the whole affair at an autograph signing session yesterday.
Roeder had already revealed that Pattison was very emotional as he gave his first, full-time capture a big hug on the touchline against the Us. It was, clearly, a very rough week in the heat of the tabloid glare.
“It's been a difficult few weeks, but obviously I'm just trying to keep it all together with the football and that's going good,” said the City midfielder.
“I've had good support from the club and all the players, they have been great – as well as the boss and all the backroom staff so it's been good.”
And then there were the supporters. “The fans have been great as well obviously with that ovation I got when I came off against Colchester,” he told the club's CanariesWorld TV service. “It shows how good the fans were going to be about it, great support.”
You suspect that whilst Pattison might have walked away from Norwich Magistrates Court last Monday minus a couple of grand and a set of car keys, he will equally have learned some lessons for life.
The art of tabloid spin, for example. In fairness, we – the media – all indulge. Just some rather more than others.
“I was a bit disappointed with that but when you play football and you are in the public eye stuff like that is going to happen so you have to take it on the chin. It's a bit disappointing but there's nothing I can do about it,” said Pattison.
“Obviously I made a mistake and I'm going to learn from it. I've been punished for it and now I have to learn to get on with it and learn by it.”
He does, he says, simply want to let his football do the talking. The fact that he is in someone's first team plans at all is a rewarding change to his reserve team existence at St James' Park.
“That's what the boss and everyone has told me to do – one way to put it all behind you is with the football and obviously play well I've just got to do that,” he told CanariesWorld. “I'm loving it [my football], it's all I want to do really and just concentrate on that.”
Certainly all eyes will now be on this weekend's home clash with Burnley after the whole Andy D'Urso affair left the Canaries sat right back in the relegation pack – even if their current level of performances belies their still-lowly status.
But at this, the business end of the season, it is results that matter. Nothing else. Three points and the Canaries, in every likelihood, will be one win short of the finishing line.
“It was sickening, all the lads were devastated with all the good work being undone by a bad decision,” said Pattison, with D'Urso entering his name into City's Hall of (In)Fame last Saturday.
“I thought he had given the free kick to us. But we need to pick ourselves up for Saturday now.”
When three points will be the only thing on the agenda.
“It's going to be a big game but we aren't going to change our style or anything we have just got to keep playing football and hopefully do the same thing that we did to Colchester.”
Do that and it will be time to hit the party button come Saturday night. Or not, with the Daily Mirror insisting that there was now a clubbing 'ban' in place.
More, suggests Pattison, of simply being more professional.
“He wants us all to be professional; he doesn't want us out on the drink,” he said. “He wants us to be all together and concentrate on staying up and keeping the club in the Championship and, hopefully, building for next season.”