‘It would be nice to feel we are connected’ - Norwich fans’ warning to club’s board on final away day of the season
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City might have already been condemned to an immediate return to the Championship but that did not stop hundreds of supporters making the gruelling 510-mile round trip to Goodison Park to watch a 3-0 defeat to Everton on Sunday. ED COLMAN joined the diehards.
There are supporters and then there are supporters. But only a precious collection have earned the right to be called diehards.
They are the away fans: the unstoppable force of Norwich City followers who bleed yellow and green and who are undauntable.
These unsung heroes have seen three wins, two draws and 14 defeats in the league this season – including abject displays like 0-2 at Aston Villa and 0-3 at Bournemouth.
But still they go – packing their lunches, climbing about the coach and travelling more than 7,000 miles this season in search of the elusive City victory.
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When coach number three left Carrow Road at 7am on Sunday, many were 'regulars', with reserved seats.
Over the course of the season the regulars and the driver form a close bond and I was lucky enough to be on board when Roger, the trusty driver of coach three, was given his card and collection for the season – and to hear his emotional speech.
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The region's politicians could learn a thing or two from Roger's speech.
It was honest and spoke straight to the hearts of his passengers, thanking them for being like a family to him over the season and for being the reason he has a job which he loves.
While a man next to me chose to mutter 'only in Norfolk' under his breath, this is not something to be knocked – instead the togetherness, trust and friendship is something to celebrate.
It could also help the powers that be at Carrow Road to address one of the supporters' most pressing concerns.
Just like Norwich's inconsistent form on the pitch it is clear that supporters aren't all singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to what concerns them about their side, but the recurring theme among the supporters I spoke with was a fear that the they were being disregarded by the Norwich City board.
James Earl said he was fed up with being left in the dark.
He said: 'I don't feel the board listen to supporters and it is really frustrating.
'I understand that it is their money and they will do what they like.
'It is rare for the board to listen to us and as supporters we only get listened to when we all join together such as when we all protested together over Chris Hughton's performance as manager.
'When it comes to transfers they'll never listen and that's fair enough, but it would be nice to feel we are connected.'
Peter Wharton called for changes in the Norwich City boardroom and said he was delighted to see David McNally resign as chief executive, calling it 'one of the best things to ever happen'.
Sir Bobby Robson once said that a club is 'the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city', but for some Norwich fans there is no feeling of belonging and pride, even from those travelling thousands of miles to support their team.
This is a dangerous predicament for any club to find themselves in and one which escalates very quickly.
Take the current situation at Charlton, for example, where each match day is overshadowed by anger, tension and bile bubbling around the stadium.
The situation at the Valley must serve as a warning to the club to get connected with their supporters as everyone needs to be onside for the acid test that is the Championship and the most disappointing part of my trip, other than not stopping at the iconic A17 farm shop, was to see supporters so loyal, so dedicated and so passionate feel so insignificant.