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Tim MacWilliam with a look at the fine line between moaning and groaning and having faith that it will all be alright in the end. Probably.
A few seasons back when Cameron Jerome was played as a lone striker, I asked the question on social media if this was the best use of Alex Neil's resources The Canaries were newly relegated with many of the Premier League team still in place, so perhaps we could be a little more ambitious up front.
I think I may have likened Cam-Jam to a Shark in a tank that wasn't being fed. Which wasn't perhaps the subtlest analogy.
Later that evening after the 4-1 win at Blackburn a reasonably senior person on the staff at Carrow Road mercilessly trolled me before signing off; "Have a good season Tim". Sadly that victory was about as good as it got for Alex Neil in his final year at Norwich.
Hasn't everyone had an ill-advised moan, groan or complaint at some point in their football supporting life? The dark final days of Worthy? Actually, I'm not guilty here.What about Glenn Roeder? OK, I'm probably guilty on this one.
I'm sure there are some hatersbeyond help and they probably require our sympathy rather than criticism. Their life might not be a happy one or maybe they just enjoy complaining like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets.
At Carrow Road on Good Friday I encountered a number of folk who might be described as moaners or doubters (but not haters). Whatever their label they didn't like the way City were playing.
"It's like last season"
"Get it to Aarons quicker for fuck's sake"
"Kick it long Krul"
"It's not good enough"
"We are going to blow it"
In my reply I tried to remain positive "Don't worry it will come" but they were too full of doubt to listen. I followed up; "Have you seen the league table recently?" and received a death stare in return. To say these people are not proper fans or think those who (apparently) never shout at a player in a moment of frustration have some kind of moral high ground are wrong.
As the prospect of defeat rode into view one of the moaners screamed at a misplaced pass such was their angst. It dawned on me these people who are often described "as not proper fans" care with every fibre in their body but just can't keep it in, they have no filter. Perhaps they are more prone to stress or have encountered near misses and failures, not just as a football fan. They will always hope, but it's the hope that kills them and they won't allow themselves to dream, for fear of being hurt again.
When Vrancic stepped up to take that free kick, I knew, just knew that if I closed my eyes and willed the ball into the net he would score and silence the doubters. Looking away isn't the ideal thing on a number of levels for someone describing the action to blind and partially sighted fans, but "needs must" and, I reasoned, they would thank me for the assist later. Fortunately my Colleague Toby was on duty with the microphone.
The doubters and moaners (not haters) went crazy. Hugs, screams and an ill-advised knee slide on the concrete gangway. One guy almost fainted from the moment. The tension had been replaced by something akin to paradise, courtesy of Farkeball, Vrancic and me closing my eyes, obviously. I doubt you would have witnessed more joy anywhere in the ground. Unfortunately I think I may have added an expletive to telling a doubter (now a believer?)
"I told you so".
I didn't get to Stoke and an unscheduled trip to A&E scuppered any chance of the beam back.The same betting site that sponsor Stoke had offered streaming if a bet was placed. Perfect. lb5 Norwich to win (sorry my fault). When the streaming started not a yellow shirt could be seen or a verse of Farke on a horse heard. Instead I was given blow by blow account of the game by text. "Dangerous attack right hand side, foul committed, ball back in play". Bookmakers hey?
Easter Monday was fairly exhausting for all City fans although it helped no end that Leeds were falling apart, again.
The mainstream media engraved Norwich City on the Championship trophy following the QPR match and to be honest so had I up to 90+7 v Reading. The late equaliser dented some confidence but it did at least help Adrian Durham fill some airtime.
Many fans have said they just want promotion, they don't mind about winning the league. I was one of those people but now I've changed my mind. I don't want the official EFL Manager of the Season to get his dirty hands on the trophy, I want the best manager in the league and the best players in the league to parade it on an open top bus around the Fine City.
Brighton were miles clear a couple of years back. Victory at Carrow Road would see them crowned champions. However, the Canaries won thanks to two own goals then a series of unfortunate events on the last day of the season at Villa Park handed the trophy to Newcastle. I know it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things but I'm concerned history might repeat itself.
I sent my irrational fear to a friend via a chatty text but clearly the day had been too much for him. His reply was angry and slightly incoherent. I stood accused of being a moaner myself...
"Fuck the doom and gloom? That's what they don't need. In life you support your team it's not just if things are going your way on the pitch. It's everything, the club, the kids. We are not losing so why doom and gloom?"
My friend is relentlessly positive, like I think I used to be. I hate it when fans are negative but a match will shred emotions to the core. I've probably said things (even on commentary) that I shouldn't and I should ask someone to change my twitter password after certain high octane encounters.
If you hear a groan, moan or complaint at the Blackburn match don't shout them down or pick a fight.Get them to keep the faith then enjoy the celebration. You can always tell them later "I told you so"- with or without an expletive.
This season has felt like riding a magical surfboard on some kind of huge wave,let us all enjoy landing on to the Premier League beach together this Saturday.
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City host a resurgent Rovers side, who are coming to Carrow Road on the back of four wins on the bounce. There's also the small matter of getting that single point to rubber stamp promotion. Ahead of the game Jon Punt spoke to Blackburn fan Ian Herbert...