Yes folks, it’s yet another international break so this time round MFW thought we’d ask our readers which has been your favourite Norwich City match and, as ever, why.
Of course, your favourite match may not even involve City at all as I’ll delve into later. Anyway, to give plenty of scope to all of us, here’s my starter for three.
Bayern Munich away [it could easily have been at home but I’m going for the away version]. Why? I was there, we shocked them, and I had a fantastic time and all on company expenses apart from an internal flight. And there was that insignificant little strike from Jerry Goss of course. Then partying afterwards with shell-shocked City fans who could not believe what we had achieved. I don’t think I could ever top that experience and doubt I ever will.
Sunderland in the 1985 Milk Cup Final. Sure the atmosphere was terrific but retrospectively the game itself was cr@p. But we won the trophy, our first [and so far only] meaningful one in the days when the competition was still respected without a second-string selection in place in any round. Others are fully entitled to select a certain semi-final second leg of course, but I said I’d offer just three and I’ll stick to it. I was sorely tempted though.
Middlesbrough in the Play-Off Final. As soon as Cameron Jerome did his stuff, we all knew we were going to win. Didn’t we? And so much was at stake. That match passed in pretty much of a blur to me and seeing so many people there I knew before and after the game made it even better. I couldn’t say what time a certain well-known Broadland pub shut its doors that Sunday night – I got home at a reasonable time in deference to Mrs P and what was at the time our only dog. I think they were both as excited as I was, although Geezer the Patterdale might just have been pleased to see me.
So, please let us know your choices – you’re free to agree with mine or even better select a few of your own.
I hinted earlier that some of our more memorable personal matches might not even involve Norwich City at all and here’s why.
My first ever match was City versus Plymouth in 1967. I was nine, stood on what I think was the River End, saw very little and can only remember that we played in yellow and green, Argyle sported green and white and we won 2-0. No change kits in those days unless it was essential as there were no sponsors names on the shirts. Oh how the times have changed.
Everyone claims they vividly remember their first game, but I barely can. However, I’ll never forget my second.
Dad was good mates with a very successful butcher called Johnny Downes who I think supplied Spurs with meat for their Chantecler club and often got buckshee tickets for White Hart Lane. His son Robert was into space rockets and stuff so when he had three freebies, he took me and Dad with him. Posh seats in the nine bobs behind the North Bank. Dad said I could come as I’d proved myself at Carrow Road.
Spurs scored and there was a nasty stabbing incident on the North Bank right in front of us.
As a serving [if off-duty] police officer, Dad jumped in to help deal with it and I didn’t see him again until just before bedtime that night. Statements and all that. Johnny looked after me and brought me home. Still just nine, I was a very worried little boy until Dad eventually got home courtesy of a lift from the Met.
Johnny and I did see the entire game, which Spurs won 1-0, hoping Dad would get back in time to go home with us. He simply couldn’t. I’ve still got the match ticket. Dunno why but I have.
However, what goes around comes around.
I was only Sports Editor of the Harlow and Bishops Stortford Gazettes for about three years – at most.
First time around, Harlow Town had the most incredible FA Cup Run in 1980. They drew at Southend 0-0 and beat them 1-0 in the replay. Then Leicester [not the power they are now but still a solid second division side] 1-1 away and they won the replay at the Harlow Sportscentre, possibly the grottiest ground I’ve ever been to, 1-0.
Onto Watford away, covered by Match of the Day. I had the great pleasure of talking with John Motson who kindly introduced me to Graham Taylor. He was every inch the gentleman and presuming I supported Harlow commiserated on a hard-fought 4-3 defeat. I explained I was, in fact, the local journo and he then became even more expansive and gave me some great quotes. Elton wasn’t there that day, but I still got a free beer in their Directors’ lounge, courtesy of Graham. Frigging marvellous.
The very next season Bishop’s Stortford got to the FA Trophy final and that meant I was in the Press Box at the old Wembley, you know, the one with the Twin Towers. An experience I will never forget. I’ve still got the press pass somewhere.
Stortford beat Sutton United 1-0 with a last-minute goal from one Terry Sullivan. I wasn’t allowed in the dressing room but did get a few brief interviews pitchside and deliberately overstepped the mark [I wasn’t the only one] so I can honestly say I have been on the pitch at the “proper” Wembley.
It also gave me the opportunity to use the headline “Terry’s All Gold”.
Stortford’s captain that day was one Dave Blackman who flatly refused to give interviews. I was moaning about it in the pub when landlord Bobby’s father, Bob Nethercott senior, said: “******** to that I’ve known his dad all my life.” Three days later old Bob, Dave, my girlfriend of the time Jane and I enjoyed two full hours in the Arras Club in Tottenham and I got the interview of a lifetime, some of which was even suitable for publication.
So all that from two-and-a-bit years on a local rag. Dad always said I was “ar$ehole lucky”.
Now it’s over to you MFW folks – I’m sure your memories can top mine and we’d absolutely love to hear them.