Surely this was a time to be united behind Norwich City
I have, on occasion, used this column to champion the right of those who visit Carrow Road to be allowed to air their feelings without fear of contempt from their peers.
The issue of the right to boo brought a mixed reaction: generally, it isn't perceived to be the done thing, but the point I was making was that fans should have the right, within reason of course, to say what they want. To take it to extremes is not to be included in the argument. It's about democracy and all that.
The argument wasn't restricted to dissension; if you think a player or your team has had a good game then you have every right to let them know, even if those around you don't agree. It works both ways.
I was reminded of the right of the football fan within moments of Ryan Giggs scoring the winner for Manchester United at Carrow Road on Sunday afternoon.
Having watched a fine game of football develop I'd got used to fans standing up in front of me. But they were United fans, who were liberally dotted around the Jarrold Stand. Those who infiltrated other parts of the ground were summarily dismissed from the stadium, so I am told, but the Jarrold clearly has different rules – it wouldn't do to start hauling fans out from amid the respectable support would it? It wasn't as if they were causing problems ... but just who is selected for ejection and who gets to stay is an interesting question, perhaps best left to another day.
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Back to my original point, then – when United scored the winner, their fans celebrated just as Norwich fans have done on the many occasions when they have driven this particular type of dagger through an opponent's heart. It was sheer, unadulterated joy from arguably the noisiest contingent of visiting fans I've seen at Carrow Road this season. And why not? A draw would have seriously hampered their bid to catch their Manchester rivals, so the win was hugely significant.
But while United's fans jumped for joy, my view of anything green, yellow or red for that matter, was obscured by the hordes of fans in the Jarrold Stand who decided it was time to beat the rush and miss those final few seconds of the game. Off they fled to their cars, ignoring not just the slim chance of a City equaliser, but also the opportunity to voice their pleasure, or otherwise, at what their team had done against the English champions over the previous hour and a half.
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City were excellent. But not everyone wanted to congratulate them. Again, it is everyone's prerogative to do what they want, but you have to be pretty cold of heart not to have wanted to stay behind just once and give the team the applause they deserved. Instead, scores of people upped and left. Not only did it inconvenience those who wanted to watch the remainder of the match, but it was a bit of snub, don't you think, to Norwich City's gallant players.
Again, it is their freedom of choice, but I simply cannot understand why the need to leave a ground early and join in a mini throng on the way home should outweigh the desire to stay a little longer, show your appreciation, and then leave with a bigger throng. I left with the majority, having applauded until my hands tingled. There were an awful lot of fans heading in all directions, and the walk up Rouen Road to Archant HQ was a shoulder-to-shoulder route march. But the journey home took only a few minutes longer than it would have done had I decided that arguably the best performance of the season wasn't worth a few minutes of my time.
While I'm at it – the drive home was accompanied by a phone-in on a certain radio station where the major topics of discussion appeared to be that Jake Humphrey had demeaned the club in a Tweet and that some supporters booed the arrival of substitute Aaron Wilbraham against United.
Let's deal with these a lot more quickly than the man on the wireless: Humphrey tweeting 'Man Utd are at Carrow Road and for a team of our size that's special. NCFC fans – savour it,' is not calling the club tinpot. Ludicrous.
And a couple of fans booing Wilbraham doesn't make a debating point. It's just people exercising their right to boo – albeit in the smallest of minorities for the most ridiculous of reasons.