As Nanny would say, it really was a case of ‘Wot about the City?’
06:30 28 January 2016
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My dear old late Nanny always provided the best post-match analysis on Norwich City – I’m afraid to say neither I nor our full-time sports writers even come close.
Win, lose or draw. Whether it was a drab 0-0 or a high-scoring thriller, the armchair fan for all of her 80-plus years would always sum Norwich’s fortunes up with the same four words.
‘Wot about the City?’ she’d say in that dyed-in-the-wool understated Norfolk way that I’m sure many readers will resonate with.
Yet, were she alive now, even Biddy Powles may have been moved to greater expressions of disbelief after last Saturday’s stunning afternoon of drama at Carrow Road.
‘Wot about the City?’ indeed.
It was one of those games where come Monday morning it becomes clear just how much of a football-mad county this really is, as offices all over are abuzz with people talking about the drama that unfolded.
It’s funny how many Liverpool fans come out of the woodwork as well.
My place of work was no different and much of the tone was similar to that in discussions on social media in the immediate hours after the defeat. People talked of being furious, angry and gutted at the manner of the defeat. They savaged those players (you know who I mean) whose mistakes had allowed it to happen.
Yet (and I’m fully expecting a bit of mild trolling for the rest of this column that is about to unfold) I felt none of these emotions.
Of course I was disappointed to see Norwich throw away both a lead and undo the work it did to prevent defeat.
Of course I don’t want the Canaries to be relegated and for those dropped points to end up being critical to failure.
But, despite this, my overriding feeling was one of being lucky to have witnessed such a match. Full of flaws and individual errors, granted, but all the more thrilling for it. Games likes this are what I pay my season ticket for.
I was lucky enough to be present the last time Norwich lost 5-4 at Carrow Road to Southampton in a similarly tremendous game in the 1993/94 season.
Two decades on and all I can properly remember from that season is the European run and those 90 minutes.
Granted there was no one of the calibre of Matthew Le Tissier running things on Saturday, but I still warrant that in another 20 years that will be the only game many of us clearly remember from 2015/16.
I’d much rather witness games of this ilk every now and then, than see us try to eke out 0-0 draws and 1-0 victories in the manner of the last time we were relegated. Perhaps that doesn’t make me a real fan.
We may have lost, but at least Carrow Road felt alive and kicking on Saturday. It hasn’t always of late.
Of course, if I was Alex Neil I would have been livid. He and his players clearly have a job to do and I understand why from their point of view points comes first, entertainment after.
He’s got plenty of questions to ask of his players between now and Spurs at home next Tuesday.
He’s also got questions to ask of himself, such as why he does not yet seem to have properly learned that Norwich always needs an out and out defensive midfielder to provide extra cover to our all-too-often over-whelmed back four.
He’ll also have to work out the best way to inform Russell Martin it’s time he was taken out of the line of fire and his captaincy given to either Alex Tettey or Steven Naismith. But this team really should have enough talent to ensure in the remaining games City pick up enough points to allow the rare guilty pleasure of a nine-goal thriller. Let’s just make sure we get the five next time around.