Norwich City supporters need to up their game.

If Delia Smith is right about 20 per cent of the fans being ‘whingers’ then the vast majority really aren’t making the most of the freedom that football can afford.

One of the joys of going to the match is that it’s a place of escapism. It’s ok to shout, rant, jump around and generally behave in a way that you wouldn’t anywhere else.

The gusto with which David Wagner celebrated Adam Idah’s winner at Bristol City on Sunday underlined that football grounds are not places for rational, thoughtful, considered conduct. It provides a safe space to let off steam without judgement. I’m sure that having a release for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon helps thousands of people deal with other frustrations in their life.

The emotional investment is what makes the sport and supporting a club so special. Caring about your team doesn’t mean you have to applaud everything they do no matter what. You’re allowed to be concerned, frustrated and enraged. It’s like being part of a big extended family. It doesn’t give you the right to say whatever you like or abuse anyone, but a lot of the apparent whinging is actually meant as constructive Canary criticism.

Some of my standout memories from 35 years of going to Carrow Road stem from listening to some spectacular whingers.

As a youngster in the old South Stand in the early 1990s, I sat amongst a lot of old timers who could remember the 1959 cup run. From them I learnt that everything was much better in the old days. They steadfastly refused to be impressed by the Norwich City team that I grew up watching. They were nowhere near as good as all the players that I had been silly enough to be born too late to see. It didn’t matter that this team was about to beat Bayern Munich and finish third in the Premier League. They taught me that having a good whinge at the football can be cathartic.

Eastern Daily Press: City supporters celebrate their win at Ashton Gate

It's my turn now. Frighteningly we have reached an age where the gap between Robert Fleck, Jeremy Goss and Dale Gordon and the current team is about the same as the time that elapsed between the 59ers and my formative years.

If I start saying things like “have you seen how much they want for a cup of tea at Carrow Road?” I will truly have graduated to the flat cap wearing, flask bringing, unmovable forces of nature that modern players will never impress. It started the moment I greeted a good Angus Gunn save by turning to the person next to me and saying “of course, I remember his father.”

There was one particular chap who sat behind us when Gunny senior was in his pomp. If Carrow Road was the place he went to let go of all of his frustrations the rest of his week must have been awful. He would complain from the moment the teams ran out until the final whistle. My personal favourite was the day he lost it with Robert Fleck, one of my great Canary heroes. “Look at Fleck!” Our noisy neighbour bellowed in a thick Essex accent. “Look at him! He stands there with his hands on his hips, clapping.”

Despite all of the above there was an unspoken understanding that we all desperately wanted Norwich City to win. We might complain about them, feel frustrated and let down by them but that didn’t stop us loving them.

Every so often something amazing would happen. A spectacular goal, a last-minute winner or beating one of the big teams. Then these old boys would be up on their feet shouting and hollering with delight, the twinkle back in their eyes. It was a delight to see.

Whether those running football clubs like it or not, supporters will always whinge.

A quick straw poll on the radio the other morning revealed more classics. The Carrow Road burger seller who greeted the triumph of promotion to The Premier League by complaining that she would have four less home games next season.

The supporter heard venting his frustrations at Teemu Pukki because “all he does is score goals.” The bloke heard complaining at half-time that Mark Rivers had done nothing in the first half only to be told that he was actually on the bench that day.

If you are looking for sensible and reasoned a football ground during a game is not the place for you. Long may that be the case. We wouldn’t be able to do a Canary Call phone-in otherwise.


City needed that…

Adam Idah’s Ashton Gate heroics couldn’t have been better timed.

Norwich City needed something like that. The Watford defeat, the AGM, the general malaise that had set in meant it was beginning to feel like a long winter might be in store.

A win at Bristol City doesn’t solve all of the problems, far from it.

Ultimately the fact that nicking a last-minute winner against a fellow mid-table Championship team caused such an emotional outpouring tells quite a story as to where Norwich City are right now.

However, it was difficult not to get lost in the joy of seeing David Wagner disappear beneath a pile of his players. If you can’t enjoy the snatches of joy like that when they do come along then what’s the point in doing all the hard yards? In isolation it was a brilliant moment.

Some would say that it showed how much the team remains behind the under-pressure Wagner. However, the way they knocked him about in those goal celebrations suggested they might be trying to send him to the treatment room alongside Grant Hanley and Josh Sargent.