As we wake up this morning to *Freedom Day* as it’s dubbed by certain sections of the media, I bet many of our thoughts turn to getting back to the Carra and seeing how the Premier League, NCFC and the 19 other clubs are planning for August 14. Or indeed how the endlessly changing, sometimes seemingly inconsistent and at times, to me anyway, thoroughly illogical Government guidelines will be interpreted by the Premier League.
I spoke with a few City-supporting mates during the week, discussing whether we should go ahead with our pre-season meet-up in a well-known pub on the Wensum, which had decided to keep table service in place in case any of us were worried.
As the correspondence continued, one of them said that the mask and social distancing rules now to become recommendations were the most divisive issue since Brexit. Scotty, you are spot on in my opinion.
Another couple of guys in our little group decided they’d rather not risk it for very sensible reasons concerning their personal situations.
I’ve always been firmly in the *sod it, nothing’s going to happen to me* group since I was allowed to go to a game with my little mates and without adults when I was about 12. My attitude hasn’t altered in over 50 years but over the weekend I had a St Paul on the road to Damascus moment as the reality of a Carrow Road return smacked me round the chops with both palms.
Throughout this pandemic [other readers may have a different word for it] Mrs P, myself and our adult children have been what we would class as sensible. Masks in shops and the odd places I have to go to on business have been mandatory. I’m pretty sure we will continue to wear masks in these situations long after today. Not for our benefit but in order to reduce any fears for other folks out there.
Does that make us candidates for saintliness status? No of course it doesn’t but it seems like common sense as we know there are people out there who continue to be seriously concerned – and who am I to say they are wrong?
We’ve all had double jabs without fuss or fight. I have my NHS confirmation card in my wallet at all times although I have never been asked to produce it anywhere.
Which brings me back to August 14.
As I write, nobody knows what the regulations concerning the return to our living room will be. But my Biblical moment hit me when I remembered that I have muscle atrophy in the jolly old lumbar region, which means I cannot climb the multiple flights of stairs to the Upper Barclay. This means I am allowed to use the service lift instead, courtesy of Richard the adjacent steward who I always enjoy a chat with as I wait for my turn to enter the lift – along with at least half a dozen other people.
And that got me thinking. It’s sardines in that elevator, it really is. Will the service still be operating? I haven’t got a clue but if it isn’t I’m potentially in deep doo-doo. And I’d genuinely understand if the Club decided to suspend the service. The Barclay concourse would be a no-no – it’s always been like a massive can of sardines. One less pint for me before a match as I really wouldn’t fancy using the gents, masked or not.
A further problem I have is that I will not install the NHS Test and Trace app on my phone. No bar codes for me I’m afraid. I know you’re supposed to be able to get a government *Covid passport* without joining Track and Trace but to me, my bit of cardboard is quite sufficient. Maybe the club will think otherwise. I reckon Boris Johnson and his colleagues know enough about me already without my willingly aiding them to find out even more.
My back isn’t going to get any better and for that reason for the first time in something like 34 years I won’t be going to every home match this season. Luckily I will be able to pass my ticket on for games I can’t make to a fellow MFW type so nothing is wasted – except my poor old back.
When you see the prime minister, royalty and folks such as Sir Patrick Vallance maskless at Wembley and Wimbledon that tells me one thing and that is: I won’t be wearing a mask at Carrow Road. In the lift, for sure, but in the Barclay? No way. I presume none of our readers went to Eton so weren’t able to join the Bullingdon Club, but if the top folks aren’t required to wear a mask then why should we?
Unless we choose to of course, which would be a choice that I thoroughly respect.
To conclude on a brighter note I cannot wait to see the new faces on the pitch. It astonishes me that I never got to see Olly Skipp in action so I don’t want to miss out on Rashica, Gilmour, Lees-Malou and the return of the Angus.
As Gary said yesterday, whatever our individual definition of the word is: let’s be sensible.