Last time around, I mentioned my mate Jack, who supports Leeds, and I tried to counter his ongoing assertion that City have been lucky to climb to the top of the table.
His other favourite ‘wind-up’ relates to the size of our respective fanbases, and in particular the travelling support.
‘Leeds would have taken more’.
That one is harder to argue, based solely on the facts.
However, as he’s made the trip from Yorkshire to Nelson’s County on many occasions, and in doing so, been subjected to the ‘delights’ of the A17 and A47, Jack would (perhaps) acknowledge the commitment it takes for the Yellow Army to mobilise.
‘Bloody ‘ell Cookie, haven’t they heard of dual-carriageways down here?’
So, there was a sense of genuine (albeit slightly grudging) respect in the text he sent me shortly before kick-off against Wigan last Sunday.
‘5,000 of you there, bud? Fair play’.
Having received that validation from a Leeds fan, it seemed even more bizarre that the 5,300 (get it right, Jacko) who made the trip, were later to come under fire from within our own ranks.
Those who use Twitter may have seen it, but for those of you who don’t, there were a number of City ‘fans’ complaining about the poor atmosphere on Sunday and laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of glory-hunting, “plastic” Norwich supporters, who had made the trip.
The gist of the argument, was that City’s current league position has attracted a new band of followers, who are happy to jump on board the promotion bandwagon but who don’t contribute in the way that they ‘should’ on a matchday.
‘Where were you when we were sh*t?’ etc
For the avoidance of doubt, I think that’s absolutely ridiculous.
It smacks of snobbery and does a huge disservice to all of those who spent their time and money travelling to the North-West.
It also overlooks the fact that, when all’s said and done, we’re all just spectators who buy a ticket to watch 90 minutes of football.
A ticket which in real terms, does no more than give you access to a stadium.
It doesn’t suddenly make you more of a fan or deserving of a place in the Hall of Fame.
But more importantly, it doesn’t place any conditions or obligations on the way you choose to watch the match.
Because, like it or not, there is no right or wrong way to support the club.
For anyone who thinks that their dedication to the cause places them above others, I’m confident I could find someone else who has travelled further, supported longer, spent more, sang louder and so on and so on.
Simply put, there is no entry requirement or no test you have to take in order to qualify as a Norwich fan.
I was thrilled to bits that we sold out our allocation for Wigan. It doesn’t matter whether you had to endure a 3 a.m. start or if you live within walking distance of the DW.
It doesn’t matter whether you know the words to each and every terrace anthem or if you choose to watch a match in silence.
You want to sing? Sing.
You want to moan? Moan.
You want to dress up as a banana? Go for it.
5,300 of us chose to make certain sacrifices in order to support what Daniel Farke and his team have achieved, and we’re entitled to do that in our own ways.
More importantly, for every fan in the stadium, there were countless more who watched on TV, or who followed on radio and social media; those whose commitments, whereabouts or personal circumstances didn’t allow them to be there.
All of us, willing on the team and united by a common desperation for the same outcome.
We’re at the stage of the season, where performances have become secondary to results. Where early hopes and aspirations have been replaced by the recognition of the opportunity that is within tantalising reach and a nervousness that we might fall short.
The prevailing mood amongst those at Wigan was not driven by those who knew no better, and who had jumped on a bandwagon, but by a collective desperation to see our team cross the finishing line and who had to endure a stuttering performance.
This season, we’ve seen an increased emphasis on the importance of a positive atmosphere and the role of the crowd to create an environment that gets the best from the team.
Our good friends at AlongComeNorwich have been instrumental in trying to bring about a tangible change, and anyone who has witnessed the pre-match displays in the Lower Barclay will testify to their success.
It’s based on a genuine desire to help and support the team but crucially, it’s built on the premise that if you create something ‘good’, then people will naturally want to become part of it.
Nobody is telling you how to be a fan or dictating what you have to do, but simply creating an opportunity and the invitation to get involved.
Unless you listen to a few folk on Twitter.
Alex B says
The second great read of the day with loans of commonsence in the article.
Tuesday night after spending most of the day with 22 Sheff Wed supporters I was at home watching Man U getting dumped on by Barca with my wife and she is a verbal Man U will argue every Ref decision rant at every booking and sometimes the language will make me blush.
When last night I watched Spurs beat Man City I was moaned at for being quite for my second team and on Friday it will be completely different but I have the house to myself so will only embrass myself.
Supporting your team is an individual choice on how you show that support. I will argue black is white, defend what ever team selection Farke makes he is in the know but will also discuss at length why so and so isn’t in the team.
onwards and upwards OTBC
martin penney says
As somebody who never misses at home but can go away all too rarely I would heartily agree with you Steve.
Just as Connor said earlier today, now is not the time for some form of perverse one-upmanship from a section of regular on-the-roaders. I too have had a few “who the f****ing hell are you” comments when I’ve been away over the years. It’s water off a duck’s to me.
As soon as you discuss the previous games, show them your ST and (in my case) several NCFC tattoos all cred is restored. But why should I have had to do that in the first place?
Do I respond by saying I’ve – currently – missed precisely six home games in 30 years? No I don’t because when our lot in the Barclay join in with “City till I die” we all mean it.
I simply don’t know if it’s a lack of respect or sheer ignorance from some of them.
A perfect example of why I’m not active on social media:-)
A great read.
Dan Rear says
I was at the DW, in the Wigan seats as I live locally, and hadn’t thought I’d need to book ahead for the away end! Our support seemed fantastic to me, loud, singing, and backing the team for 90+ minutes. Draw probably a fair result overall, bring on the Owls!
Don Harold says
I can’t believe the tripe I’ve read about support. I get to about a quarter of the games each season but it definitely costs me more financially and timewise for those games than it does for a Norwich based ST holder. In the early 80s I didn’t miss a home or away game for 3 years but I was definitely no more of a fan then than I am now. As Steve says, if you want to be the loudest fan in the stadium go for it; if you want to be the quietest also go for it; if you want to watch on tv, do it. Respect each fan, we want the same thing-ie to make heaven a place on earth (I didn’t expect a Belinda Carlisle brace at this stage).
While I’m having a gripe, I can’t stand that ‘your support is ****ing ***’ chant, whther it’s from our fans or directed at us.
Hopefully the Easter bunny will bring us all the joy we can, or can’t quite, imagine
martin penney says
I agree with your views on the “ysifs” chant, but must confess that “come in a taxi” still makes me laugh when – very occasionally these days – the LB spark it up at the Carra.
Let’s hope the SW drummer fails to make it tomorrow. No loss to man nor beast..
He couldn’t have made it into Belinda Carlisle’s backing band and that’s for sure. I doubt he could have displaced Tory Crimes (as bad as he was) in The Clash either.
Keith B says
I’ll bet many of those making the social media posts sing “scrummage” …
Mike C says
My personal gripe too!
martin penney says
And “rather win or die” – I’ve heard that quite a few times!