Support your local team - it’s far more satisfying

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
8:19 AM

So what was the most satisfying aspect of Saturday’s 1-0 win for Norwich City against Manchester United?

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Maybe the defensive solidity? Or the way that it underlined City’s new-found resilience? Or the fact that it secured the second slot on Match of the Day? Or even the chance to see Sir Alex Ferguson looking fed up?

Was it heck? No, the most satisfying aspect was that it wiped the smug smiles off the faces of the Norfolk-born and raised people who cling to the coat-tails of “big” clubs from beyond our borders.

Ever since I was at school, the glory hunters have got my goat.

With no recognition of their roots, they nail their colours to the mast that they think will stand tallest.

Some will change their club like others change their cars, dazzled as they are by the latest shiny team to rev its way to the top of the Premier League.

In my lifetime, I have seen the streets of Cromer featuring people in Liverpool shirts, then a brief outbreak of Everton, then Manchester United, Blackburn, Arsenal, Chelsea and now Manchester City.

There are some who I respect: those who can claim a genuine birthright behind their allegiance. But most have just had their heads turned by dazzling stars and glittering trophies.

Not that they haven’t got excuses to hand, of course.

Like “My mum once met George Best’s auntie’s dog in Trunch.” Or “Dad said I should stick a pin in the fixture list. I stuck it into Chelsea.” Or “Man City were the first team I saw live.”

Funny how nobody ever has chance encounters with the pet of a relative of an Accrington Stanley player, or sticks a pin into Stevenage.

They might argue that the end justifies the means. But I would argue that they are condemning themselves to a second-rate experience compared to those who love their local club.

When I celebrate a momentous Norwich victory, the occasion is enriched by the feeling that I am part of the club – born into it through my bloodline and birthplace.

The club’s success gives me a sense of belonging and pride – a pride that is enhanced whenever the Canaries get a favourable mention in the national media.

And the enjoyment of success is redoubled by the fellowship of failure, which is something that glory hunters do not get.

It is a fact that one does not truly appreciate the best moments (like beating Man Utd) without experiencing the worst (like losing 7-1 to Colchester Utd).

Ultimately, Norfolk fans of the big teams rarely have more than a detached, distant experience. They are viewers. But we are part of the show.

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