At home or away, it seems everyone is talking about Norwich City right now
PUBLISHED: 18:12 06 February 2019
What better place to peruse Monday morning's newspapers than Yorkshire, says David Clayton, following Norwich City's comprehensive demolition of Leeds United last Saturday
Whether you follow football or not, you can’t deny the feelgood factor around the Canaries right now. I used to go to all the home matches and some of the away matches, mostly for work reasons, but these days I subscribe to the adage that “the best pictures are on the radio” and hang on to Chris Goreham’s every excited word.
Given TV’s very occasional interest in Norwich City, there really is only BBC Radio Norfolk’s commentary for regular coverage.
However, just for a change, I caught Saturday’s match on the telly and was blown away by the quality of the football and of course the stunning result against Leeds – propelling, as it did, the Canaries to the top of the Championship.
We’ve got a serious sniff at the Premier League again. I was watching it with Tom, my grandson, and I’m proud to say that at my age, I managed an equivalent leap off the sofa with him when the third goal went in.
Like many of you I’d usually savour Monday’s EDP to pour over the excellent analysis from Chris Lakey and his buddies, but I couldn’t. However, I went one better because on Sunday morning, I had to try and escape Norfolk by train to get to Sheffield for a few days’ work. Not easy. The Norwich-to-London train had the interruption of a bus replacement and the otherwise very handy Norwich-to-Liverpool service which stops at Sheffield had – you guessed it - a bus replacement service too. So, I went via Cambridge to London and then hopped on to a St Pancras-to-Sheffield train. In the bizarre world of East Anglian travel, particularly on a Sunday, I went south to go north.
Waking up on Monday morning, the hotel I was staying in had left a complimentary Yorkshire Post outside my door. I did what I’d do with a Monday edition of the EDP and went straight to the sports pages to revel in Norwich’s victory. It’s a bit of a ritual because the radio commentary gives me the immediacy of the match, the EDP, some measured analysis.
This time it was a joy to read it from the other perspective. “Leeds chief Bielsa shoulders the blame,” it said, with a glum looking picture of the man, captioned “Bielsa has problems both ends of the pitch.” Norwich’s performance was summed up by the local journalist thus: “Rampant Canaries hold all the aces.” This was the no-nonsense end of Yorkshire being complimentary about us. I was in a satisfyingly smug mood at the breakfast table.
Off I went to work with some colleagues at BBC Radio Sheffield – and knowing where I’d travelled from, they were soon bantering with me about Norwich’s success. Its nice to be defined by those sorts of things people usually envy us for The Broads or the wide-open skies, but right now we’re being talked about for other reasons.
It’s hard to escape the admiration for our football team and their lofty league position.
I do get the fact some people are simply bored with football and care nothing about it. Being responsible, as I was, for Radio Norfolk’s understandably indulgent coverage of those splendid promotion seasons, I could always guarantee a few complaints from exasperated non-football fans asking why on earth were we going on and on about football. My answer was then and would be now – that it’s much more than just the game, it’s about local passion and if we can’t do that on your local radio station and through the pages of this newspaper, what are we there for.
Football fortunes are fickle. Just look on down the A140. We’ve been there and got the football T-shirt, so it makes the successful moments ever more special.
Now what’s next for Norwich City? Oh yes – a passionate local derby.