We are all on the same side. We care about the same club. We all want that club to succeed. We have far more in common than divides us.
It is worth remembering that as we shout at each other online or in person.
I plead guilty to getting angry when other Norwich fans express views which I think are damaging and flawed. But, I have never questioned the rights of others to hold different beliefs. Nor am I arrogant enough (not quite!) to believe my sentiments carry more weight because of my profession.
So, although there was a very heated debate behind the goal at the Etihad, it ended with my offering my hand to some outers. Like my wife and me, they were hurting. I understood and respected that. Of course they were entitled to their judgements.
That courtesy is not always extended to me. Some discount my views because I am friendly with the club’s majority shareholders, but it is Delia who always stands up for the fans’ right to criticise when I talk with her two or three times a season.
For the record – before we move on to matters in hand – I did not, ever, say it was wrong to sack Glenn Roeder. The piece in the Express and on this website which has become notorious was an account of what it was like to be on the inside as fans outside called for his head. It was a sobering night and I wrote an honest report because I think that is my job.
And I do use my contacts in journalism to defend the Yellow Army. When the Daily Mail’s Neil Moxley wrote about “usually sleepy Norfolk”, believe me I put him right.
Much more recently, Michael Calvin of the Independent on Sunday hinted strongly about a racist element in the antipathy towards Chris Hughton. I explained his suspicion was plain wrong.
But I think the outers are wrong too. My assessment differs greatly.
And my fear is that we might be about to destroy something precious. Because sacking is easy. It is what happens next that is difficult and often destructive.
When we got Worthy out, we got Grant in. When we got Roeder out, we got Gunny and League one.
Yes, when Gunny went we got Paul Lambert and an unforgettable three-year romp up the table, but in our own history that was the exception and, in football generally, a sacking often provokes a spiral of decline.
Is there anyone left who thinks Sunderland did the right thing sacking Martin O’Neil when they were outside the bottom three and bringing in Paolo Di Canio?
Wolves sacked Mick McCarthy but picked up four points in 13 winless games under his assistant Terry Connor and were relegated. Two more expensive, mistaken appointments followed. So did League one.
Last season, Reading gave Brian McDermott his P45. Nigel Adkins, achieved only two points from his first five matches. They went down.
It is similar at the other end of the table. Chelsea were fifth when AVB got the chop in 2012. They ended the season in sixth under Roberto Di Matteo.
Contrast that with Villa. When Sunderland sacked O’Neill, Villa were below them in 17th place. But they stuck with Lambert and stayed up – although they finished below us despite much bigger resources.
The most successful manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, was loathed by fans and very nearly kicked out – before turning things around just a tad. A year ago Arsenal fans were telling Arsene Wenger he didn’t know what he was doing. Now they top the table.
In fact, there has been academic research on the effect of sacking a manager and it shows that it seldom achieves a significant improvement. Often, it tips a team onto a downward slide.
Of course there are occasions when it is right to sack someone or, as with Ian Holloway at Palace, the man himself walks the plank.
And Chris Hughton knows he has to get points on the board quickly. But unless Pep Guardiola has a secret hankering to live in Norfolk, who would do better? The notion that anybody could – or that nobody could do any worse – is treacherously perilous.
The outers point to the painful second half to last season, the disappointing start to this and selectively forget the rest. The wins against West Brom (“on the beach”) and Manchester City (“temporary chaos”) are disregarded.
But it is as easy to argue special reasons for defeats. This season’s crushing disappointment at Hull, for instance. The home team got a penalty and a man sent off, so their tactics were decided for them: cling on to what they’d got. Our side, full of newbies finding their feet, would have fared better against a team who needed to take risks.
There have only been two stinkers this season: at Spurs and at Man City. In an attempt to be fair, I’ll throw in the Capital One defeat at Man U, although that was pretty much what I expected from our second string against theirs.
On the other side of the balance, I’d put beating Southampton (whose subsequent results show the significance of the achievement). I’d add the win at Stoke, plus good team performances against Chelsea, Arsenal and Cardiff.
And I insist on including the first half of last season in the appraisal. The only thing that matters in any season, surely, is the overall tally. We beat Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United during a run which was only bettered by Barcelona. How can that be forgotten so glibly?
If we were to award points for cup games, then CH’s record at Norwich would be 70 points from 57 games. If we continue at that rate, we’ll get 46 points this season.
If we ignore the cup matches, then CH’s record is 52 points from 48 Premier League games. That rate would give us 41 this season.
But we’ve played Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City so any sane judge would conclude that we will improve the rate with which we collect points.
And we have to be realistic about what happens when we play teams like those in Manchester. United’s turnover last season was £300m more than ours. What we spent on our most expensive signing is less than City give Yaya Toure in wages every season. It is not a fair fight.
That doesn’t mean we should cave in like we did at the Etihad this time, but those City fans downhearted about heavy defeats in Manchester are in for a lifetime of disappointment. And if we sack someone every time we get hammered by the mega-rich clubs, we’ll have a new manager ever season.
Chris is not Paul Lambert. But Lambert was always going to leave us – and we were always going to face second season syndrome and the loss of the impetus promotion gave us.
It is worth recalling, by the way, that under Saint Paul, Norwich began their Premier League life with four winless matches. That season brought a pitiful no-show at Sunderland and two defeats (with an 11-2 aggregate) by Man City.
Defeats happen. They will always be uncomfortably frequent for Norwich in the world’s richest league. The amount we splurged on our record summer spree is loose change to the elite.
And managers will always do things we, the paying punters, disagree with and also always make what they admit were mistakes.
So, yep, I wanted a different shape rather than just a change of personnel at nil-nil with 20 minutes left at home to Cardiff. And I’d like to see a variation on the reliance on getting the ball wide and crossing.
But I promise you that, as I have discovered by my close exposure to other clubs and their supporters, these are very similar to comments made by fans of every club who haven’t been in the Champions League recently – and by some followers of clubs who have!
So why do I think we are in a crisis? Because the mood among some fans is so fetid.
I state again that everyone is allowed an opinion. But that means I am entitled to say that singing “Bring on the Murphy” while Snoddy’s semi-conscious body was being eased onto a spine-board was vile. Someone explained: “They didn’t think.” Quite.
And the two guys who booed at 2-0 down at the Etihad, well your attitude is noxious. That’s why so many of us turned on you and helped you decide to leave at half-time.
I can’t understand or abide booing the team. That doesn’t make me a better fan or give me any special rights. But, for what it’s worth, I think that just as it is easy to cheer when the team is winning, it is more important to do so when they are not.
We all want the same thing. We are all on the same side. Against West Ham, my view is that the Yellow Army needs to demonstrate which side that is.