So, for one final time.
A season that promised so much, yet delivered only a big, fat, Family Fortunes-type UH UH.
At least when we headed to Anfield on August 9, we had hopes and dreams. Okay, so there was a little bit of fear over the level of damage the reigning European champions may inflict, but it’d get easier from there. Wouldn’t it?
And, plus, it was the start of a new adventure.
But this afternoon is just a bonafide buttock-clencher. Full stop. The only good thing that can possibly come out of it is that we don’t suffer a shellacking of Manchester United/Ipswich or Southampton/Leicester proportions.
And when the bar is that low, you know at some point over the last few months the brown stuff and the fan have collided.
That one of our measly five wins was against Man City merely adds to the jeopardy level. So too the records that Pep’s men have in their sights as described succinctly by Archant’s Dave Hannant.
And while revenge is maybe a bit strong, Guardiola will want to put right what went wrong for him on that balmy September night, and he’ll certainly not want to suffer the ignominy of being doubled by statistically one of the worst teams ever to blight the top division.
Alas, for us, this is a very different Norwich team to the one that pulled off that Carrow Road miracle. We may have been on our knees in terms of personnel, but we had spirit and confidence and belief.
The ol’ place was literally abuzz that night and as we left the ground – in something of a daze, to be honest – it felt like almost anything was possible.
As it transpired, the records we ended up smashing were all of the wrong kind. But we were right in a way… anything was possible.
We know from previous experiences what a brutal, unforgiving place the Premier League can be. Been there, done that.
But we somehow convinced ourselves that because our club was being managed a different way, this particular Premier League experience was going to be better than those that had gone before.
We were wrong.
If anything, this experience has been the most painful of the lot; part of which can be attributed to the worldwide tragedy that’s unfolded, part of which boils down to some misfortune and some of which has been of our own making.
The bit over which we’ve had control has been royally screwed up. Of that there can be no debate.
Too much was asked of Stuart Webber by the owners.
Too much was asked of Team Farke by Stuart Webber.
And too much was asked of the players by Team Farke.
And, yes, I know… hindsight. But looking back and knowing what’s unfolded since, it would have taken a miracle of five loaves and two fishes proportions for City to survive.
It isn’t all about money of course, it’s about how you spend it, but when you have barely a pot to pee in, the few coins you do have have be spent soooo wisely.
No wriggle room. No margin for error.
Like I said, the board were not only asking Webber to feed the 5000, he was also expected to walk on water while simultaneously turning it into wine.
I’m tempted to say, hopefully a lesson learned, but if the same opportunity comes along again, I suspect we’ll have no option but to take a very similar path.
In the meantime, keep everything clenched, strap yourself in, and hold on for dear life. Or just hide behind the sofa.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends…