Good Friday brings hope of better times

So that's that, then. We'll be in the Championship again next season. To be fair, it's been looking that way for a few weeks now, but yesterday's victory at Hull has made sure of it.

So that's that, then. We'll be in the Championship again next season. To be fair, it's been looking that way for a few weeks now, but yesterday's victory at Hull has made sure of it.

And how fitting that confirmation of our status came in a week when we saw the very best and the very worst of the Canaries.

I missed yesterday's trip to Hull, but by all accounts we played very well. Peter Grant said afterwards that we were outstanding, and it certainly sounded as though we were good value for all three points.

(Having backed us to win 2-1 with Darren Huckerby scoring first at 66/1, I was even quite pleased when Hull scored. Apart from being stuck in the office, it certainly was good Friday all round as far as I was concerned).


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The performance and the result was certainly long overdue: before yesterday's match, only the bottom three teams in the league had won fewer away games than we had.

Not for the first time in recent years, it has been our grim away form that has let us down badly this year, and we are going to need to build on performances like the one yesterday if we are going to have a better season next year.

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Special mention must be made of Dickson Etuhu. Again, I stress that my initial take on the game is based purely on the dulcet tones of radio Norfolk's Chris Goreham and Neil Adams, but it sounded as though Etuhu had one of his better days, capped with a goal.

Yet it was during last week's shambles at Colchester that the Etuhu-sceptics (who, to an extent, include me) realised how important his presence - or lack of it - can be.

Having said that, it wasn't just Etuhu's absence that was noticeable at Layer Road last Saturday. The problems ran far deeper than that - we were truly awful. It was barely mediocre to start with, and things went downhill from there.

It felt at times as though we were back in the dark days of the Nigel Worthington era, and the shambolic performance was certainly up there with some of our grimmest displays of recent years.

Andy Hughes, I'm afraid to say, had an absolute nightmare, which was particularly disappointing given that he had been playing much better in recent weeks.

But not many of his colleagues were any better, and our midfield presence was virtually non-existent. Mark Fotheringham - who had made a solid if unspectacular start to his Carrow Road career - seemed to be non-existent, and even Youssef Safri's passing was poor.

We deserved nothing from the game and Grant was right after the match to say that the 0-3 scoreline flattered us.

And that's why yesterday's much-improved performance at Hull leaves me with mixed feelings.

Obviously, Easter is going to be so much more enjoyable thanks to those three points, but why have such performances and results been so rare this year?

If our team was packed full of rubbish, performances such as the one at Colchester last week would have been just as depressing but also a lot more understandable.

Yesterday, however, showed that when we put our minds to it and play to the standard that we are so capable of, we can be pretty useful.

It's all about consistency. And from this point onwards, we need far more of the Hull performances and far fewer of the Colchester ones.

t In the light of this week's problems with the scandalous policing during European matches involving Manchester United and Spurs, it might seem a little churlish to moan about the security measures at last week's match at Colchester.

But the experience around Layer Road was truly bizarre. I think there were more police around the ground before and after the match than I saw on derby day in Ipswich a few months ago.

I couldn't quite work out whether Essex is the most dangerous county in England or the most secure. It looked as though half the force's manpower was at Layer Road last Saturday, so goodness knows who was looking after the rest of the county. Having said that, if the nightspots of Basildon and Chelmsford are shown as much police attention, they must be the safest clubs in the country.

It was quite ludicrous. There wasn't a police helicopter (at least, I don't think there was), but there were coppers absolutely everywhere. There were police dogs barking at anyone who dared look at them and riot vans all over the place crammed full of rapid-response forces.

In the ground, I asked a steward at half-time why there was such a massive police presence, and he told me that the proximity to Ipswich meant the authorities thought there could be problems.

I realise that both we and Ipswich have a few idiots, but our great rivals were playing at home last Saturday, so I doubt there were many die-hard Town fans in or around Colchester - they were likely to be at Portman Road, surely?

Okay, so the railway stations were potential flashpoints and I'm sure the British Transport Police were on full alert on the trains, but quite what the Essex force was expecting at Layer Road, I've no idea. Their 'intelligence' was clearly very wrong, and if I was taxpayer in Essex, I'd be asking serious questions at the total waste of resources. It was absurd - and it was all made yet more ridiculous by the fact that the friendly steward in the ground told me that we were the best-behaved fans that had visited Layer Road all year.

n Before the match, we spent a decent couple of hours in the Drury Arms - once we'd managed to get into the car park by squeezing our car between two riot vans, that is.

The name of the pub seemed a little ominous, but I was assured that it wasn't about to be knocked down and moved to Derby.

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