Norwich City’s Wembley joys are taking a long time to drift away – thankfully
11:00 31 May 2015
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Still feels good, doesn’t it?
Both sets of fans a credit to the day
1: We found ourselves on ‘the wrong side’ of Wembley, having to walk through scores of Boro fans occupying a roundabout and then eating in a restaurant where our yellow shirts and green wigs stood out in the sea of red. But I didn’t hear one fan offer up anything worse than a bit of friendly banter. I know it’s been said, but it really was a superb performance from both sets of supporters.
Here’s hoping we see more of Wes
2: I saw a stat somewhere that Wes Hoolahan had a 100pc pass completion rate on Monday. What an absolute joy to watch he was, yet again – one of those players with the rare talent of being able to get you off your seat with a bit of skill, a flick, a turn. Yet he’ll be more than aware that he will need to prove his worth again in the rough and tumble of the Premier League. I have faith Alex Neil will at least give him more of a chance than some of our previous managers have at this level.
Can you hurry things up a little?
3: My one regret from Wembley was that, at two-and-a-half years old, we didn’t feel our little boy was old enough to attend. My father rightly felt the same thing about me when Norwich won the Milk Cup in 1985 and it took another 30 years before the chance arose again. Don’t leave it so long next time please, lads.
Guessing game for new season
4: We now enter that time of the year when fantasy football takes over. Every Norwich fan will no doubt be mentally drawing up their Premier League player wish-lists over the next few weeks and busily scouring pages and pages of transfer rumours to spot a possible future Canary – or at least an agent who wants to tout them as one. I’ll be doing the same and you can read my thoughts on who might come and who might go in my final column of the season this Thursday.
Several days on from Monday’s thrilling Wembley experience it’s fair to say the high of that day and that victory is yet to recede.
Just take a look on Twitter, normally the first place for the cynical backlash to begin, and City fans continue to revel in the moment, analysing the match, reliving the magic. You’d think the game had only just finished.
It truly is the high that makes up for the many lows of being a football fan.
We put up with the dreary Tuesday nights at home to Rotherham (no offence intended), in the hope that it would lead to one day like this.
A day when memories are formed that we will cherish for a lifetime. It’s a cliche of course, but already I can’t wait to tell the grandchildren about the day Norwich invaded those famous Twin Towers.
Having now had the chance to take stock and reflect on the twists and turns of the last few weeks, it’s beginning to sink in as to just how meteoric the Canaries’ turnaround has been.
But I don’t all together mean in terms of results and our position – more the fact that in a few wee months (we all have to talk Scottish now don’t we?) a sense of both joy and direction has been brought back to the club.
I’ll admit there have been a few moments in the previous two to three years where serious consideration has been given to the option of giving up my beloved season ticket.
Spare time is all too fleeting for many of us, so you have to make sure it is spent wisely. But under Chris Hughton in the Premier League, nice guy that he is, a lot of what makes football so joyful had been lost. It was dreary.
Neil Adams, pictured, to be fair, played an exciting style, but you could sense a danger of the club returning to the days of yore when a dull mid-table Championship season followed mid-table Championship season.
I want to be clear that I’m not a glory hunter, but I follow my team for the thrill of exciting football.
If that isn’t served up, a lot of fans, possibly myself included, may have found it hard to justify parting with not just cash, but time.
But Alex Neil and his team haven’t just brought success, they’ve done it in a way that has been a joy to behold, with all the drama, twists and turns that keep us so engrossed by the sport.
That’s why I’m confident that whatever happens next season, Norwich will go about it in the right way and win a lot of admirers for doing just that.
Not that this means we will settle for being plucky losers, as I’m sure that even against the most mightiest of opponents, Neil will try to instil the belief and confidence in his players that they can go on and beat them.
The interesting question now is, just who might those players be?
While I agree with the manager’s point that a wholesale shake-up isn’t needed and that we have a squad with lots of top-flight experience, I will admit to a slight concern that for several of them that experience has not always been wholly positive.
They may have been there, but have they done it?
In this country there are a whole host of players who you would regard as being great in the Championship, but not so further up. I hope our players can prove they are not among them.
Neil may yet have some tough decisions to make about his squad between now and August.