January 8th, 1994. FA Cup Third Round day. The mood of Norwich City fans standing at Adams Park, Wycombe, is fraught because our club is in turmoil.
Mike Walker, who led a swash-buckling crusade into Europe a few months earlier, has just decamped to Everton.
City attack the goal behind which the anxious Yellow Army is massed. Seven minutes before half-time Ruel Fox gallops away on the right and slings over a cross. Chris Sutton, our 20-year-old central striker, dives to head Norwich into the lead.
Three minutes before the end of the second half, Sutton thumps in a shot from the edge of the area. We've won 2-0. Wycombe, from the bottom tier of the Football League, have been put in their place by Premier League Norwich.
My young sons shuffle back to the car. I tell them our club will be all right.
We all have memories which, when summonsed now, emphasise how far Norwich City have declined.
That day 12 years ago is the one that serves that purpose for me. My sons are men and next season City will visit Wycombe as equals in football's third tier.
So that is the first message as we survey the dismal wreckage of our hopes: City deserve to be in League One next season, like all the teams we shall play. Let's not have any grandiose delusions about being too big a club for that division, nor harbour patronising notions about the Yeovils and Orients we will play.
On the form displayed at Charlton and in a third of City's matches this season, there are many better teams than us in League One. We will have to scrap for every point.
And that brings me to the second significant message. There is no easy way back, because there is no glib, simple reason for the decline.
We all want to blame someone, because if we can identify a culprit or culprits, then rectifying the flaw will be straightforward. But life, and football, are a lot more complicated than that.
So I reject several of the simplistic arguments currently in vogue.
I reject the view, apparently accepted by chairman Roger Munby, that a lack of commitment by loan players fatally undermined City.
There were four borrowed players in the starting line-up at Charlton: Adrian Leijer, Jason Shackell, David Mooney and Alan Lee. Mooney was listless and ineffectual, but the other three gave everything they had.
Meanwhile, John Otsemobor's marked lack of urgency and Simon Lappin's woeful dearth of athleticism suggested that the issue was not what contractual arrangement anyone had with the club.
I reject, as well, the banal sentiment of “Sack the board!” When it was chanted on Sunday I wanted to ask: “And then what?” How stupid it is to demolish something if you have no idea what to do amid the rubble that is left.
Similarly, “Delia, Delia, sell the club” is a superficial, facile thought.
To whom should she sell? To that queue of Russian oligarchs and petro-rich Arabs forming in Castle Meadow?
I had a chat with Keith Harris recently. He is the chairman of stockbrokers Seymour Pierce, the man who has brokered most of the football club takeovers of recent years and the guy Norwich turned to for help when Andrew and Sharon Turner quit.
Harris never says never. So he's still looking for someone to transform City's finances. Still searching. But he has not found anyone vaguely interested.
Peter Cullum? If anyone still believes that tosh about him offering ?20 million “for players” then they have only read the Norwich newspapers' partisan and shallow coverage of what happened.
In the 34 years during which my job as a football journalist has afforded me a privileged knowledge of the club and the wider game, I have only come across two people who were willing to put a truly significant part of their own money into Norwich City: Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones.
Of course, they have to accept some culpability for what has happened on their watch, but some of the charges laid against them are just bonkers.
Let's deal with them, starting with the crass complaint that too much money has been spent “off the field” and not enough on the team.
The money spent on the new Jarrold Stand, for instance, was raised by long-term loans. No institution would have lent the club that money for footballers.
The old South Stand was crumbling. So the board rebuilt it, and the amount available for the team continues to benefit from the attendances that the magnificent facilities help secure.
Amazingly, there are some who think all Delia's “posh nosh” eateries have been an indulgent mistake. Yet she has not taken a penny out of the club for lending her name and expertise to those enterprises.
The catering generates income. That goes into the team.
The central charge against Delia and Michael is that they stuck by Nigel Worthington too long and then messed up subsequent appointments. That is not my view.
Worthy was our most successful manager of the horrible years that followed that day back at Wycombe in 1994. All our top ten finishes in what is now the Championship came under his guidance.
Those fans who turned against him so soon and so readily after he had given us a season in the Premier League ? and the local newspapers who whipped up that lynch-mob mentality ? should take some of the blame for the way the team's confidence was shredded and the momentum of defeat that gathered pace in the dog days of his tenure.
Next up was Peter Grant. He said: “As No2 at West Ham, I've taken a club into the Premier League and helped keep them there. I want to do it as a No1”. It was a plausible pitch.
With twenty-twenty hindsight we can see that his recruitment policy ? a job lot of slow-coaches from Scottish football ? was profoundly misguided. But when he was given the Norwich job, plenty of people whose judgment I respect told me he would do well.
He did not.
So on to Glenn Roeder who said: “I've hit the post twice (at West Ham and Newcastle). Now I want to score with Norwich”.
Mission accomplished in season one, but his ill-considered and offensive remarks at this season's AGM provoked fans to turn on him and then on his players. I understand that.
But booing is always damaging. Good players lose confidence. Less good players don't want the ball in case they make mistakes and are derided.
I would not have sacked Roeder. But the board remembered what happened in the long, corrosive campaign against Worthington and feared that a similarly sustained offensive against Roeder would wreck the rest of the season.
We now know that it was already damaged beyond repair. So well all feel hurt, humiliation and anger.
Delia is angry as well. Someone close to her told me this week that she “has all guns blazing.” She will direct that anger towards trying to get a strategy and funds in place so that the club she loves can recover.
Unless you have got ?30 million-plus lying around, I suggest you get behind her, for a change.
See you all at Wycombe.
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