One of the things that I truly love about football are those goose pimple inducing incidents that seem to freeze time in their occurrence and passing.
For a few memorable seconds – or is it eternity? – it can feel as if you are truly at one with the game and the moment in hand, the action frozen before your eyes; the reaction of pure joy and release; an animalistic pleasure.
Catharsis encounters of the sporting kind.
Such is the wonder that I behold our beautiful game – and it still is, despite the increasing number of toxic outside forces and influences – that these moments don’t have to be exclusively those that are related to your own club. I can remember, for example, watching the 1994 World Cup quarter-final between Bulgaria and Germany in my room with my then housemate and jumping up and down on my bed in utter delirium (my bed only ever encountered such moments of bliss when it related to football at that time) as Bulgaria triumphed, a victory of character and personality over fussy perfection – Wenn schon, denn schon as they like to say in Germany.
Who remembers that Bulgarian team from back then? The outrageously talented Stoichkov – who had initially refused to toe the sponsorship line by declaring he had no intention of wearing boots made by Adidas. Kostadinov – who nearly didn’t make the tournament at all, given he hadn’t obtained the necessary visa for his passport. Mikhailov – the man who played in a wig. And, most memorably of all, Trifon Ivanov. ‘The Wolfman’. They brought a certain amount of unfettered joy to a tournament that was all things American – slick, garish, well connected. So I naturally empathised with those anarchic Bulgarians, the anti-team, a group of players that seemed as if they had been invited into the tournament by accident – yet who still managed to reach the semi-finals.
Wonderful stuff and one of those aforementioned frozen moments for me when Letchkov’s glorious diving header in the second half gave them a victory that no-one expected as well as one that, you suspect, both FIFA and the event organisers didn’t particularly welcome. Such things can only make those game defining seconds all the more endearing.
Then there was that special moment of footballing abandon when Arsenal won the league title in 1989. At Anfield. In the dying seconds of a game that Liverpool only needed to avoid a two goal defeat to win the title for themselves. You’d bet your house on them to be capable of that at their own ground and in a game that so much depended on. Perhaps some people did. I might even have done so myself. Everything was stacked against Arsenal. The odds, the fates, the media and the will of the people, not least those at Anfield who then regarded success and glory as a birthright for their team rather than a prize that had to be earnt. So yes, I wanted Arsenal to win. To see those fans put in their place. And the media. Liverpool this, Liverpool that. Even a Norwich City fanzine, the always excellent Liverpool Are On The Tele Again pointed out the inequity of it all. For ninety minutes I became a Gunner even though I knew they wouldn’t win it. Not at Anfield. Those sort of things didn’t happen, weren’t allowed to happen.
But as we know, they most certainly do. After all, this is football. Nick Hornby got a book and a film out of that game, whilst Brian Moore uttering, with precise timing, the phrase “…it’s up for grabs now” as Michael Thomas galloped through to score Arsenal’s second made history with that line, possibly the second most famous in TV football commentating history.
Happy days for Arsenal and a match that went unsurpassed for last second drama for nearly a quarter of a century before Sergio Aguero did exactly the same thing for Manchester City, his last second goal and their last gasp triumph to the accompanying strangulations of Martin Tyler- “Aguerrrrroooooooooooooo….” was real spine tingling stuff, even if Manchester City weren’t your team.
And they’re not, of course.
But the delight in such drama is, as I wrote earlier, is part of football’s attraction, the possibility of the power, the joy, the sheer majesty of such a legal hit occurring, potentially, at any game, at any time – you can’t legislate for it, you can’t predict it, you can never expect it – you can just live in hope of it happening, occasionally, for your club. For Norwich City.
If we could be the stars, the centrepiece of such footballing drama, it would resonate through the club’s history for generations, people would say, with pride, “I was there”. Infact more people than could even possibly have been there would probably end up claiming that they were. But imagine it, imagine the possibilities, the emotions and the sheer loss of control if we were to experience our own Thomas or Aguero moment. Even just thinking about it sends a shiver up my spine. So imagine feeling it, living it, breathing it and sharing it with thousands of fellow Canary fans all around you. Tyler followed up his Chris Goreham moment by proclaiming, amongst the madness, “I swear you’ll never see anything like this, ever again” – but will we? And have we already? And do you have one?
What are your Norwich City supporting moments that slowed down time for you, that precipitated all too brief seconds of pure, raw, emotional joy and release, much like that enjoyed by the Manchester City fans a year ago. By their very nature they are brief – there and gone in an instant, yet, in those seconds when we and all around us are at the epicentre of an outburst of energy that could, if harnessed, solve the world energy crisis at a stroke, we are all in collective stasis, at one with the moment.
Yes, that sounds over dramatic, ridiculous even. But that’s football. I’ve gone through family bereavements, my own wedding and countless other, enormous, life changing experiences in recent years – but did the tears flow at any of them? No. But I’ll admit to this. They did when we lost the play off final to Birmingham City back in 2002. Again, that’s football, that’s what it does to normally sane and rational people – it makes them anything but sane and completely irrational.
It was Sir Alex Ferguson who memorably said, “Football. Bloody hell” after yet another of one of those moments, their last gasp win against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League Final – “that magical night in Barcelona” as Clive Tyldesley, ever irritatingly, constantly refers to it, conveniently forgetting that three different English clubs have won the tournament since then.
But you know what. They are both right.
So what are your Norwich City moments? A brief moment in time, a second or two, a flash of joy, of footballing bliss, one that was there for a moment and then gone – but which you will remember forever? Let’s hear them.
Five of mine to come tomorrow…
Mine are all a bit in the past, but I managed to witness them, and they have stayed in my memory:
1. 1972- securing the Second Division championship at Watford. It felt like there were 10,000 Norwich supporters there
2. 1975- beating Man Utd in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final at Carrow Rd. The old guys in the Main Stand used to stamp their feet on the wooden floorboards, creating an unusual atmosphere.
3. 1980- Fashanu’s wonder goal against Liverpool. I was standing in the River End and can picture his turn and rather speculative shot as if it were yesterday.
4. 1985 – winning the Milk Cup at Wembley. My third visit in 12 years and the first time we had been successful.
4. 1993 – an unbelievable night in Munich. I think a lot of our supporters were as shocked as the Bayern fans.
Russell S. says
Is ‘lightning in a jar’ another one of your unsourceable quotations Ed (a la light and shadow?
Top 5 moments for me;
1. Justin Fashanu (1980) – wonder goal against the then imperious Liverpool (we still lost 5-3 of course), later voted goal of the season (GOTS) on MOTD. Incidentally, does anyone else out there think it outrageous that the BBC funded by the publically-sourced licence fee no longer offers any financial reward for a publically-voted GOTS, but can stump up multi-million pound deals for Lineker and Hansen? Just thought I’d get that off my chest.
2. Jeremy Goss (1993) – wonder goal against (an admittedly poor in comparison to today’s treble winning) Bayern Munich on their territory. Churchill would have punched the air when that beauty went in.
3. Keith O’Neill (1997) – rapid goal against Stoke. This was recently claimed in a comment for another Ed-article (6th June) to have been the fastest goal (18 s) ever scored at Carrow Road. I now challenge this on both counts – it was 12 s which is 2 s slower than that scored in 1946 by Ralph ‘ginger’ Johnson (apparently – according to his obituary in the Evening News of 27-04-2013). It was more personally memorable for me as my Dad jumped up and knocked the pie out of the hand of a bloke who was yet to take his seat (1997, not 1946).
4. Grant Holt (2010) – hat-trick against Roy Keane’s Ipswich (on live national TV to boot)..no more clarification on that required.
5. Milk Cup Final (1985) – poor game but unforgettable day and victory at the old Wembley. I was overcome with the occasion and violently sick on the coach home.
My five. Ones I was there for only:
Bruce vs 1p5wich – Milk Cup Semi Final
Asa Hartford vs Sunderland – Milk Cup Final
Goss vs Munich (A)
Bellamy vs 1p5wich (A)
Simeon Jackson 3rd goal vs Derby
(plus many more last minute winners during our last two promotion seasons including Oli Jonson’s late double vs Stockport, McNally’s assist for Holt vs Reading & Lansbury vs Millwall)
Jason S says
1. Justin Fashanu vs. Liverpool: My very first time in the Barclay, slightly to the right of the goal. When I close my eyes I can still visualise the ball curving round Clemence’s outstretched arm.
2. Rob Earnshaw winner vs. Luton after we trailed 0-2. The first game I attended with my sister after my dad passed away. “That one’s for Dad”
3. Jerry Goss vs. Leeds in the 4-0 romp. On the video you can see the Leeds fans applauding.
4. Jerry Goss vs. Munich. Travelled more in hope than expectation, singing OTBC on the tube back into town, spending all night in a bar and returning for an exam the next day.
5. Ian Crook free-kick vs. Forest in one of the first Sky games. I said to my mate Rick as he lined it up “Crooky, top corner”. Rick:”If he does that I’ll take back everything I ever said about him.”
1.When Norwich won promotion at Watford and each set of supporters ran on the pitch to burst the oppositions balloons… Then Norwich supporters decided they did not want to remain in the rain so ran the length of the pitch & camped in the home end. The PR man demanding all City supporters to get off the pitch or the match would be abandoned..9,997 Norwich resettled in the dry – me mother & father still in the rain!
2.Justin’s goal v Liverpool – I was standing in South Stand as close as I could have been to him.
3.Jamie Cureton and his green hair at Portallo Road. Thought I was seeing things when he ran out.
4.Manchester Utd 1 v Norwich 2 Don Heath & Gordon Bolland.FA cup 1967.One of my first memories.
Still have the programme & scrapbook!
5.When Terry Waite was released he uttered those immortal words – Have Robert Rosario scored yet? Spine tingling!!
Gary Gowers says
1985: Steve Bruce’s header against ‘that lot’ (enough said)
1993: That night in Munich (alas observed through some German pilsner beer-goggles)
2010: Chrissy Martin’s 89th minute header against Leeds (can seldom recall the old place rocking like it did that day)
2011: Simeon’s (and Chris Goreham’s) finest hour (“chance! … it’s blocked on the line! … IT’S GONNA GO IN … YYYEESSSS”)
A week and a bit later…
2011: Simeon’s header v Pompey (still brings a tear to the eye)
Don Harold says
I loved Bruce’s goal against them in the semi – I was in the Barclay and I swear that if there hadn’t been a net and a fence the ball would have smashed me in the face. I take huge joy in remembering the 5-1 scoreboard at Poorman Road, a piece of perfection if ever there was one. The one that’s most personal to me was walking into my local pub less than 2 miles from Molineux after we knocked Wolves out of the play-offs. The look on the faces of people as I came in, arms aloft after the game was a delight which will never leave me and I still take pleasure in reminding people about it now.
Brill Stepshort says
One of my favourite moments of recent years was Drury’s injury time equaliser to make it 4-4 against Middlesborough – it felt like we’d won the FA Cup, and silenced the Middlesborough fans who’d sarcastically applauded our first ‘consolation’ goal. And we were first on MOTD!
Jon B says
Just six of many;-
Mid 70’s, Ted Mac v West Ham, my first game, on my milk crate alongside Dad.
80 – Fashanu
85 – Milk Cup
93 – Goss and Co
08 to 11 – Key second half winners, mainly Jackson.
Any goal against our neighbours.
My first ever Carrow Road game;
Leicester at home in 1994. 1-0 down just after the interval, Newsome scores a header to level and then with minutes remaining Daryl Sutch smashes in a goal from the right side of the area (I was in the Lower Barclay) and the place erupted!! Last minute (sort of) winning goal on my first ever CR trip stood in the Barclay. It doesn’t get any better…does it?
I remember it crystal clear and the only shame is I thought all games would be like that!!
Andrew Gillie says
Jackson v Derby. 3-2 ecstasy.
Martin v Leeds. Carrow Road errupted.
The 4-4 with Boro. Another 60 seconds and we’d have won it.
Lappin at Luton for 3-2 win.
Jackson at Pompey. We are Premier League.
Holt at Scunthorpe in last minute. 1-0 win, and I knew we’d survive back in Championship. We survived and then some!!!!
Simeon Jackson. Just can’t look any further (or further back).
Nick Roberts says
I’ll never forget standing in the Barclay watching John Polston wallop home the winner v Aston Villa in the memorable ‘3rd place’ campaign of 92-93. For weeks the pundits had been waiting for us to fade away, for the title to be rightfully fought out to a conclusion as a two-horse race between Manchester United & Villa, and this match was meant to be the game when Villa finally snuffed out our challenge and the universe was restored to it’s proper order. Except we didn’t read the script. 90 minutes of razor’s edge football later we emerged with a 1-0 victory which propelled us above Villa into 2nd (or was it 1st ?) place and forced the grudging admission from Mr. Hansen in his usual laconic style that the championship was ‘a 3 – horse race’. Of course we know how it ended, but just for that night I genuinely – GENUINELY believed we would win the Premier league title,something I had never felt before, or for that matter am ever likely to again.Stirring stuff !
1. Simeon Jackson v Derby to win 3-2. In the circumstances (remaining 2nd in the race to the PL with just 2 games to go) I’m not sure NCFC will ever encounter a more dramatic moment! That was our Thomas/Aguero moment. Chris Goreham’s commentary said it all.
2. Simeon Jackson v Portsmouth. Watching that goal and the immediate celebrations of the fans still send a shiver down my spine. To be in Portsmouth that day, watching the Cardiff/Middlesbrough game prior to ours and witnessing the ever increasing feeling of optimism and that feeling of, “do you what, we can just do this!” as we strode into Fratton Park was simply unique.
3. Kevin Drinkell v Liverpool 1987. 86th minute winner against the biggest and most feared team of that day. I still remember Gunny’s drop kick 2 mins later when he put it as far in the City Stand/River End corner as he possibly could! The first ever time Liverpool had been beaten in the league when Rush had scored first.
4. v Oldham (a) 3-2, last minute winner and hat-trick from Mark Robins. Ian Darke’s commentary was along the lines of… “Robins, sniffing his hat-trick maybe.. he’s got it!! He’s got a hat-trick, and that’s the goal that will take Norwich City back to the top of the Premier League! Mark Robins, hat-trick!”. Glorious stuff and says it all!
5. Final Whistle at Molineux, play-off semi 2nd leg. I swear to this day that second half consisted of 3hrs. It certainly felt like it. The noise when Kevin Cooper scored on around 75 mins was deafening. The celebrations at that final whistle was pure joy. And was met with massive relief!!!
Gary Gowers says
Nick – the Polston goal v Villa is a great shout. Walked back over Carrow Bridge that night convinced that the title was within our grasp!
For Don Harold: I have a photograph of that score board on my phone Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 5, I use it on twitter when those down the road give our player a bit of stick. I just send them that photo, it quietens them down.
There are so many great goals mentioned here all or most I remember, but my personal favorite would have to be Fash V Liverpool, just a fantastic goal.