The memory fades. And the similarities may not even work.
But I suspect most Canary fans will recall the moment when they really began to believe that 2003-2004 could be their season – somewhere around the moment, four days before Christmas, when the newly-arrived Leon McKenzie grabbed the first of his two goals away at Ipswich.
With his fellow, new signing Mathias Svensson proving an equal hit down in Suffolk that day, City fans sensed something might just be in the wind as they gleefully returned back up the A140; top of the league at Portman Road.
Which is where, of course, the comparison ends. City still have a long, long way go to overhauling QPR at the top of the Championship – even if they have now taken four points off Neil Warnock’s men.
And they have only graced the top two for 24 hours before the Bluebirds ended Leeds United’s fine run of form of late and stole back into the automatic promotion places a day after City nicked in there via that 1-1 away draw at Middlesbrough.
The game at Carrow Road on January 14th already looks a classic in the making – particularly given that a certain C Bellamy will be making a return to his spiritual home.
But, I just wonder whether that point at the Riverside – in the teeth of injury after injury – might not be the moment that City fans begin to believe that something special could be afoot this campaign.
Because I think Paul Lambert’s guard started to slip too; started to look upwards – as opposed to downwards at that 50-point safety mark.
Put him in front of a Radio Norfolk microphone tomorrow morning and I’m certain that the guard will return; the ‘finishing line’ – were it not for the small matter of an FA Cup clash with Orient – would, once more, be that 50-point mark.
Fresh from the battle, however, and the manner in which Lambert talked about the need to ‘protect’ his big players for whatever the rest of this season had to offer was the talk of a man that knew his launch platform was in place.
Through their magnificent efforts of late, the Canaries had the foundation stones laid; they can push off and push on from a platform of safety.
It will take some doing not to pick up half-a-dozen more points from the next 21 games. Even in Lambert’s worst nightmares, Norwich can’t surely collapse in such an utter heap.
Can they, by contrast, pull another 35-odd points out of the bag from the last remaining 63 points…?
To which the answer is fast moving from ‘possibly’ towards ‘probably’.
Whether they have the extra eight to ten points it might require to turn a ticket to the play-off lottery to one with a £60 million Premiership bonus attached remains, for me, another matter.
City – for as much as they are a team in the ilk of the Class of 03-04 – can still ill afford big injuries to their big players at big moments in what’s left of this season; hence Lambert’s safety-first policies when it comes to the likes of both Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt.
It will be very telling whether either feature against the less than mighty Os this weekend – particularly given the fact that Cardiff are next up the following weekend.
As much as Canary fans love a good cup run – and are, clearly, long, long over-due one – it remains a question of priorities; draw a Blackburn or a Bolton away in Round Four and your heart does tend to sink; or perhaps that’s just me.
There are a whole clutch of Premiership clubs whose glitter has long since faded; there’s nothing but an ugly slog awaiting a cup visitor to either Ewood Park or the Reebok.
And one, dare we suggest, that a promotion-hunting Norwich could do without?
I don’t know; the purists blood would no doubt start to boil at such thoughts; though how many ‘purists’ still inhabit Planet Football is another matter; the pragmatists have long ago taken over the football asylum.
You do what it takes to get up; you then do whatever it takes to stay up – that’s the brutal reality of an increasingly brutal and brutish game; one in which the richer merely seem to get richer.
And the rest become, well, desperate…
It’s really not that much of a beautiful game any more.
Still, the cup can wait for 36 hours. For now I suspect many a Canary fan will still be basking in the warm glow that came with being second for 24 hours – and all in the increasingly confident knowledge that that opportunity may well come again.
Kicking off in nine days time with that visit from Mr Bellamy.
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