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Chris Goreham: Passion for the Canaries is not easily measured

The traveling Norwich fans during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, Stratford
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
31/08/2019

The traveling Norwich fans during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, Stratford Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 31/08/2019

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

Having spent two of the last three Sundays gripped by commentary of The Ashes on Test Match Special it's been reassuring to be reminded of the power of live sport on the radio.

A BBC commentator extolling the virtues of radio sport coverage is like a turkey writing a persuasive article about the health benefits of a vegetarian Christmas dinner, I realise that, but being on this side of the microphone has certainly made a difference to the way I feel about football supporters.

One of the most incendiary things you can do with a set of fans is to tell them how loyal you think they are.

I imagine a look at Ben Kensell's email inbox over the summer would have backed that theory up.

When Norwich City's chief operating officer unveiled the new membership scheme that has caused so much debate in the mad scramble for Premier League tickets it attracted a lot of criticism.

This was largely because even paying a £50 fee wouldn't absolutely guarantee supporters the tickets they really wanted but there was also a feeling that the removal of the old points-based system meant that some felt their support was being taken for granted.

There was a time when I was guilty of thinking that anyone who didn't go to every game couldn't dream of describing themselves as a 'loyal' supporter. Now I realise how wrong that way of thinking is.

If every big Norwich City fan always went to the games there would be no-one left outside listening to the commentary. The existence of the very job that I do is purely down to the fact that not everyone who wants to follow every kick of the ball at Carrow Road and beyond is actually able to go to the games.

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Some supporters like to underline their loyalty by pointing out how long they have been going to matches.

MORE: Maddison's debt to Norwich City

The fact I wasn't at any of the matches during the great 1959 Cup run shouldn't count against me because I was less than 23 years old at the time.

It's wonderful that so many City fans are willing and able to follow them up and down the country and getting to know the regular faces that are there come pre-season friendly or play-off final over the years has been a joy.

This is matched though by talking to fans who get in touch to tell us about the great lengths they go to listen to our Norwich City coverage.

The tone of the messages can leave no doubt about how passionate they are about the Canary cause.

It's an expensive business to follow a football team so it's no wonder that going to games regularly is quite simply beyond some people.

When you also consider the demands of family life, how work can take some too far away from Norfolk to make going to Carrow Road a realistic proposition and all of the other pressures of modern life it's perfectly plausible to be a stay-away supporter but still feel the joy of victory and the despair of defeat just as keenly as the many thousands who are able to go to games.

I know this because I disturbed the peace and quiet of a Sunday afternoon in north Norwich the other week by running into the garden to cheer Ben Stokes' Headingley heroics and I probably owe an apology to the other drivers around the city on Sunday who had to watch me thumping the steering wheel at the traffic lights with frustration as Australia eventually retained The Ashes.

No matter how long you've been a Norwich City fan or how often you're able to go, I'm sure we can all agree that Tim Krul, Ben Godfrey, Grant Hanley and co. will need to have an immaculate forward defensive for the visit of Manchester City at the weekend.

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