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.