Two little snippets of news; one, over-looked quote from after Saturday’s home defeat by Leyton Orient. And the connection is?
Quote first; from City boss Paul Lambert.
“When you live in a one-club city everybody feels it when you get beat – and everybody feels the jubilation when you win.
“So the last few years when the club hasn’t had the success that it’s having at the minute – and then everybody gets that winning [feeling] back, it’s been great for them…”
The first snippet of news.
From the club’s own website this evening; confirmation that one of football’s nicest guys – Simon Lappin – has agreed a new deal to tie him to Carrow Road until 2013.
“It’s a great place to be playing your football,” the 27-year-old former St Mirren star told the official site this evening. “I’ve loved it since day one that I’ve been here…’
And, finally, something from the BBC website this week.
‘Packages containing bullets have been sent from Northern Ireland to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and player Niall McGinn, it emerged today.
‘The packages, addressed to the two men, were intercepted by staff at the Royal Mail sorting office in Mallusk, County Antrim, last week. The mail was bound for Celtic Football Club in Glasgow.
‘Police in Northern Ireland said officers were called to Mallusk office on 5 January after postal workers reported suspicions about two items of mail. The items were removed for further examination, and police are investigating the incident.
‘A spokesman for Celtic said: “It is now a police matter and the club has no further comment to make.”’
I suspect the number of people who would claim to really know Canary boss Paul Lambert you could number on the fingers of one hand in this neck of the woods.
And that’s fine; that’s not a quibble or a complaint. The man keeps himself to himself; what the public – and the Press – sees is little more than the cover of the book. And that’s invariably closed.
But the line that was of real interest to me on Saturday night was the one at the very start of this piece: ‘When you live in a one-club city…’
Because Lambert, like Lappin, has spent all-too many years living in a city that isn’t a one-club preserve. It is a two-club kinda place, Glasgow. Which only breeds division.
Ask Mr Lennon. He was dragged out of his car in 2008 after drawing up alongside the wrong sort at a set of traffic lights in Glasgow and was detained overnight in hospital.
His international career with Northern Ireland was also somewhat fore-shortened by threats to both himself and his family. McGinn, too, will now appreciate more what its like to be plying your trade in the most divided footballing city in the United Kingdom.
Norwich City and Ipswich Town might not be the best of friends; but they don’t tend to pop bullets in the post to eachother.
I remember Peter Grant explaining how it took a while for him to relax when, on his arrival in Norwich, he took his kids to a McDonalds for the first time. It was not something he did back home.
David Marshall was the same. He didn’t have to think which bar he was entering; which night-club or restaurant he and his girlfriend were heading for on a Saturday night.
For me, the love of both Lambert and Lappin for a ‘one-club’ city like Norwich is not hard to understand – once you start to understand where their own, formative years were spent.
And it’s not just the supporters either side of that fearsome divide that are unforgiving.
The Scottish media are a law unto themselves; you don’t get to report on either Rangers or Celtic for the Daily Record without having a hide as thick as an elephants. And that’s just the football reporters.
The news desks of the Scottish tabloids will spare no-one’s blushes. They take no prisoners whatsoever; it’s a rough-house on the streets of Glasgow for anyone involved in the bitter goldfish bowl that is Glasgow football.
Enemies lie round every corner just waiting to trip you up.
The contrast with Norwich and Norfolk is stark.
You can relax; you’re not looking to avoid eye contact at traffic lights; you can, for once, take the kids to McDonalds; the wife or the girlfriend to the cinema.
These people have a life outside football; they want to do the same things me and you do. They want to be able to relax; to live a normal life. Which is why Lambert, I suspect, recognises Norwich for what it is; as does Lappin.
As did Grant; as did Marshall.
And when he says he loves the rapport he enjoys with the supporters, I’d believe him.
In a one-club city like Norwich, he can be king – there will be no-one lurking in the shadows looking to rip the crown from off his head.
It’s not, I suspect, something he’s going to give up lightly. This is his kinda town.