Taking up the guest blog mantle today is tweeter extraordinaire Dave Cole, who sums up perfectly the pain of not being there to witness this promotion charge …
The benefit of an early evening kick-off and win was the chance to relax before bedtime with a cuppa as the waves of social media satisfaction rolled in.
The analysis from Archant pundits (others are available) was universal in that we’d really been quite good against a Bristol City side that somehow fails to live up to its potential.
The corresponding reaction from the West Country was far less forgiving about the men in red but equally praiseworthy about the Canaries – a class apart apparently. The hype-train has left the station and HMS P*ss the League is lifting anchor if that’s the way you want to travel to the Promised Land.
Helpfully, MFW’s Gary has already posted a man for man precis of the performance, but from last night’s viewing, a couple of things really stood out among all the noise, or lack of it.
I’m an iFollower on the basis of hating Sky, and Chris Goreham does a better job than all of them, even if on Wednesday night the Radio Norfolk feed was a nanosecond behind the pictures. But in the social media deluge that follows every game comes the option of finding the differing highlight reels.
Sky Sports’ comes with fake crowd noise and their commentary, official feeds come with Chris and Hucks, but the ones that touched me were the unaltered clips that just had the sound from within an empty stadium.
As Todd swept that first time cross to the forehead of Jordan Hugill and the ball nestled in the far corner, shrieks of joy from the home contingent were the only sounds we heard. But there, alone, with arms aloft in mute ecstasy was a single figure behind the River End goal. A member of staff employed to chase stray balls in an empty stand.
That could have been us I thought; one of us would have been hugging and dancing with him and sharing the joy. Instead, here we are, living our football lives vicariously through those who are there. Thousands of silent voices hidden away behind our screen of choice.
As the victory was ticked off and we sat back to reflect, @Marvellous_X on Twitter stated:
“Only one sadness from that performance. It’s that @JordanHugill didn’t get to hear the Carrow Road roar he deserved.”
Gary Davey asked:
“We are quite sensational, but big question, are we as good as two years ago, would this team beat the other one (although there isn’t a lot to change)!? Think the atmosphere last time around made it feel better.”
And that is the gut-punch that I feel. Yes, this squad is better than before, albeit with more buckle than swash. There’s a different kind of steel too but it’s more about confidence and concentration than bravado.
But that brings the question about the bumps in the road that this division inevitably brings. While we sit here five points ahead of the schedule we set ourselves in 2019, what else can we do to claim the same success? What if personnel return from injury but performances dip?
Marvellous_X and Gary Davey are probably in the same camp as me in realising we are watching a VERY good Norwich City team playing in EMPTY stadiums.
The last promotion was achieved with a tsunami of goodwill flowing from the stands that picked up young minds and bodies and carried them home. But now? We are not there. We are powerless to help with the final push.
Imagine how good this squad could be with 27000 of us roaring them home!
Somehow we have to find a way of being there with them and letting them feel our support because the prize is not yet won. It breaks my heart, and I can’t believe it will soon be a year since we shared in it, but if this is going to end as another great season, we’ve got to find a way for the club to let the players know we are there for them every step of the way.
Smart analysis and smug satisfaction on social media isn’t enough – somehow we’ve got to find a way into the players’ heads and hearts even if we can’t be there in the flesh.
I hope the club can find a way to involve us in the charge to the finish line because they will need us. The absence of match day is destroying me.
In the meantime, someone needs to buy that lonely figure behind the River End goal a beer, because on Wednesday night, he was all of us.