And so it came to pass that on the 26th day of April, in the year of 2008, Saint Glenn of Newmarket brought Norwich City back from the brink of the abyss…
With his fellow apostles, Saint Lee and Saint Paul, a miracle was proclaimed. There were witnesses: 25,000 Norfolkians gathered in prayer, heads bowed and hands clasped. First, a young Welsh boy glided over the surface of the Carrow fields, before Saint Glen's chosen one – Foz of Scot – brought a chorus of hallelujahs. Scoring from midfield, he proved Norwich's resurrection beyond doubt.
It was left only to a Natty Dread – raised to fight the demons of Babylon cast up from a ruined Roman shell (Londonium) – to place the sacred seal on proceedings. Minutes later, two wise old men – Huckus of Genius and Dion the Magnificent – were seen wandering out towards the wilderness lands beyond the Fine City, cheered on their way by the hordes who wept openly at their sacrifice.
At the last moment, some say Huckus turned back (beat his man twice and floated a cross to the back post…
Now, it could be argued that Stan is getting a little bit carried away here [As if, ed…]. Fair enough.
But cast your minds back. Think of, say, Sheffield Wednesday or Scunthorpe at home earlier in the season, when Norwich looked like a team of broken men, unsure of how or where to play, afraid to attack, too jittery to defend, unable to even muster a shot on goal. Or think of Wolves, QPR and Plymouth away, where Norwich's footballing history reached new nadirs of desperation.
We were, in November, points adrift at the bottom of the league. Colney was home to a coach-less squad; players were divided amongst themselves. So low on confidence were 'our boys' that each game felt like 11 men reliving Scott Carson's meaningful debut for England.
We were down-and-out, it was as simple as that.
To have recovered from such a hopeless position is, Stan would argue, quite remarkable. If not a miracle, then it is at least an achievement that Saint Glen and all the players can be rightly proud of.
Of course, there is one more game to go. As such, a proper dissection of this most roller-coaster of seasons must wait another week. In the meantime, we can at least look to Hillsborough as a nice day out rather than a day of judgement. We can even begin to discuss who will stay and who will go in the close season, sure in the knowledge of what division we will be playing in. Happy days indeed …
As for our final home game of 2007-8, it was a joy. First, the sun was out – Norwich always looks glorious in the summer.
Second, we were gifted the perfect start when Damion Stewart saw red. In amidst the hub-bub, Stan quietly but confidently saw this as an omen, something he proclaimed more loudly when Ched 'Sign him up!' Evans volleyed in the first goal. This, Stan shouted to the Barclay tops, was going to be our day.
Third, we dominated from start to finish and scored lots of goals. Let Stan write that again, we scored lots of goals. Lots of goals. GOALS. And we could have got more. Indeed, the only sour note of a great day was seeing Jamie's confidence in front of goal continue to ebb away as the game went on. As it was, Foz and Rusty proved that there was more to their game than gifted midfield play, knocking in a couple of crackers to get the party started.
Finally, Stan likes a parade. And while not as synchronised as a proper Red Square effort, the lap of honour was – for the first time in at least two years – well-received and well-deserved. More importantly, it gave us all a chance to show our appreciation to two legends in Dion and Hucks.
Rightly crowned Player-of-the-Season, Dion brought back to Carrow Road what Martin Peters and Mike Channon offered in the 1970s and 1980s: a touch of real class. It was a pleasure, even in those games when he was surrounded by headless chickens, to witness Dion's calm, poise and vision. He will be remembered as a truly brilliant footballer, and we can all feel honoured that he adorned the yellow-and-green.
As for Hucks, is this end? For what it's worth, Stan would love to see the great man stay another year.
This might mean him coming on for cameos mid-way through the second half. It might mean his being dropped away to Ipswich!!
Whatever, Hucks has become an integral part of Norwich City's history, the latest in a great line of exciting wing men. More to the point, he still has the ability to lift the crowd, open up the play and change the game. If he does go, then he will be missed. If he stays, he will remain a true Norwich City hero and forever the fans' favourite.
As it is, Stan better get his head round that final game of the season. His great pal Chris 'Biddy Badger' Smith will no doubt have a costume ready. Mrs Stan will no doubt question the wisdom of going to a meaningless game. But whatever the score, Norwich City will line up in the Championship next season and Stan sees a bright future ahead. On the ball, City …