Ahead of a visit from the Champions, Anna Say joins us for a reassuring look at the unpredictability of football
Football is a funny old game. It somehow manages to be stressful and frustrating, while also being beautiful and life changing.
But most of all football, at its very core, is unpredictable, and that unknown is a huge part of why we love it.
Every football fan will have a match or two that sticks in the mind, the kind of match where you feel like giving up before the game has even begun and yet a result is pulled from nowhere. Or the kind of match where your team looks dead and buried. It looks like it’s all over, but your team doesn’t give up and against all odds, they get something out of the match.
As a Norwich fan of 26 years, there are more than a few games like this that come to mind.
Take 2004 when we beat Manchester United 2-0. Dean Ashton and Leon McKenzie got us the goals and we held out we got the clean sheet even after United had brought Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Ruud van Nistelrooy on as substitutes.
Or last season Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day. The game was done, or at least that’s what it looked like, but we came back from being 3-0 down to draw the match when we had absolutely no right to.
With that in mind, I look to our next match. Man City, a daunting prospect for any team let alone a team like Norwich that has such current defensive woes.
I’ve talked to many Norwich fans about this match, with most joking about whether it will be 6 or 7-0 and In most of those conversations I have happily confessed to the fact that I refuse to give up on the match only to find myself confronted with a look of someone who clearly thinks that I have lost my mind.
I understand how it must sound. But I can promise you that I am not as naive as I initially come across. I definitely class myself as the happiest of clappers, but even I can see that Man City will likely beat us. But, does that mean that I am going to give up on the match? Absolutely not.
I believe that we as fans can play a huge part in this game. You hear it all the time from commentators, that a huge aim of the away side is to frustrate the home fans. They want the fans to get on their team's backs to pile on the pressure, and this is exactly what Man City will be wanting to do.
They are going to want to come to Carrow Road and absolutely turn us over with the first step being to break down the bridge between player and fans. If they do that, I have no doubt that they will see it as clean sailing from thereon. It’s up to us stop that.
We cannot let them turn up at Carrow Road and have an easy ride. If they do beat us, then it’s up to us to make sure they fight hard for those 3 points. We must make sure that win lose or draw they leave Carrow Road not just knowing who we are as a team but knowing who we are as a club, and we certainly won’t be able to do that by just giving up.
For one second forget about how we as fans view this match and think about how our boys will view the match.
It must be hugely intimidating knowing that you are about to face one of if not the best team in Europe, not only do they have to think about that, they also face this match knowing that they are going into battle without some of their best defensive players.
The one positive that they should be able to hold on to is the fact that Man City have to come to Carrow Road, Man City have to walk out to that amazing display that fills the Barclay week in week out, and Man City will have to listen to the defiance filled anthem of ‘On The Ball City’.
We as fans have the power to change the flow of the match, and putting our feelings aside regardless of whether we think that we will get a result or not it is important that our boys when out there on that pitch feel like we are behind them and believe in them no matter what, as the old saying goes fake it till you make it.
It's so easy to stand up and sing and get behind your team when they are doing well but who will be there and sing when it’s hard? Who will get behind the boys even when it feels like all the odds are against them? Who will stand defiant against the ones who have written us off before a ball has been kicked? Who will let this team know that they are not alone that we have got their back and that they are capable of putting up a fight against even the biggest of teams?
It won’t be easy in fact it will probably be hell but whatever happens whatever the result we make sure that we get there together.
And anyway, if luck is on our side, if Man City are looking the other way if the right through ball is there and if Pukki is in the right place at the right time who knows what might happen.
It's unpredictable and that is why we love it.
Get in the mood for Saturday's potential giant-killing with a free pint, a Q&A with City (x2) hero Darren Huckerby and live music, courtesy of ACN Live.