During this off-season, we’ve experienced many ups, as in sensible, cost-effective recruiting, the impending departure of Nelson Oliveira and the announcement of very appealing home friendlies against Atalanta and Toulouse.
A temporary, short-lived down was relieved by the discovery that Ben Godfrey’s ankle injury is not as bad as first thought and Adam Idah, Patrick Roberts and Sam Byram have all contributed positively in Westphalia.
So right now only I could take MFW readers straight back to the catastrophic days of the English Civil War. Or more accurately, the Norwich City Civil War.
The fall of Robert Chase in 1995 is the equivalent of the battle of Naseby in 1645. These events were 350 years apart. Pigs’ bladders back in Charlie’s day and you couldn’t stamp Adidas or whatever on those of course.
Now in the real Civil War, King Charles I was a slightly built man of around four feet eleven. He was stubborn, economical with the truth and beheaded.
Robert Chase is neither slightly built or short of stature. Very much to the contrary in fact. To the best of my knowledge, he has never been conveyed to Tower Hill to meet the axe and anvil.
But something they share in common is that they both ignored the proles and had skin thicker than reinforced rhino hide.
I first encountered Mr Chase under slightly strange circumstances in around 1993.
I had a good friend called David Line who was a senior producer at Radio Norfolk. Over a beer or three in the BBC bar in Surrey Street he agreed to come to London to give our company’s staff the lowdown on how to deal with the local media – said staff never took me seriously, so David’s credibility and knowledge was a big bonus and he earned his fee indeed.
Afterwards, our train had just pulled out of Liverpool Street when this large gentleman descended on the seats opposite us, mopped his brow, opened his briefcase and extricated two mobile phones.
Dave and I looked at each other and you can imagine what we were thinking. I knew who this character was but Dave, not being a football fan, took a couple of minutes to cotton on.
After asking us “which phone should I answer first” he tried to offer us both tickets for that night’s game, against Arsenal, in the League Cup I believe. He seemed rather deflated when he observed that Dave and me had mobiles too.
I waved my previously-purchased ticket and politely declined, while Dave said no thanks as he preferred the 15-man oval ball game.
Three more times on that awkward journey he attempted to give us tickets. The bright red braces were doing a harder job than they feasibly should have done. Que sera and all that.
My second and final encounter with the Chairman should have been at the very end of his reign. For the only time in my life, I phoned Canary Call (long before the emergence of Bob Rutler).
Unfortunately, I won two VIP tickets for a game against either Coventry or West Brom for best call of the day, I honestly cannot remember which team we faced.
As I had tipped off my favourite media my mate Keith and I had a great interview with Richard Futter in the Mustard Pot (now the Fat Cat & Canary) on Yarmouth Road. Richard said “give the crew a wave at half time and we’ll see where you’re located and come to meet you after the game.
Half-time was surreal in the Directors’ Lounge or whatever they called it. VIP tickets? We had to buy our own drinks. No Chase. Jimmy and Albert Jones came over for a quick chat and were absolutely fine.
Either father or son said Chase wouldn’t show as he’d lost his bottle.
On the way back to our (outside) seats we were both effing and blinding about both the game and our reception.
One old girl turned round to Keith and said: “I’ve never heard language like that in my life and my husband was in the Navy”.
We went back to our usual seats in the Barclay. Right quick.
We never did see the Anglia crew afterwards, but they still ran about ninety seconds of the original interview on their Saturday evening bulletin.
The truth is out there (I’ve still got an old VHS clip somewhere).
Thanks to our MFW guest bloggers Don and Martin, I was inspired to scribble this.
I’ll leave the horses incidents to them should they choose to air their memories of that awful period in our history.
The ultimate irony for me was that my ex-father-in-law bought a house in Lingwood courtesy of Chase Builders.
Probably the only laugh we shared in nearly 20 years.
And, just this once, RG Carter weren’t involved.