Not a lot has happened since the end of April. Just the same old. You know the sort of thing… two-legged semi-final wins over our friends down the road, Wembley victories, promotions etc etc… the usual.
But if you cast your mind back to that draw at Rotherham when poor old Lewis saw red and our chances of automatic promotion went up in smoke, you’ll recall some Y’Army members were less than happy.
Regular MFW reader, Anita Byrne-Phillips was so incensed by the behaviour of some she took to her smart phone to pen a few thoughts on the value of sticking together. It was passionate stuff and struck a chord with many.
Seven weeks on, and with the footballing world a very different place for City fans, Anita has returned to hand-held device to offer her latest thoughts…
In 2011/12 Norwich City had their first Premier League season for six years.
It was the first chance to take my son to the great stadiums that previously he had only seen on TV. There was the excitement of picking his list of most wanted but coupled with the fear it may only be for one season. Therefore we needed to tick off as many as possible.
Of course not all were possible but we visited a great deal that season. A lot of mileage was added to the car and, along the way, a lot of memories were captured. Loads.
The first game of the season at the DW Stadium – a draw. Frustrating traffic. Running to just make kick-off at Anfield. Singing ‘my garden shed is bigger than this’ at QPR. Telling my son that Swansea was just too far for a ten-year old to travel and discovering the team and Paul Lambert (our then hero) was at our hotel.
And there were others…
Admiring the Etihad. Finding the best curry house in West Brom. My son visiting White Hart Lane without me (the only stadium he then had been to that I had not). Our first ill-fated visit to Craven Cottage.
Finishing 12th that season seemed an achievement. Another year in the Premier League – who would have thought it! And it meant more big clubs could be ticked off the list at a more relaxed pace, plus some favourites could be revisited.
However on June 2nd 2012 the Messiah left. There was disbelief that our hero, who had lead us through a double promotion, had left us. Who could tread in those shoes as successfully?
Chris Hughton was named, but evoked mixed feelings. We wanted to believe we didn’t need Lambert, that bloke who had dropped us ‘for a bigger club’
First up was Fulham away – our second trip to Craven Cottage and the only game I’ve ever left early! A 5-0 defeat and the most awful display of football I had seen gave us an insight into Hughton’s managerial style. It was as though the players were not there!
We suffered some of our largest defeats that season (mainly to Suarez/Liverpool) yet we had a manager that played defensively. Still we managed a few unpredictable wins – like at home against Arsenal and Man Utd – and we managed to finish eleventh by gaining nine points in our last three games.
It gave us security in the Premier League for another season and did the same for CH!
I didn’t enjoy the second Hughton season at all. The embarrassment, the style of play, being on the receiving end of a coin and being wheel-chaired to the medical room under the Emirates stadium, and my son’s miserable face.
However with the board trusting CH we entered our third Premier League season. I need not say too much but I can remember little other than large score-lines, the inevitable sacking of Hughton and the strange appointment of ‘one of our own’, Neil Adams.
At the time we all whispered, “it’s another Bryan Gunn situation, why?”
But perhaps we needed to hit that low. Perhaps the footballing gods were waiting to gift us another amazing manager because, as they say, all the best things come to those that wait.
Alex Neil?! WHO??!!
It echoed loudly. “Are they serious? Have we not suffered enough?”
A few optimists (including me!) said he should be given a chance.
Now let’s ask ourselves…
Would we now give up those seasons of 2012/13 and 2013/14?
Would we give up the elation of doing the Derby Double?
Would we choose to not cherish those ill-fated Ipswich fans tweeting ‘Mind the gap’
Would we have missed dismissing them in the play-off semi-final?
Would we have missed that chance to see our team play at Wembley?
Would we have missed that chance to see them win promotion on the biggest stage of all?
Of course not.
This week I have felt that same excitement all over again. Planning the away days. Adding to that bucket list of stadiums to visit. And all in the knowledge we have a great manager, who’s just had his contract renewed, and a rejuvenated team who are again playing exciting football.
This is better than I felt five years ago. We are Alex Neil’s Green n’ Yellow Army.
Let battle commence.
Thanks, as ever, to Anita for her thoughts. Let us know yours.