I’m worried. So worried in fact I’m going to change my job.
No, I’m not trying to escape some professional misdemeanour. It’s true that I’ve stretched the rules occasionally, and that my wife and I initially got together on a work trip – but given that it was in 1977, it’s a tad late for disciplinary action.
It’s not actually about my career at all. Whatever merits that had, they’re not going to change now.
No – it’s my role on this forum that has to change.
For the last few months, my task seems to have been that of happy clapper: trying to keep spirits up, defending those at the club I feel have been unfairly criticised (not you, Kyle), and generally promoting reasons to be optimistic.
Not any longer. After Newcastle, I see people relaxing and starting to feel that survival is almost job done.
Not just our fans, either. While Jeff Stelling announced our winner as “the goal that could keep one club up and send another down”, the Sunday Telegraph billed it as a goal that “set Norwich on course for Premier League safety”.
Rubbish. There are miles to go, and a pile of hard work to be put in, before we can even think about survival. So I’m now turning from the prophet of “a chunk of games to go, we’re not doomed” to the prophet of “a chunk of games to go, we’re not safe”.
Not that anyone’s ever called me a prophet of anything, but you get the drift.
Having said that, let’s give ourselves a luxury Alex Neil won’t give the players: to bask in that sensational finish and let it wash over us. It was one of the special days.
Perhaps the best part of all was the reaction of the players, including those on the bench.
If anyone doubted our togetherness, or the individual commitment of an Olsson, Bassong or Naismith, it was there for all to witness. We never doubted it in the case of Russell Martin or Alex Tettey, and it was great to see their part in the celebrations (though I’m not sure Tettey is supposed to be running round like that after his operation).
Speaking of Naismith, Saturday was a bit of a revelation. I confess I was disappointed to see Bamford dropped to the bench, but Naismith and Mbokani were excellent – not just as individual performance, but in partnership. We’re already reaping the benefit of partnerships elsewhere on the pitch – Howson and O’Neil, Klose and Bennett/Bassong – and it looks like we have another one.
Coming back to special days at Carrow Road, comparison immediately came to mind between Olsson’s strike on Saturday and Simeon Jackson’s extra-late winner against Derby. Neither actually decided our fate, but both felt crucial and sparked the kind of euphoria we don’t experience very often.
What other days have left us with that feeling at Carrow Road? It’s a slightly tricky one because our promotions and survivals have generally been confirmed away from home, at a variety of places including Portsmouth, Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and – for those of us with long memories – Orient. I believe the last promotion we clinched at home was 1960.
That doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of candidates for euphoria-inducing finishes at Norwich. Here are a Top Six off the top of my head – I fully to expect to be crying “Why didn’t I think of that one?” when I see others you’ll all suggest.
1. 6 March 1985 – League Cup semi-final. Steve Bruce’s 88th minute bullet header at the Barclay End to send Ipswich home and put us in the final. Ipswich were quite good back then
2. 9 April 2004 – vs Wigan. My maverick choice – no late goal involved. It’s in my Top Six because it was a crucial Easter game against promotion rivals, and exemplified what that season was about: Hucks set up a first for Svensson, then waltzed past four Wigan defenders in front of the Barclay to give us a decisive 2-0 lead. Ecstasy
3. 27 March 2010 – vs Leeds. We’d have almost certainly got promoted out of League 1 without it, but Chris Martin’s late diving header to defeat Leeds was very sweet indeed
4. 25 April 2011 – Simeon’s 95th minute winner against Derby, Robbie Savage and all. Cue immortal Radio Norfolk commentary
5. 16 May 2015 – play-off vs Ipswich. So many candidates from last season (most of them against Ipswich), but can’t resist the moment Cameron Jerome slipped the ball past a despairing keeper for 3-1. “Jerome…and it’s Wembley!”
6. 2 April 2016 – thank you, Martin Olsson
I’m sorry to leave out a couple of crucial headed winners from Duncan Forbes in the 1972 promotion run-in, Bradley Johnson’s piledriver against Ipswich last season, and many more. But what else did I miss?