As the sun set on Carrow Road 2018-19, the boys in yellow were busy sealing promotion to the Premier League. Jon Punt here on the words.....
Random star performer
The entire team’s performance was so dominant it would be churlish to reward any individual contribution. So we’d like to take an opportunity to offer some thanks to those who’ve helped realise the vision that Barclay End Norwich and we had for making Carrow Road a more colourful and noisy place. If you waved a flag, thank you. If you helped put some out, or collected them back in thank you. If you gave us ideas for displays, thank you. And if you sang your heart out for this team, thank you. We love you all, especially YOU.
Moment of the match
All the moments, so many moments. From Vrancic’s sumptuous strike to the whole team’s thunderclap in front of the Barclay, with everything in between. You can’t define this evening in a moment.
Yet Mario’s thunderbastard to double the lead, easing any remaining nerves in the process, was probably top of the tree. The Bosnian’s cameo contributions have see City grab vital points as we’ve limped through the final furlong, so it was fitting that his goal effectively sealed the deal and powered us over the finishing line.
It was a brave call to opt for the aforementioned Vrancic as part of a defensive shield, especially when his strengths lie usually in setting attacks in motion. Yet he offered enough steel to get the job done, perhaps aided by McLean being a little less forward thinking and a bit more industrious – that was clearly a tactical ploy.
Aside from that, this team picks itself for now. There were no signs of the fatigue many thought Stiepermann and Hernandez were suffering from, the former weighing in with a fine goal of his own. You’d guess their loads are being carefully managed at Colney.
Farke seemed keen to ensure his players were the ones enjoying the spotlight in the immediate aftermath of the final whistle, a measure of the man. When he did join the celebrations the plaudits offered to him from all four sides of the ground will hopefully have made his heart just a little bit more yellow.
Biggest positive to take
This is a team built of supremely talented academy products and discarded rag dolls not deemed good enough for the Bundesliga. That Messrs Farke and Webber have shaped them into such a cohesive unit, playing the most attractive football Carrow Road has ever seen is nothing short of a miracle. And so it lets us dream of future miracles, of bloodying the noses of Citeh, the Scousers or Spurs. No-one of a Norfolk persuasion would now put that past these fine men.
This side was scrabbled together on such a finite budget and the perceived top talent being sold on to balance the books. Now the financial pressures are less prevalent, the excitement can start to bubble ahead of a Premier League campaign and the wonder of what this special management team can achieve with a few million to unearth the next gems to grace the Carra.
Before the fireworks started on the turf, pitch-side flames warmed Canary hearts in the stands. It framed perfectly a Barclay painted in yellow and green, interspersed with City themed nations flags, represented all nationalities in the squad. Furthermore, the messages of ‘Thanks for the magic’ adorned banners at the front of the stand, in each of the respective languages spoken by all the players. Both us and Barclay End Norwich were excited that the international flavour of the display coincided with the ‘Football Welcomes’ weekend, adding a sense of occasion to a fitting finale.
And then 2018-19 Carrow Road rocked for one last time, all four stands joining in regularly to create what was one of those special, special nights. The sense of unity and purpose the fanbase has shown these players is rare in these times. It has been duly rewarded by the players serving up one of the most special seasons in living memory.
The scenes that greeted the full time whistle won’t ever be forgotten. Everyone refusing to leave, drinking in this season one last time, at Carrow Road at least. Tim Krul mounting the advertising boards and leading the chanting was terrific, say what you like about his goalkeeping ability (although we think he’s great) but to have a keeper that understands how much the bond between supporters and players means is credit to what the club have built.
On another night the scoreline would have been emphatic, but it just doesn’t matter. Any signs of nerves were gone, perhaps aided by Leeds implosion a few days ago, and the team started to again display the kind of vivacious verve and vigour which has seen them at the summit for so long.
That the whole City has a side which they can be supremely proud of again will give a lift to every Norfolkian out there. 2018-19 will be remembered as fondly as any European campaign, play off final or Milk Cup victory. This was special, the whole team was special, and YOU were special in helping these boys over the line. Go have a pint to congratulate yourself.