A slightly different review for you today as Andrew Lawn and Jon Punt look back on a game from a whole new angle, courtesy of Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones who insisted we join them in the Directors Box.
Biggest positive to take
After Leeds and Sheffield United answered our Friday night victory with back-to-back wins apiece, this was a high-pressure game. From a comfortable position in the driving seat, we suddenly found ourselves dragged back into the pack, without kicking another ball.
To answer it with a performance that was 95% swashbuckling comfort is testament to the wondrous job Farke and his staff have done to build a squad that plays without fear, even when audible panicky groans met every ball back to Krul. These boys don’t feel any pressure. Bring on the home straight.
The aforementioned groaning at Krul, followed by the ironic cheers when he elected to kick one long with City 2-1 up, stand in direct contrast to the unity that is usually emanating from pitch to terrace and back.
Reports from our friends in the Barclay Lower were the nerves, or heckling of Krul wasn’t really audible. From the halfway line they most certainly were.
ACN and Barclay End Norwich are regularly accused of assuming some kind of fan police role, one which we’re keen to distance ourselves from (usually). However – barracking players when we’re winning, sat top of the league and enjoying arguably the finest season in recent memory is borderline ridiculous. It also flies in the face of the kind of fan culture we’re trying to create, that of backing the team regardless of results or performances. So on this occasion, we’re quite happy to try and police the situation. If you were one of the ones getting on Krul’s back consider yourself cautioned.
Whatever happens from here, this team have given us a fantastic season, so let’s not take the piss out of them when they make a mistake hey?
Moment of the match
Emi. Emi’s flick. Emi’s nutmeg of Marshall. Emi’s poacher poke first. Emi’s one sock rolled down after yet another clattering. Emi Buendia. Take your pick.
Random Star Performer
Given the above, we can’t say Emi.
So, given they wined and dined us AlongComeNorwich boys we’ll say Delia and Michael. Partly because it was theirs (and Ed Balls’) foresight to bring in Stuart Webber and instigate this new way of doing things, which is bearing so much delicious fruit now, but also as an excuse to share this with you this...
For the entire 90 minutes, Delia and Michael hold hands. When City attack, they both lean forward like excited children and the joy etched on the faces when one of those attacks leads to a goal can’t fail to brighten your day. Conversely, every time Hull entered City’s final third, Delia would grip Michael’s hand tighter and tighter, and uttered the words; “help, help Michael, help” over and over. Contrast that level of passion and caring with almost any club and we come out top.
Further evidence of that can be found in who joined us in the box for the game; Neil Adams (sacked by them remember), Peter Grant (sacked by them remember), Aidy Bothroyd (former coach at the club, greeted like an old friend). This is a special, special club and it comes from the very top.
Now this was interesting. The acoustics on the halfway line are very, very different than behind the Barclay goal. When the Barclay was good, it was fantastic and the flags look even better from afar than from among them.
A nod too to the Riverend, who believe it or not Block E, were really joining in. Cries of “yellows, yellows” greeted every corner and the pre-game On the Ball City came rolling in from every side. Great work everyone, let’s keep it going.
Talking of joining in, Delia and Michael, led by Tom Smith’s wife Alice provide a halfway line choir. It may not be as expletive filled as we’re used to, although there were some expletives, but making Carrow Road an intimidating fortress doesn’t need swearing, it just needs every person to add their voice. All together now; Farke’s on a horse...
Our temporary vantage point also allowed us an insight into just how much of a difference fans actually make to those on the pitch. Speaking to former players and managers, club officials and the gaffer himself, they all were keen to stress the supporters’ influence on proceedings on the pitch. We’d assert this supporter influence is probably magnified given the average age of this squad – Farke’s fledglings need us behind them.
Whether it’s the players’ job to get the crowd going or whether you believe the reverse is true is an argument for another day. What’s undeniable is the fact that fans play their part – be it be getting on a player’s back or cheering them over the line – let’s all do our bit to make sure it’s the latter for the remainder of this season and beyond.
Our new view also afforded us an up-close look at Daniel and we spent as long watching him as we did the game. For such a charming, laid-back guy, he is a little ball of energy for much of the 90 minutes. Each mis-directed pass is accompanied by an exasperated cry of anguish, but crucially, one that is followed with an explanation of what they should have done in the manner of a frustrated, but proud teacher.
The most notable example was an explosion of rage as City lined up to defend a Hull free-kick. What was wrong, we couldn’t tell, but something was and despite us being 2-0 up at the time, Farke was furious that any standard might slip – evidenced in the fact that when Hull managed to get a foothold in the game by capitalising on Krul’s error, Farke could no longer bear to watch. He was straight down the tunnel, more than likely to prepare his half time rollocking.
For us it was quite the experience, but for the team as a whole, this was an evening to just put to bed as job done in trying circumstances and move on. It may not have been as comfortable as it should have been due to two defensive lapses, but this was vintage Norwich 2018/19. Free-flowing, joyful football interspersed with moments of madness, albeit broken up by goals when they were needed and culminating in a lovely win.