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It was a freezing February night in 1996 when I first laid eyes on Carrow Road.

As the Fulham fans belted out chants of “We are going up” at the full-time whistle on Good Friday, it was hard not to feel envious.

If ever a crowd needed to see goals to warm them up, Saturday was it.

It says a lot about where Norwich City find themselves at this moment in time that matters on the pitch were almost a sideshow this week.

When the stadium announcer declared that six minutes had been added on against Bolton on Saturday there was an audible gasp of excitement.

For five short minutes it seemed like the unthinkable was going to happen.

The last time Norwich played Ipswich, his name was being sung jubilantly in the hours before kick-off by the hoards in green and yellow outside the Station Hotel.

There is a certain buzz that fills a stadium when an attacking player has space to run in front of him and the ball at his feet.

An excellent performance against one of the Premier League’s elite followed by a lethargic one at Carrow Road.

A Premier League team swoops in to buy one of the best players at an under-performing Championship club.

There is little doubt that Norwich’s goalless draw against Chelsea was a dreadful game for the neutrals tuning in to watch it live on television.

If failing to beat a team on a run of eight straight home defeats wasn’t quite poor enough, Saturday’s draw at Burton will seem a whole lot worse if Norwich City don’t beat Millwall this afternoon.

On the face of it a 1-0 defeat at Elland Road, a place where Norwich City have won just once in the last 23 years, isn’t the end of the world.

If ever Daniel Farke’s charges needed to put in a shift for him it was during the second period against Sheffield Wednesday.

There is an air of depressing predictability about Norwich City at the moment, both on and off the pitch.

It speaks volumes for the unforgiving nature of the Championship that confidence can flip 180 degrees in less than a fortnight.

A derby clash at Portman Road and a cup tie at Arsenal followed by two home games against tough opposition, all in the space of 10 days. This run of fixtures was always going to test both the depth and character of Norwich City’s squad.

After four consecutive Championship away wins and victory at Portman Road, it almost feels as though tonight’s Carabao Cup clash at Arsenal is something of a bonus fixture.

The last time Norwich City faced an international break, it felt like they may have been staring into the abyss.

In a season of transition, and a week where Norwich City made it past the third round of the League Cup for only the fourth time in 21 seasons, it only feels right to draw on the positives of a second successive Carrow Road stalemate.

The possibility of grinding out a 1-0 win away from home three weeks ago couldn’t have felt much more unlikely.

Whereas Wednesday night’s win against QPR felt like it could have been the start of the Daniel Farke revolution, Saturday’s performance at Villa Park was instead achingly similar to any number of away defeats suffered last season.

There’s nothing quite like the first home league game of the season.

The fact that an overzealous goal celebration has formed a large part of what is usually a depressing post-mortem from Craven Cottage is a rather apt continuation of what has been a summer of transformation at Norwich City.

As I walked out of the away end at Hillsborough last week, I was glad to see the back end of what has been such a dismal season.

Well, at least it’s over.

Amidst all of the untrammelled emotion of Wexit a rather entertaining football match eventually broke out at Carrow Road against Leeds.

As City’s disappointing season meanders towards its seemingly interminable close, games and results have become almost secondary to statistics, which are being pored in over in much the same way that an ancient Roman oracle might study the entrails of a freshly-sacrificed sheep.

At least we can now resolve the long-standing debate about how to improve the atmosphere at Carrow Road. If the EFL were to appoint Tim Robinson to referee all of City’s home games I’m convinced that we would have plenty of noise.

When Timm Klose, finding no one open ahead of him, turned and played the ball back to Angus Gunn from the halfway line to an undertone of boos halfway through last Saturday’s first half I feared the worst.

I won’t dwell on City’s defeat at QPR, partly because I wasn’t at the game, but also because by all accounts it was an awful City performance with few, if any, mitigating factors.

After the stunning success of the Canary Bond issue to fund the redevelopment of Colney that he recommended, it’s a good time to look at another aspect of Stuart Webber’s impact on the club.

With yet another international break upon us it seems like an appropriate time to assess the current state of the Canary nation, and there is no doubt that the overall mood has been lifted by Saturday’s performance.

Saturday’s game was much more than just a football match, with so much raw emotion in the Carrow Road air as fans of both teams united spectacularly to show great respect for the passing of Michelle Dack and Gemma Thomas.

While promotion this season now seems a forlorn hope, the adage about defences winning titles would suggest that Daniel Farke’s Norwich City are heading in the right direction.

When we finally get to look back on this season of change I suspect that this last week may prove to be a significant staging post on the journey towards a new-look Norwich City.

The week leading up to the game at Bristol was a difficult one for everyone connected with Norwich City Football Club, with Alex Pritchard jumping ship for the greener grass of Huddersfield and Daniel Farke’s plans for the game disrupted by a late training ground injury to Tom Trybull.

While the national media will inevitably give City no chance in tonight’s Stamford Bridge replay that won’t be the mindset in the away dressing room.

Spud’s teaser: Who did Norwich play when they appeared on Match of the Day for the first time?

As we trudged away from the Pirelli Stadium after one of the worst games of football I’ve seen for some time, and in which City’s first shot on target came in the 78th minute, I suspect that few of us were relishing the prospect of a game against Millwall.

There have been painfully few crumbs of comfort for City fans in recent weeks and, whilst the victory at an injury-ravaged Birmingham City removed a little of the gloom hanging over the club I don’t think anyone is going to get too carried away just yet.

If someone had told me after 30 minutes of last Saturday’s game that City would run out 3-1 winners I would undoubtedly have laughed in their face.

So much for my career as a clairvoyant.

To say that this has been a black week for Norwich City fans would be an understatement.

So which Norwich City will return from the international break?

Last Saturday’s game was slightly surreal in that City utterly dominated the first 20 minutes, created two excellent chances and then proceeded to gift the initiative as sloppy errors and unfocused defending allowed Bolton to claim a two-goal lead which had looked totally beyond them in that opening period.

The History Boys will have to make do with their star gazing for another few months after the Canaries left with the points from a Portman Road stadium seething with impotent rage as a generation of fans who have never seen an Ipswich derby win hurled facile abuse at anyone wearing yellow and green.

It seems that regardless of how many times we repeat the mantra “work in progress” in regard to City’s development, when it comes down to it we all perhaps expect rather more than is reasonable at this stage.

While international breaks are annoying and disrupt the rhythm of the football season, this one probably came at a very good time for City.

Reading probably expected to be facing a football team last Saturday, but instead found themselves up against a group of black clad Duracell bunnies who proceeded to harry them mercilessly for 95 minutes.

Cast your mind back to last season. City are visiting a team heavily tipped for promotion, are suffering from injuries to key players and come under concerted pressure. What happens next?

I should go on holiday more often. When I left these shores two weeks ago the effects of two thumping away defeats were weighing heavily on the pre-season positivity of most Canary fans and there were even dire predictions of a season battling relegation doing the rounds on social media.

With no City game to write about I took the opportunity to chat with Doug Thomson, a West Yorkshire-based journalist and Huddersfield fan, about the parallels between the difficult introductions to English football encountered by David Wagner and Daniel Farke.

While fans may all regularly repeat the mantra of “this is going to take time”, believing in it can be another matter when witnessing a substandard performance like that at Villa Park or the plethora of unforced errors in the first half against Charlton.

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