For many of you, although the main emotion on Saturday would’ve been happiness, there was a regret that you hadn’t been there for all of it.
There was no City Centre eruption upon the final whistle of the Swansea game, no Just Can’t Get Enough blasting from the speakers, no embracing family and friends or spotting known members of the City fandom in the crowd.
We were forced to watch through screens as we have been for the entirety of 2020/21. A moment that, as we know better than any other set of fans, is one of the best you can feel as a football fan, had its regular hallmarks stripped away.
Of course, I sympathise with that. The only game I’ve been able to attend this season was in front of a 2000-strong South Stand in November and I was denied my customary hot dog from Norfolk’s Finest. I’m aware that I’ve now discussed hot dogs in multiple articles, I have to say they’re probably my favourite thing about the sport and my selection of Goodison Park as my favourite away ground on the ‘the team’ page had a fair amount to do with the excellent catering outside. But I digress.
The truth is this season has been, for me, pretty much the same as normal, at least as far as watching games is concerned. Norfolk is a three-hour journey for me and given that a season ticket isn’t viable and the ticketing situation is a nightmare on a casual basis, I usually only end up at Carrow Road two or three times a season.
This, along with around ten away trips per year, makes up my match attendance for a season. In fact, I’ve gained many of the things others have lost, not least a sense of community around my football club, and the knowledge that I’m not the only person in the world that supports Norwich City.
When I messaged editor Gary in November 2020, the extent of my published writing experience was one 500-word article for the EDP’s ‘Your Posts’ scheme. I had expected Gary might let me write one piece for MFW, before I went off scavenging for the opportunity to write elsewhere. He trusted me to write another one a few days after that and, 46 pieces later, this season has become a fantastic one for me personally.
For the first time in my life, I’ve made friends with people that support the same football club as me, all while being able to write, make videos and talk on podcasts about my team; finding a proper outlet for my know-it-all analysis and discovering a platform to push my (seriously pro-Kieran Dowell) Norwich City agenda.
A lot of credit goes, of course, to Daniel’s boys, whose unbelievable performances have made reading, writing, and musing about current Norwich City affairs much more enjoyable than they would’ve been had I started writing last season, or in the grim period just before Stuart Webber’s arrival in 2017.
There’s nothing I’d love more now than to be able to meet the rest of the MFW community at a promotion parade, to look up at this season’s fantastic players on a broken down open-top bus as those responsible for their safety panic as they hang over the edge.
Supporting a football club has been difficult, as has life, in so many ways since the Coronavirus took hold last year, but has also provided a distraction, a resemblance of routine when so much of that has been stolen.
Whether your support of Norwich City is channelled through writing, shouting, crying, laughing or discussing, the Yellows have done a fantastic job of giving us all something to look forward to when we needed it most.
I won’t deny that I’m slightly offended that one of City’s best ever seasons has come with absolutely none of us in the ground, but I’m sure they’re absolutely desperate to have us back at Carrow Road.
No doubt promotion will necessitate more arduous long-distance journeys to NR1 although I will, unlike a certain Mr. Savage, accept them with grace, as I’ve been a part of the lesson we’ve all been taught about the importance of football in our lives.
All that’s left to do is to thank everyone that’s read my articles on the site and watched or listened to Norwich Talk, and to say that I hope you’ve enjoyed this season as much as I have, even accounting for the difficulties it’s provided.
I look forward to a more conventional season in 2021/22, and to one where the Canaries are, at short, short last, back where they belong.