If this wretched season could be encapsulated in a single day our game at Carrow Road against Tottenham on Sunday was certainly it.
Very much having a liking for the Lilywhites, I’d been looking forward to this fixture ever since Christmas even though at that time a Champions League spot for Spurs seemed most unlikely and nobody could have predicted then what was to be at stake for them on the final day of the season.
I’m pleased to say that I rarely suffer from coughs, sneezes, colds and all that but I started to feel really bad on Saturday dinner time and on matchday I struggled to get out of bed with the worst dose of man-flu I can remember. I’m still struggling as I write this tbh.
Quite a few friends and family reckoned it might well be Covid as they’ve had it themselves and told me they felt the same way at the time as I do now, so I’m going to hide up for a few more days just in case.
The only silver lining is that I knew early doors I wouldn’t be able to make the game so managed to pass my ticket on to MFW regular Don Harold in enough time for him to come on as a late sub. He provides his thoughts on the “matchday experience” further on in this article.
So what did I miss out on?
With my Tottenham hat on, a superb display of counter-attacking football which ran us poor old Canaries ragged at times, Champions League qualification and Son Heung-min getting to share the Castrol Golden Boot with Mo Salah.
More poignantly we might not be playing them again for quite some time so I’ve probably missed out on seeing Messrs Kane, Son and Lloris ever again, which will concern me more than the vast majority of City fans of course.
So what about us?
The usual litany of inept defending, giving the ball away in midfield and being caught out on the counter far too easily.
If that proved to be Tim Krul’s City swansong he left us with two contrasting memories that summed up his season as well, namely a massive boo-boo while trying to pass out from the back to Mathias Normann who appeared not to read it to make it 2-0 and the game effectively over before half time and, later, a brilliant, instinctive save from a Son header.
Dean Smith said afterwards:
“I look at Tottenham and the best team won today by a long way. We played a similar system to them. When we had the ball they dropped deep into a mid-block, but what they do when they press you is they press you at pace and we didn’t do that well enough at all.
“If we want to be successful in the way I want to play then we’ve got to be winning the ball back a lot quicker than we do and we’ve got to get up to people and make contact a lot quicker than we do.”
Hard to argue with him, isn’t it?
Don Harold’s observations are whimsically apposite:
“There I was having a lazy Sunday morning when I received a ping from a malady-stricken Martin offering me his ticket for the season’s finale at Carrow Road.
“After a couple of minutes of working out the logistics of delaying my return to the Midlands, I accepted the offer and collected the ticket.
“I then spent a couple of really enjoyable hours watching performers showing huge levels of skill, determination, joy and ability in one of Norwich’s most iconic arenas. But I had to leave behind the joys of modern dance, mime theatre and The Big Gay Disco Bike which had provided the entertainment as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival at Chapelfield Gardens, and get myself down to Carrow Road.
“What can I say?
“The initial rendition of OTBC was surprisingly rousing, the Spurs fans were in good voice and the game went in exactly the same way as so many others have this season. The first goal came from the usual switch off after about a quarter of an hour and we all knew what lay ahead and the Norwich players demonstrated perfectly that they’re nowhere near good enough for this level.
“There were a few chants of ‘Delia Out’ which never really took off and a few verbal conflicts between a few fans. I didn’t wait around very long after the final whistle and it didn’t feel as though there was likely to be too much in the way of demonstrations.
“This has just a horrible season, there hasn’t been anything that I would describe as a highlight at any of the games I’ve been to. To demonstrate this, here are my stats for the season for games I have attended (including one cup game); Games 13, won 0, drawn 3, lost 10, goals for 8, goals against 30, points 3. Average of 0.25 points per game, 0.61 goals for and 2.3 against.”
As this piece started with a loosely medical theme I thought I should conclude it with one.
Okay, any excuse to feature a fine song from The Jam: