I walked to Carrow Road in the spring sunshine of St George’s Day to watch our Premier League match against Newcastle United. You know, those ex-paupers from many miles up the A1 who conspicuously attracted recent investment, albeit from an extremely dubious source.
I fell in with a trio of Mags on Prince of Wales and walked with them as far as Morrisons and as is so typical of these folks, there was much banter to be had. I occasionally went to Cramlington for work so didn’t need a translator and all three were great company. I think I’ve warmed to every genuine Geordie I’ve ever encountered and these lads were no exception.
They praised Dan Burn and Chris Wood to the hilt, although they were just as surprised as I was when Newcastle signed them, and said that Jamal Lewis has been very unlucky with injuries since he joined but they reckon he’ll be kept on by Eddie Howe at season’s end.
I naively asked why many of their fellow supporters were sporting Hawaiian shirts over their colours to be told “Why-aye man it’s for Joelinton. It’s the closest we can get to Brazilian national dress and it’s a current craze in the Toon“.
Sincere handshakes all round and we went our separate ways into the ground. Great people, great fun.
Half an hour later that warm fuzzy feeling [a term much loved by London-based office workers in the 1990s] had evaporated.
Mistakes-R-Us saw us 3-0 down shortly after the break and I admit it – for the second time this season I quit ridiculously early. A triumph for common sense over loyalty I would consider. I was by no means alone.
I was briefly held up by a steward I vaguely know as I attempted to leave Upper Barclay D Block and it soon became apparent why. Some guy a few steps down the concourse who was doubtless as frustrated as me was giving a couple of other stewards verbal hell as they attempted to gently guide him on his way out of the ground.
Profanity wasn’t in it and I don’t mean the guys in the orange Hi-Viz vests!
The stewarding team didn’t want to involve the police, so the guy I knew asked me to give his colleagues time to let him out of the ground. He asked me to wait for a couple of minutes then came down the steps with me to let me out – they’d had to man the fire door to stop the geezer trying to get back in.
Apparently, he refused to sit down after a couple of warnings and had been swearing loudly against Delia and Stuart Webber. I don’t conduct myself in that manner but I had a smidgeon of sympathy for him in a funny kind of way.
I had originally intended to quote Dean Smith and Grant Hanley and follow that up with an Inbox message from one of my NCFC supporting friends as I usually do on a post-match article, but when I read this comment on Gary’s heartfelt piece yesterday, I thought I’d let MFW commenter [Hoola] Han Solo assume the mantle as this says it all perfectly for me:
“The Webber debacle just sums us up. He has shown contempt and with this mountain project cannot be fully focused on his role. By saying he is 90% here is just not acceptable. What other employee would accept a statement like that? Instead, they are bending over backwards to keep a possibly disinterested employee.
“He is accountable for the horrific recruitment and should be addressing this instead of his arrogant attitude towards the supporters. He is quite rightly facing a backlash and should show more humility towards the fans that have this club’s best interests in their hearts and purely want a side that looks competitive in this division.”
I certainly couldn’t have put it any better myself.
Over my 45-year working career, I have been in public relations roles for both the Metropolitan Police and the chemical industry for about half of that time and I can say one thing with perfect clarity.
As unpopular with the general public as both those institutions were then and continue to be even more so today, I would far rather do that than PR for Norwich City Football Club. At least both of these former employers were prepared to listen to the advice that I and others were well paid to give them.
Maybe we wouldn’t always be given the green light on a reaction comment or a forward strategy, but our opinions were always considered.
This cannot be the case at NCFC as if Delia doesn’t shoot herself in the foot then Webber will. I found his Times interview disparaging at best and downright bl00dy offensive to the fans who basically pay his wages at worst. It’s getting to the thinking classes of the fanbase on an increasingly regular basis. The more this continues the more I fear for our beloved club.
As an aside, both Danel Sinani and Harry Toffolo scored for Huddersfield on Friday, Timm Klose for Bristol City on Saturday and Harrison Reid is PL-bound with Fulham. Ho-hum.
*** I’d just like to end by wishing my matchday mate Steve all the best – get well soon pal.
There are many, many versions of this totally appropriate song available but this one is my personal favourite. The camerawork is extremely Rod-centric but it will give any poor souls who never saw The Faces live, an insight into what they were like – loud, rough and awesome: