Terri Westgate was born in London, into a family of QPR fans with no known Norfolk connections and yet every other Saturday she's stood, arms aloft, voice warbling, on the Barclay. Here's her City story.
If you have read my previous blog, you know that I am Barclay hardcore – cue vision of me in a Burberry baseball cap, giving it large with a make-shift knuckleduster made of Lego. I mean those bricks can really hurt…
I digress. What I mean to say is that I have been singing “City till I die” at the top of my lungs, for more than two decades and through a UEFA cup run and four relegations. I even have one solitary tattoo, of the sacred canary – chosen because I knew it was something that would be still be relevant when I got old.
But despite this dedication, my more than 20 years as a Norwich resident and my very-Norfolk family name, I was not born a City fan. This is not my fault. Back in the very early 1900’s one of the Westgate clan wandered out of the county. His purpose was as a temperance preacher – and therefore must be spinning in his grave. Sorry great-grandpa, but I’m not giving up the drink anytime soon.
On his travels he met a young lady in Kent. Marriage and children followed, one of which was of course my granddad. There was then tragedy which left the children orphans and their only family connection was with Gillingham (of all places). I’ll skip the rest of the family history, as no doubt I’ve bored you already with the detail. But jump forward a couple of generations and I was born in a London Borough, with parents who associated with a team of blue and white hoops (*whispers* QPR, oh the shame).
So not only was I not born in Norwich, but I had no known connections to greatest county in the world and certainly no family members to guide me to my Carrow Road initiation. I’m a cold, logical person who doesn’t believe in fate or predestination, yet I was born in Nelson hospital which is just the first coincidence. My parents decided to leave the big smoke when myself and my siblings were young, and for some reason decided to head East. First to Bury St Edmunds, and then into the borderlands of Lowestoft.
I had almost made it back.
When the family tree was researched, and the Norfolk history was rediscovered we were all amazed. However more importantly it meant that as I began to fall in love with football in the late 80’s the nearest league ground to attend a match was of course in our Fine City. Despite my father’s enthusiastic retelling of the “Super Hoops” 1967 League Cup win at Wembley, it was the men in yellow and green that would win my heart.
I am not alone, there are many of die-hard supporters who’s journey to Carrow Road wasn’t a straight forward one. We weren’t all taken to our first games as a child, we don’t have that family legacy. For some it was work, for others it was college, and there are a few where the connection is a chance moment that made them pick The Canaries as their team.
I'm lucky that there are no photos of a young me anywhere wearing a blue and white football shirt; my father never imposed his team. In fact both my parents are now Norwich season ticket holders, they were also converted to the cause despite continuing the wandering and now being residents in Derbyshire.
So I am not technically City born and bred. I am so by coincidence and very good luck. I love the city of Norwich, it is every bit my home. I will continue to follow the team through thick and thin for the rest of my life. In fact no matter the location of your birth, you can still be a Canary through and through. You may not have been born in the city, but the burning passion for the club was simmering inside all your life, just waiting for you to discover it. This was our destiny (OK, I don’t actually believe in destiny, but being a football supporter makes you all whimsical…)
So sing it loud and sing it proud - despite the apparent facts to the contrary, we are all City born and bred. OTBC.
While you're here.
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