Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Norwich City FC

Let's be 'avin you

This weekend EFW will mostly be watching Brighton & Hove Albion v Norwich City in League One. I have very fond memories of watching the Albion beat the Canaries 1-0 in the FA Cup 6th Round in 1983 but become slightly less misty eyed when recalling my only visit to Carrow Road - a 5-0 thumping in the Full Members Cup, Second Round (South), on a Wednesday night, back in the 1989/90 season.

We genuinely tried to get Delia Smith on board for an interview in the run up to this game but after an initial positive response from her press officer, it didn't quite materialise. As usual the fans came to our rescue. Replacing Delia - in a change to our advertised programme - lifelong Norwich fans Will Randle, Tim Key and the Woman In The Stands (WITS) blogger from the Pink 'un website told us just what's so special about Norwich City and why they don't really dislike anyone; aside from Ipswich Town, Colchester United, Wolves, Everton, Leeds and Millwall:

What is the best thing about supporting Norwich?

WITS: The way the club gets under your skin and becomes such an important part of your life. Without it, I wouldn't have met a whole bunch of new friends. Football is a whole day event and it's great to spend time chatting over a drink with fellow Canaries about all things green and yellow. Often I'm told I'm mad because I support Norwich. At least I'm mad with 24,000 other people at home games. It's like coming home when I drive into Norfolk. The adrenaline starts and winning creates such a high. There's nothing else like it on earth!

Tim Key: Well its all about supporting your local club, being born and bred in Norfolk, I see nothing better than going to Carrow Road or an away day somewhere with a group of mates to support your local club. We get sell outs of 25,000+ week in week out. Its so refreshing to see grounds like ours not half empty.

Will Randle: The best thing about supporting Norwich is the fact that you know that so many like minded individuals are there with you, singing their hearts out for the club. At Norwich there's such a great sense of pride. Not just for the club, not just for the city, not just for the county, but the whole of the Country. Norwich always have a full stadium which means the atmosphere at the game just can't be beaten. All of our fans are loyal and vocal and will never stop singing, even for a lost cause.

The Canaries celebrate their Milk Cup win over Sunderland in 1985

What's the worst thing about supporting Norwich?

WITS: Having suffered relegation 3 times as a supporter; the worst was at Charlton last season - complete desolation. We just lost the plot completely. Fulham was humiliation. Chase-era was a nightmare at the end.

TK: Our massive slump since relegation from the Premier League in 04/05. However you get rough times with a football club, even though my record of seeing Norwich lose for 15 consecutive away games over a couple of seasons did start to test my patience.

WR: The worst is being so far away from any other club. Away games are great but being a Norwich fan you don't often have the time to go to Bristol Rovers on a wet Tuesday night because of work commitments the next morning.

Norwich City captain Adam Drury lifts the Division One title on the City Hall balcony in front of tens of thousands of Norwich City fans at the end of the 2003/04 season.

Is your rivalry with Ipswich still as intense as ever?

WITS: Yes. Just because we've not played them this season doesn't mean it's gone, it's just on hold on the pitch. We gloried in their faltering start and hope to pass them on the way up at the end of this season.

TK: There is definitely still a rivalry between us, when Ipswich had a poor start to the season, chants of there is only one Keano got sung round the ground, so it is still there. Just a shame that we are not in the same league this year as the derby is one of the first games you look for in a calender and look forward to in the season. So bring on the 'Old Farm' derby as its known next season.

WR: You bet it is! I take just as much pleasure from them losing as I do from us winning. Honestly, if I had the cash I'd get a season ticket in their away end just to see them get beat every week!

City fans at the San Siro (v Inter Milan) during the 1993 UEFA Cup run.

Away at Vitesse Arnhem in 1993. They were the days lad.

Do you have any other rivals aside from Ipswich?

WITS: Colchester after Cowling's comments earlier this season. Had he not made them, the match at Colchester would have been like any other. He intensified things unnecessarily.
Also Wolves (We only hate Wolves and Ipswich) as they're know for their welcoming, thuggish behaviour.

TK: Well before this season I would have said no, but the whole Colchester Utd saga that has been going on you have to say them. Everything that has happened between us this season, them beating us 7-1, then we take Lambert as our manager. And their chairman Robert Cowling coming out in the papers and saying Norwich should be deducted points, and when we asked for extra tickets he said he would rather have empty seats than have it filled with extra Norwich fans. Luckily we won the reverse fixture 5-0. So although this is probably coming more from the Colchester end, they have become more of a rival over the season.

WR: As a whole we'd probably say Wolves (Muscat's tackle on Bellamy), Everton (Them nicking Mike Walker) and Colchester United (The whole Paul Lambert Fiasco). But like many other genuine football fans in general we obviously hate plastic top 4 replica kit and nothing else fans (There are loads in Yarmouth) and aren't too keen on Leeds or Millwall either. Charlton aren't exactly best mates after they sent us down, but at Norwich we're, for the most part, a decent, friendly club.

Promotion to the Premier League away at Watford.

What has made you laugh in your time of following the Canaries?

WITS: With embarrassment, it has to be Delia on the pitch 'Let's be having you!' I expect a lot of others will say this as well. Also some of the half-time entertainment has left a lot to be desired. I think the most recent example is when the cross-bar challenge didn't take place as Fraser Forster wanted to warm-up during half-time at the goal where this usually takes place. It clearly didn't occur to the guys running the cross-bar challenge that there was a free goal up the other end of the pitch they could have used!

TK: There are some things when at the time you cringe and want the moment to finish, but in the end you look back on and have to laugh. Delia's half time rant against Man City 04/05 is one of these. Embarrassing moments for lme ike turning up at Bristol Rovers ground instead of Bristol city's 15 mins before k/o and wondering why no one is about you also have to look back on and laugh.

WR: Our fans actually! We've got quite a few witty characters down at Carrow Road and some of the chants we come up with are hilarious! Just look at the exchange with the Chelsea fan's in the F.A. Cup a few years back. '' You've got a Russian Crook, we've got a Super Cook!'' Pure genius!

Relegation "party" at Fulham.

Games at Carrow Road nearly always sell out. Are there any plans for a new stadium or ground improvements?

WITS: As Carrow Road's not long been increased in size, a new stadium is highly unlikely. The Jarrold, I believe, was built with foundations to receive an upper tier, should demand for tickets grow. However, the lost revenue in temporarily closing it to add the second tier could not be afforded in the current climate. Watch this space I guess.

TK: Well, currently there aren't until we get to the Premier League according to our chairman at the AGM recently. Lots of fans said they should have filled the corner between the Barclay and Jarrold stands instead of putting a hotel there a few years back. So the only option I would guess would to build added tiers onto existing stands which can be done with two of them apparently.

WR: If we are to establish ourselves as a Premiership club then there are plans to add extra tiers to the City Stand and the South Stand which should give us a capacity of around 35 000- 40 000. I for one can't wait 'til they sort out the City stand as it's got a leaky roof and we always get soaked. One woman in the stands even carries bin liners with her when it's raining!

8 panel beanie hats - tick!

And finally, Can you sum up Norwich City in a Tweet of less than 140 characters?

WITS: NCFC, we are the best club with the best fans, we bleed green and yellow! OTBC!

TK: A club that I have supported all my life, one that can make you happy, disappointed and angry all in the space of 5 minutes, one that no doubt what division we are in our fans will turn in week in week out. And probably one of the friendliest and most welcoming clubs around. (slightly exceeds the 140 characters but EFW graciously lets this one go).

WR: Norwich City are what I look forward to every week. They are why I get out of bed every morning. If I didn’t have Norwich, I don’t know what I'd do.

So there you have it folks. A little insight into Norwich City and their fans. Join us again on Sunday as we report back from their match with Brighton.

Many Thanks to Martin Thirkettle (aka Lord Horn) and Archant Norfolk of the Pink 'un for the photos.

- Feel free to comment below -


Nonki said...

Our run in Europe was '93 not '83, otherwise great read.

Unknown said...

Fantastic read. Well done. Don't think we have anything like this

Danny Last said...

@Nonki - schoolboy error from myself. I've put it right now, please accept my apologies!

@James - Cheers old chap.

BDC0652 said...

Good to see i got onto the Vitesse photo, i am behind the bloke clapping with a yellow cap at the front.

Europe here we come, well pre season anyway!

Adam said...

Being something of a Sunderland fan I obviously have a soft spot for Norwich too. Are there any other similar examples to the Norwich/Sunderland Friendship Cup?

Danny Last said...

@BDC - If you click on the photo it enlarges it slightly so you can get a better look. Any good anecdotes from those glory days?

@Adam - Friendships between English clubs are pretty rare aren't they? Very common place in the rest of Europe though.

BDC0652 said...

Many good times going back to the early 80's, trouble is drink clouds the memory. Personally i don't travel to away games as much now, but my mates still do and they will be at Brighton on Saturday.

Europe, especially Munich has got to be the best memory, i can remember running around in dis-belief, on the wooden benches in the Olympic Stadium, when we went 2-0 up.

Strangely pre-season trips are always good, we make a point of doing them every year and there is always a good group. Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Malaysia, Scotland, Ireland etc

About 5 years ago we hired a massive house on the canal, in the centre of Amsterdam, for the week for the pre-season tour it cost us over £3000 but we still talk about it now. Parties, drinking and other things, oh and football.

I wasn't present, but in Sweden a couple of years ago about 15 of our group turned up at a game in the middle of nowhere and the bar was closed so the chairman of the team we were playing drove a small delegation to the nearest supermarket and they filled his boot up with beer. Can't see many Premier League Chairman doing that!

We have started missing away games to do European weekends now, recently we have been to Lisbon, Valencia, Madrid and Rome. We are all off to Porto, to hopefully do Porto and Braga, in about 6 weeks so will email you a few pictures.

WITS said...

A great read and thanks for including my comments and a link to my blog. NB it's Woman in the Stands not Women - there's only one of me!! I don't think the world wants anymore like me.

ALi said...

It's a complete p*ss take that teams like Norwich are in League one when there are teams in the Premiership such as Wigan Athletic. But if they keep fighting on, they'll be back in the big time, I'm pretty sure.

nationalexpresssuperguard said...

brilliant blog. I may even start reading it every week as a neutral fan, but as a loyal yealla, I did enjoy reminiscing. oh that day in May, hot, singing and my mrs moaning her feet hurt. The joys of winning div 1!!!

1860er said...

The only ever Norwich City match I've ever attended was the 2-1 away at Bayern Munich in 1993. What a joy!

A number of local rival 1860 supporters joined the Canaries in the away end and hoped for the impossible to happen that night - and it did!

Deacs said...

Top Article Danny... Norwich is a brillant club and a top away day but I hope the seagulls do us a favour on Saturday!

C'mon Gus Poyets Blue & white Army!


Anonymous said...

I still hate Brighton/Jimmy Case
since that cup game at The Goldstone in 83!

Unknown said...

really good article, always nice to see Norwich seen in a positive light and glad I could help for it. All the best