Tim MacWilliams makes his AlongComeNorwich debut with a look at his favourite Carrow Road memories and the power of Chris Goreham's dulcet tones to accompany them.
What are your top three Carrow Road memories from the past forty years?
The spine-tingling WW1 centenary commemoration accompanied by a lone bugle might be up there but let us stick to those matters on the pitch for now.
These are mine;
1) The last-minute Steve Bruce header against Ipswich in the Milk Cup semi-final
2) Simeon Jackson’s stoppage-time winner accompanied by “that” piece of commentary
3) Gossy’s equaliser against Bayern
There are, of course, many other contenders. Adam Drury making it 4-4 against Boro, the Beccles Boy against Leeds and any number of notable entries during the Worthington and Lambert era.
When the dust eventually settles on Saturday’s classic with Pukki’s 97th minute prod, its likely to be somewhere in the top 10.
Other than, perhaps, winning on penalties (let’s not go there right now...) there is nothing more joyous in football than a late winner, particularly if it comes via a time-wasting opposition corner and while the referees watch is running on fumes.
Is there anyone who feels worse than an away fan under such circumstances? Maybe there is...
Just as the exciting final act was about to unfold, a man sat in the row immediately in front of me, who had spent much of the game texting, got up and told the boy next to him it was time to leave “We can listen to the end on the radio” was his only offer of conciliation as the boy followed reluctantly down the stairs all the time craning his neck to catch a final glimpse of the action.
This youngster and quite possibly a number of others who had their afternoon curtailed by someone more senior may never quite forget being denied the chance of telling their friends “I was there”. But, maybe, if they did make it back to the car in time for the 96th minute they could still share in the drama thanks to someone who ones described himself as a fan with a microphone.
“Pukki... Can he finish....? Yes, he can. Unbelievable.”
Maybe the excitement bought to life through the commentary team would still make it a fond memory for those driving home early and they might, one day, forgive their parent for missing this particular Carrow Road thriller. All thanks to another classic piece of Chris Goreham commentary.
We know Chris is a fan, born and bred, one of our own who lives and breathes the club. He feels the success and failure of the team as acutely as anyone.
For those that can’t get to a match the emotion and excitement that nearly every fan’s experiences are conveyed. This is nothing without the accuracy and description of every moment. I once asked him what the key to a good commentary is. “I just say what I see” was the modest reply. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? I’m sure it isn’t.
No sooner is the match over and the counselling can begin. Win, lose or draw Rob Butler will talk you through it and get you over it. Another fan and broadcaster making a tricky job sound easy.
Not every club has a Chris or a Rob though. For a while, I had a seat in the press box, directly in front of the away local radio commentator. All of them decent broadcasters but some didn’t even support the club they reported on. One told me he was an Arsenal fan another said he didn’t even like football but felt he got away with it most weeks. I’m pretty sure Norwich fans would see (or hear) right through such an imposter.
When I hear Norwich supporters talk about Jackson’s stoppage-time winner that put promotion just a step away (almost a decade ago now) the radio commentary from that day is often included in the conversation. That crazy moment with all the emotion spilling out described in a way that a picture might not do justice. A memory of exactly how every fan was feeling at that historic moment. I reckon many City fans have this as a guilty pleasure on their iPod and play it back as much as any favourite tune.
“Lansbury’s Corner goes all the way through, Chance...” You know the rest.
I’m not sure there was any local radio coverage back in 1985. Fortunately, I was taught never to leave early but I wonder what Chris would have made of the last-minute Steve Bruce semi-final header against Ipswich? I am sure, it would have been another one for the iPod.