Slippers and wet feet – sure sign of an early departure

Reading - Saturday November 13th, 2010: Grant Holt gets sent off during the Npower Championship matc

Reading - Saturday November 13th, 2010: Grant Holt gets sent off during the Npower Championship match at The Madejski Stadium, Reading. (Pic by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images) - Credit: Focus Images

Every June when the fixture list comes out, I normally look to see who we've got on the first game of the season then who we have in the last game.

The odd occasion when we are in the same division as Ipswich, I look to see when we play them and then who we've got over Christmas.

I love Christmas games, preferably when we've got a home game on Boxing Day. Normally in the Thornhill household, once all the Christmas crackers have been pulled, the conversation moves to the Boxing Day fixtures.

I remember as a kid, both myself and my brother Martin would go to the Christmas fair at the old cattle market where Castle Mall now sits. Then we'd be off to enjoy Carrow Road, as we did when Norwich beat Arsenal on Boxing Day 1984.

We also beat Charlton on Boxing Day 1985. Two great games – the Charlton one was a top-of-the-table clash in the old Second Division and came in the middle of our record 10 consecutive wins record. We came back from behind to win 3-1. Happy memories.

In 1990, our Boxing Day fixture was, for the second consecutive year, a trip to Manchester to play Manchester United. Nothing like a long trip on the day after Christmas Day.

I was 15 at the time so there was no chance of me suffering with any over indulgence from the previous day.

Most Read

I was travelling by coach from Carrow Road. After staying at my dad's on Christmas night, I set off early to walk to the ground. As I approached Tombland, I suddenly wondered why my foot was wet. I looked down and I still had my Christmas slippers on. Not only did I stand there feeling rather stupid, I stood there and had a dilemma.

Do I carry on walking to the ground and hope no one would notice on the coach, let alone the expected big crowd at Old Trafford, or do I quickly go home and change them, making sure I didn't miss the coach?

It was not a hard decision. So I turned round and walked back to my dad's. It was about 6.30am and I remembered I didn't have a key.

So I knocked on the door knowing I would have to get my dad out of his bed – unlike me, he did over-indulge.

I knocked on the door and I heard the dog barking. I feared the worst as I knew my dad wasn't going to be happy at being woken.

I braced myself for what he was going to say. But as he opened the door, I casually said, 'sorry, dad, I forgot my shoes'. Instead of him shouting at me, he just said 'okay', as he turned around to go back upstairs to bed.

I was shocked by the reaction, I just thought, 'right get your shoes and quickly get to Carrow Road before he turns around and tells you off'.

I ran and ran to Carrow Road just in time to get the coach and headed for Manchester.

Norwich were on a roll against Manchester United. We had beaten them in our last five meetings – two of those on the last two visits to Old Trafford. Sadly, this time it wasn't to be. We lost 3-0.

I went back to my dad's that evening, expecting him to moan at me for getting him up so early in the morning.

But luckily he didn't even remember it.