It may have taken a while, but when it arrived it was well worth the wait.
In typical Norwich fashion, the first win arrived when we least expected it. Logic said it should have been achieved against the QPRs or West Hams of this world, but not us.
Instead we save it for the visit of a high-flying Arsenal side, over whom the pundits have recently been eulogising.
Bizarrely, those same ‘experts’ who were predicting a Premiership title challenge and a good Champions League run are now questioning the strength and quality of Wenger’s class of 2012.
The effect an unexpected City win can have on the TV and radio media is odd, to say the least. Alan Shearer’s contorted expression – when given little choice but to afford City that odd concept called praise – was amusing but mild compared to Harry Redknapp’s fierce, red-faced condemnation of the Gunners.
Whilst both had no option but to admit City played well, their only logical explanation for this odd occurrence was that the visitors were rubbish. It may be my green and yellow tinted glasses coming into play, but I prefer to think that we simply didn’t allow them to play well.
If that winning feeling wasn’t sweet enough, I was reminded during Saturday evening ‘s triumphant march back over Carrow Bridge that some of the visiting guests – from that North London enclave called, Beccles – were predicting their heroes would put six past us. Oh how wrong…
That buzz of elation we all enjoyed – and hopefully are still enjoying – is something that our friends from Islington (or Beccles) will never understand. Equally, those from Manchester, Merseyside or West London will never quite grasp how it feels to topple one of the big boys. How could they?
The closest any of them get is the odd occasion they lock horns with Barcelona or Real Madrid, when they find themselves in the position of underdog. Even a win against a fellow Premiership mini-league ‘giant’ must struggle to generate that same adrenalin rush we all experienced at 7:25 on Saturday evening.
For supporters like us, it’s fair to say the good times will be outnumbered by the bad.
For every victory over Arsenal there are probably a dozen games that fail to get even close to recreating that same buzz. Our staple is a mixture of bore draws; victories borne of attrition; disappointing defeats; and performances that border on the indifference.
Nothing wrong with that – and for your average football supporter that’s the norm. In fairness, over the last three seasons the good/bad balance has tilted in our favour.
But that’s why Saturday was so special… days like those don’t come along very often.
It’s both difficult and unfair to single out individuals (I’m starting to sound like Chris Hughton) but it was difficult to ignore the contribution of one Wes Hoolahan.
Whilst Alexander Tettey deservedly gained the sponsors and the Sunday papers’ Man of the Match award, it was our little Irish magician who epitomised everything that was good about the performance.
We all know about his ability to dribble and mesmerise, but to then couple that with a lung-bursting work ethic was spine-tingling. His 50-yard sprint to give Grant Holt an option – when he eventually failed in an attempt to chip Mannone – typified his evening’s work.
Michael Turner is also worthy of a mention. Derided by many – including yours truly – he, from somewhere, found a performance so assured and solid it was hard to associate it with the same individual who floundered horribly against Fulham and Liverpool.
If his free header, from the excellent Anthony Pilkington’s corner, has nestled in the back of the Arsenal net it would have capped off a near-perfect shift. Who knows, some of the River End hard-core may even start to warm to him, but one step at a time eh…
The atmosphere in the old place was the best it’s been for ages and, with the team giving us all something to latch on to, I can seldom recall hearing so little from a visiting support.
If I were being churlish, I’d suggest that those 35 hardly souls from Wimbledon that visited back in 2003/04 made more noise… but I won’t.
The noise levels were a good reminder of what a force we can be when we’re all pulling in the same direction – and when the venom is used positively rather than directed as some of our own.
All in all, it it’s been a good week…
– News that during next year our Club will become debt-free
– A superb win against one of the big boys; and
– A first ever winners medal for 8 year-old Gowers Junior in the white-knuckle maelstrom that is ‘matball’.
I’m not sure it gets any better than that. Now bring on the Villa…
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