As Barclay End Norwich kick off a crowdfunder, Thomas Markham-Uden tells us why he thinks it's important and how we can pull together as a fanbase moving forward.
Bill Shankly had it right when he talked of the interconnection of football and life; everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. Football is a lot of things to a lot of people, but for us it represents community. A community. Our community.
Football, for all its insidious, cynical, corporate trappings, is a sport that still unites people. Thousands of people, spanning generations and demographics, come together over a mutual love of a sport, a league, a team. Whether the journey to get there is five minutes or five hours, people dedicate significant outlays of time to supporting their football club. Joined in a passion that more often than not runs deeper than can be adequately be explained or defined.
As well as simply turning up to a match, though, we feel that attending football is a transactional experience. We back our team, they respond positively and we in turn acknowledge their efforts. Everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards, and next season we want to work even harder at our end of things.
Since Barclay End Norwich started, we feel as if we’ve made some genuinely positive steps in working to improve the atmosphere at matches. Many of the newer songs that get an airing on a match day have stemmed from us, along with the majority of the banners displayed prior to kick off and the two fan marches that succeeded to an extent far beyond what we hoped they would.
We’re not naive enough to think that every single person supports our ideals and nor do we maintain that we always get things right. We don’t. However, what we do attempt to do is learn from what works and what doesn’t; to progress as a group that can give our all to supporting a football club to which we have given so many years of our collective lives.
Next season, we really want to take another big step in our evolution as a group. Not in the tired, “yellow wall” soundbites that get trotted out online, but in simple, yet highly effective and achievable aims that with a little assistance can hopefully kick the match day experience up a notch. Look up the efforts of other yellow and green clad fans from Nantes or Fortuna Sittard if you want an idea. No, it’s not Dortmund, but it still looks fucking cool.
Other clubs of our size such as Forest, Watford and Villa have gained exposure in recent months from impressive pre-match displays that were achieved through the generosity and involvement of fellow supporters and this is where we’re asking for help.
We have ideas for banners and displays that can involve the entirety of the Lower Barclay. Hell, the Upper can get involved too if we raise enough. What we want is inclusivity and engagement. What we want - and what we think we need - is an outward projection of our passion that matches what we all feel inside. What we want, is for as many people as possible to be a part of this evolution.
So whether you donate a pound or whether you really like the look of those pin badges and chuck us a little more, we genuinely appreciate it. Whether you help to hold up displays, join a march, or just take a photo from another stand and think, “that looks great”, we appreciate it. They say that football without fans is nothing, but the same can be said of our group. We started this as three people who had some lofty ambitions. Now we want to extend that membership to thousands and make those ambitions a reality. One city. One club. Together.
Donate to Barclay End Norwich's cause and help us improve the Carrow Road atmosphere - together. Anyone donating £10 or more will get an exclusive pin badge to say thanks.
At AlongComeNorwich, we are continuing to do our bit, by selling a NEW t-shirt, with all the profits going straight into the crowdfunder. If you'd like one of those too, links below. One City Strong.