Blinkered or not, Norwich City fans have to accept a bit of reality
PUBLISHED: 10:46 13 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:46 13 January 2018
Football fans are among the most blinkered people around. It goes with the territory.
When you commit to supporting a team, it is for life. Marriages end, but the team you follow is a lifetime love affair - for better or for worse.
In order to keep the magic going, we have to be a touch deluded: we turn a blind eye when we are let down and will not accept that our club is anything short of the best in the world.
Referees are against us, we are unlucky when we lose, our penalty shouts are justified, theirs are rubbish.
At Norwich City, the club that I chose (or, more truthfully, chose me), one of the perennial delusions is that we should not be a “selling club”.
It’s pertinent right now, as Alex Pritchard moves to Premier League Huddersfield for £12m.
Some fans say we shouldn’t have let him go. I reckon it was good money for an injury-prone player who has every right to chase his dreams in the most lucrative league in the world.
Short career, and all that. Attention now turns to James Maddison, who is arguably the last genuine diamond contracted to the Canaries.
Many fans say we should point-blank refuse to sell him, and if we cave in, it’ll show that the club has no ambition.
The truth is, selling players has rarely betrayed a lack of ambition - just a sense of perspective.
For, if you didn’t already know it, Norwich are a medium-sized club, destined always to be either in the Championship or the lower end of the Premier League.
Location, history and average attendances do not make Carrow Road a sought-after location for players, at least when there are bigger clubs calling from London or the North-West.
If it’s a hard truth to take, consider history.
Generations of fans have had to face the departure against their will of their heroes.
Ron Davies, Ted MacDougall, Justin Fashanu, Kevin Reeves, Chris Woods, Dave Watson, Steve Bruce, Kevin Drinkell, Dale Gordon, Andy Townsend, Robert Fleck, Chris Sutton, Ruel Fox, Darren Eadie, Craig Bellamy, Dean Ashton, Alex Pritchard.
The list - which no doubt misses some obvious names - will keep growing.
The sad thing is, recent events have left Norwich more vulnerable than ever when the big fish circle.
Two years ago, if we made a bid for a Huddersfield star, we’d expect them to want to join us. Now the roles have reversed.
City are skint, in transition on and off the pitch, not very nice to watch and likely to be in the Championship for a while. They also play in yellow, which clashes with so many other colours.
We have to at least try to stop kidding ourselves - we are a selling club.
We couldn’t stop Pritchard leaving and, if he wants to go, won’t really be able to stop Maddison.
Hopefully he will stay. But who could blame him for trying the Premier League out?