It was a very different relegation for Norwich City this time

The Norwich players look dejected on their lap of honour after the Barclays Premier League 2-0 loss

The Norwich players look dejected on their lap of honour after the Barclays Premier League 2-0 loss to Arsenal at Carrow Road, Norwich.Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I think my maths is right when I say that this is the seventh relegation I have had to endure as a City fan.

Ever since the fixtures – including that nightmare run-in – were released last summer, I had said we would not suffer the drop on my birthday.

In reality I was right and the Canaries' fate was confirmed after Sunderland won against West Brom. Due to that ridiculously remote mathematical improbability that we could have beaten Arsenal 18-0 the dreaded 'R' didn't appear against our name on the table until after Sunday's tame surrender to the Gunners.

I have very differing emotions from previous relegations in my life and this one is like no others.

I don't remember too much about what happened when City slipped out of the top flight in 1974, so my first real taste of suffering the fall from the top table was in 1981.


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A hat-trick from Jim Melrose secured a victory for Leicester. As a mad-keen 11-year-old I was naturally really upset.

Turn the clock on four years and we went through it all again.

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The year of 1985 was obviously one of massively mixed emotions for City supporters.

March was a month of sheer joy as nearly 40,000 of us travelled to Wembley to see our heroes lift the Milk Cup.

The threat of relegation had been a shadow as everyone basked in cup glory, but when we finished our games we were (we thought) still enough points ahead of Coventry,

Ridiculously the Sky Blues still had three games to play when City completed their fixtures with a draw against Newcastle.

However, no one thought they could possibly win them all. How wrong we were – and a 4-1 thrashing of champions Everton ensured we completed that dreaded double of a cup win and relegation.

Anger was the over-riding feeling that year. How could the league authorities possibly allowed that fixture back log to have happened? A decade passed before the next drop in 1995 and then the trend of going down when there was a five at the end of the year continued. More agony.

Devastation was the only word to sum up that day in May 2005 at Fulham.

Anger returned as the biggest humiliation was completed in 2009 with the fall to the third tier of English football for the first time in my life. And so we come to 2014.

Flat and passionless are the only words which can describe the end of Sunday's game. The ground was well under half full for the lap of appreciation and the clapping from the players and those left mirrored the miserable weather.

The sad inevitability of it made it all even worse. It was certainly a relegation day like no other.

I can't wait to get out and play again on the pitch of dreams

I'm sure we have all questioned how much playing at Carrow Road has meant to certain City stars this season.

For the vast majority of fans the chance to step out on to the fantastic pitch is something we can only dream of.

Next week I will be among a group of footballing wannabes taking part in a game to raise cash for the Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich.

My good mate Steve Plunkett is organiser and it will mean so much to us all to be involved.

Some of us may lack skill and pace but I can guarantee we will all give it everything we have.

I have been fortunate to have played there twice before and I can't wait to do it again.

It's not quite a sell out yet so there's still a chance to get along to cheer us on and boost funds for the great cause. We're kicking off at 8.15pm on Thursday, May 22 and I can guarantee more entertainment than the tame end of season damp squib last Sunday.

For more details tweet @IanClarke41 or email ian.clarke@archant.co.uk.

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