It was back in October that I made my first hesitant keyboard pokes in an effort to be vaguely interesting and entertaining on this website. I leave you, the jury, to pass sentence on whether my words have done their intended job.
Unlike some of the other columnists, I am very much an amateur as has probably been blatantly clear in the articles I’ve written.
I’ve tried to offer opinions and views, criticise where necessary and praise similarly, sometimes in a themed manner (fruit, 80s number ones, comet landings etc).
I doff the proverbial cap to those who can call themselves professional sport writers. Background research is time consuming and to strike a balance between dry factual accuracy and lively thought-provoking opinion is a skill not given to many… at least of those I’ve read (see further on for examples).
To do it week in week out is tough. To have the patience to plan and execute a book over the course of a year or more must take an author through the mill – but there are worse ways to earn a living.
My articles have primarily been immediate reactions to the club’s ups, downs and then ups again through a fascinating and unforgettable season. I apologise if the word ‘rollercoaster’ has sprung up too often.
I’ve also rambled on admittedly random topics such as the rise of the tattooed footballer, crop circles, the lack of statues at Carrow Road, and the odd character piece including the question on all Canaries’ fans lips: “Just who was Barry Simmonds?”
I’ve made some predictions, some of which I’ve been vindicated on but others that happily turned out to be well wide of the mark. For example… “The odds on Neil leading us to promotion after just 4 and a bit months in the job have to be very slim.” (Written on January 13).
I’ve managed to wind up Watford fans, not once but twice. The first time was totally unintentional, the second not so much. All good banter though… mostly.
Of course, nothing beats watching league football live or on the TV. Sadly, these long summer days do not satisfy on that front. The void must be filled in other ways.
As well as generating football-related words, I like to read them. In short I like words, although a few pictures also help the story.
Biographies of retired or soon-to-retire players and managers can be terrible sometimes, but now and again a corker comes along that gives the kind of insights all too sadly lacking in most.
I won’t be holding my breath for the forthcoming John Terry, Tim Cahill or Paul Sturrock releases but I do highly recommend the efforts on the page from different eras such as ‘I think, therefore I play’ by Andrea Pirlo, ‘The Binman Chronicles’ by Neville Southall and ‘One Hump or Two’ by Frank Worthington.
Some excellent Canaries biogs have also made their way to print including, ‘Hucks‘, ‘In Where it Hurts’, ‘All I Want For Christmas’ and the recent ‘Gossy: The Autobiography’, the brainchild of fellow MFW columnist Ed Couzens-Lake.
Sadly, many potentially absorbing first-hand tales from former City legends remain unwritten. I’m still waiting for the Robert Rosario story or the warts-and-all account from Mike Walker of his ‘from youth coach to Munich to Goodison nightmare and back again’ journey.
And there are other Norwich City-flavoured publications that are well worth adding to birthday or Christmas lists:
- ‘Got, not got – the lost world of Norwich City’ (Hammond & Silke – 2014) – A fascinating time capsule of bygone days when facial hair was almost compulsory on the field of battle and toggled-up duffle coats likewise off it.
- ‘Norfolk ‘n’ Good’ (Baldwin – 1993) – An ‘insider’s’ view, by recently retired MFW columnist Kevin Baldwin, from those heady days when the home team’s shirts looked like explosions in a paint factory and victory on German soil was a footballing achievement, not a military one.
- ‘When Football was Football…‘ (Dale – 2012) – A guide through the club’s history, development and highs and lows since its Edwardian inception.
- ‘Norwich City – the Seventies’ (Couzens-Lake – 2013) – Yep, it’s that man again (pop the cheque in the post Ed) with a rollicking account of a golden decade when ‘little old Norwich’ first graduated to big school to pick a fight with the head boys.
- ‘Norwich City – on this day’ (James – 2009) – A titbit of relevance for every day of the year.
- ‘Hall of Fame: Norwich City’s All Time Greats’ (Kemp – 2012) – Time travel mini-biography tour from Percy Varco to Bill Punton, from Ken Foggo to Dale Gordon, from Andy Townsend to Grant Holt.
Long may the printed word (book or website) continue to inform and entertain us about our favourite band of yellow and green heroes and villains.
Now… what the heck am I going to write about for next week?