As the *silly season* gets fully underway with anybody from Arsenal, Leeds, Villa and even Slagheap Rovers apparently after our Emi Buendia, I thought I’d cast a brief personal eye over our *ghost season* – you know, the one where we weren’t individually or collectively allowed into Carrow Road, let alone the stadia of other clubs. And our squad outshone everything the EFL Championship could throw at us: untimely injuries, dubious refereeing decisions, and all.
Although I’m fully prepared to abide by the law of the land and still respect the police force I was once part of during the dark ages of the early1980s, it’s been gut-wrenching not to be allowed to physically enter the Carra.
A political and medical decision in equal parts that we all surely have to respect while equally hoping that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his sidekick Matt Hancock allow us all back in August. If there are no masks required I’ll be back in a shot, otherwise not at all. That’s my choice, feel free to make your own, dear readers.
NCFC have already secured my season ticket for next season and to the best of my knowledge have temporarily ceased taking direct debits from my bank account. I’m sure other clubs have done the same but it’s reassuring to know that NCFC do care and fulfil their promises. We’re valued, all of us supporters, believe me.
For my sins [or blessings] I live half my life in the City and the other half of it in Mundesley. Almost a year ago to the day Mrs P and I turned up at Mundesley and the landline answerphone was flashing.
It was a message from City stalwart and player liaison officer Phil Lythgoe to enquire if I was okay, needed any form of help or had any covid-related issues. He invited me to call back if I had any problems. I didn’t return his call because I didn’t have any concerns and had no desire to inconvenience him but it was wonderful to get the call. Would any of the *top six* clubs have made that effort? I doubt it.
And I’m only 63 so Phil and his ilk probably directly helped out some of our more senior supporters who might have needed a leg-up, whether in a conversational or practical sense, or both.
The sight of Onel Hernandez, Tim Krul and quite a few other players delivering food parcels was heartwarming too. They didn’t have to do it, they chose to.
And then the entire season was played out behind closed doors, with the gifts of Sky and/or iFollow. Many folks apparently had bad experiences with iFollow but apart from around three minutes when Chris Goreham and Gossy’s commentary and observations went awol I didn’t suffer at all. A tenner for most of next season’s away games? Oh yes, I’m up for that.
But if I can get a ticket for Arsenal or Tottenham – I’m sure I will even if I’m in with the *enemy* – that facility won’t be required. I wonder which colours Ollie and Emi will be sporting? I guess I’ll find out nearer the time.
I’ve also missed sitting diagonally behind my long-standing NCFC friend, Keith, who is in his early 80s. I’ve lost his phone number so cannot contact him but somehow I just know he’ll be there when we collectively go back. MFW commenter *Mystic Kev* knows him too so he’ll understand what I mean.
Then there’s the trio who sit directly behind me.
Graham the Leicester Tigers fan, the guy whose name I’ve completely forgotten who is into English Civil War re-enactment [he’s a Roundhead pikeman in Sir Thomas Lumsford’s regiment] and his hipster mate who unfailingly makes me laugh with his dry comments.
The stewards I know, Richard on the service lift to the Barclay and others. I simply cannot wait to see them all again.
Even the odd miserable $ods who sit in our little enclave – I’ve missed you too in a funny kind of way.
What a joy it will be to return to our spiritual home.
This classic has never been more pertinent: