Very little is certain in football beyond Ronaldo or Messi winning the Ballon D’Or and the fact that FIFA officials have nice watches.
However you can also virtually guarantee that those clubs promoted to the Premier League will quickly find themselves odds-on to be relegated the following year.
In fact the bookies had made Norwich second favourites to go down before I had even managed to get a celebratory pint at The Torch after our Wembley success (although the queue at the bar was partly responsible).
The only quicker condemnation of our prospects came from various Ipswich fans on social media and the two lads who hurled ‘pleasantries’ at me from the back of a minibus heading to Teesside; all of them keen to suggest that our stay in the top flight would be short and not so sweet.
Whilst that may stem from disappointment and jealousy, the bookies have statistics and history to fall back on.
Since the start of the Premier League there have been 65 promotions and of those sides, just under half (29) were sent packing after a single season. Last year we were only a Leicester ‘purple patch’ away from the clean sweep.
This season’s Premier League contains many established clubs who have used their years of top flight cash to create squads packed full of talent. When you consider the sums that have been invested at perennial strugglers such as Villa and Sunderland it shows what you’re up against.
So on paper it’s easy to see why the bookies are giving Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth little chance. But as the cliché goes, football isn’t played on paper. To really assess a team’s chances, you need to look past the names on the team sheet and the money it took to put them there.
You need to consider those less tangible elements which still have a massive bearing on a club’s fortunes. ‘Team-spirit’, ‘the feel-good factor’ – whatever you call it – is one of the major factors in the prevailing atmosphere that surrounds a club and to appreciate that you have to be closely connected.
Our own recent top-flight experience, whilst painful at the time, perhaps provides a reason for hope.
At the start of the 2013/14 season, we were widely tipped for mid-table security. We were debt-free and had assembled our most expensive squad in club history.
However something didn’t feel right.
Maybe it was an inevitable reaction –the hangover from a three-year long party. A realisation that Hughton couldn’t conjure up those special moments like his predecessor.
Or the fact that none of our new strikeforce had scored three goals against Ipswich whilst sporting a ridiculous moustache? Whatever it was, a magic ingredient was missing and the crowd knew it.
Those looking in from outside wouldn’t have known but from an early point, many fans sensed that we could be in trouble. Compare the relief we felt when Hughton left to the incredulity of some pundits at the decision – a reflection of the fact that they had no idea just how bad it was.
These are the same pundits who will write us off this season with little or no idea of what’s really going on at our club at the moment.
Even allowing for post-Wembley euphoria, there is a genuine feel-good factor at Norwich City. In over 30 years, I have seldom seen the club so aligned from top to bottom. From the owners, through the playing staff to the supporters, there is a genuine resolve and shared belief.
It’s a wonderfully rare thing.
Even in the glory years of Mike Walker and our trips to Europe, the relationship between Robert Chase and just about everyone else at the club cast an uneasy shadow. Perhaps the closest we have seen would be the three years under Paul Lambert.
There was a comment posted in response to Gary’s recent piece questioning the current optimism and calling for a reality check. But I’d argue it’s exactly that optimism which could prove to be our strongest asset next year.
When the inevitable setbacks occur, it’s that optimism which will lead to a rousing chorus of ‘On the Ball City’ rather than the resignation, restlessness or ‘clapper-throwing’ that marked Hughton’s reign.
There are lessons to be learned from the Lambert era. Firstly when a club is truly unified, as I believe ours is now, it can propel you to remarkable success and to defy the odds.
Secondly, it can all unravel in the time it takes your captain to slap in a transfer request.
On that basis, surely we should ride the wave whilst we can and savour every single moment?