Di Cunningham: A Norwich City sideshow that saved our social media

Nottingham Forest's Lewis Grabban scores their side's first goal of the game during the Emirates FA

Former Norwich City striker Lewis Grabban gets the winner in Nottingham Forest's 1-0 win over Arsenal. - Credit: PA

If, along litmus test lines, social media posts were given indicative shades for content chemistry, then the majority I viewed over this weekend - ahead of and during - our FA Cup tie at the Valley would have appeared red for acidity.  

As someone tweeted on Saturday, the few positive rallying cries made were damned as ‘Happy Clappy’ and were considerably outnumbered by comments on the scarlet spectrum; from sardonic through to full-on toxic.

  

While I recognise that many City supporters are not active on social media and so opinion expressed there may not reflect that of the majority of the fanbase, the tone of feeling right now on online platforms seems to be one of unified dissatisfaction - with team performances in terms of energy, creativity and general effort - as well as those all important results. And though I’m no ostrich there came a point this weekend where continuous reading of posts reframing equivalent levels of unhappiness at these basic squad weaknesses became redundant. I was learning nothing new and simply becoming more pessimistic about our chances on Sunday. 

Hurrah then for Bali Mumba, NCFC loanee at London Road as of this week and my personal redeemer of Twitter this weekend. The goal he scored following a superb mazy run lit up yellow and green threads on the platform with vicarious delight and made it two for Peterborough against Bristol Rovers’ one, ultimately taking them into the fourth round – a winnable home game v QPR. We’re all Posh now! 

Bali’s goal was the warm up act for the en masse joy of the Carra Twitterati that exploded after a tortuous six minutes of added time at St James’ Park. Team Wessie, otherwise known as Cambridge United, sealed a 1-0 victory over the Toon (Jacob Murphy was given honourable mentions by home supporters and the Amber Army may well be grateful for Eddie Howe’s questionable decision to sub him off early in the 2nd half). Of course, the Wes connection as well as those with many other Norwich players including Dion Dublin, Luke Chadwick and John Ryan along with regional geography makes the U’s a second team for many Yellows but such was the salvation in the celebration of their win on Saturday that the bond seems stronger than ever - and drawn at home in the next round against derby rivals Luton? We’re all Cambridge now. 

Elsewhere, Canaries flown (or temporarily away from) from the nest who soared in Cup round three included Carlton Morris scoring a brace late on to save face for Barnsley v Barrow, loanee Danel Sinani who along with Jordan Rhodes and unused sub Harry Toffolo  helped Huddersfield through to the next round by seeing off Premier League Burnley, Jonny Howson and Onel Hernandez whose Boro team just made it against Mansfield, Mario Vrancic who came on in the second half as Stoke saw off Leyton Orient with a comfortable 2-0, plus James Maddison scored the second of Leicester’s four against Watford and Nathan Redmond put away the first of three for Saints v Southampton.  

John Ruddy’s clean sheet for Wolves on Sunday is perhaps less of a cause for mutual appreciation given City are drawn against his team away next in the cup and plaudits for Cameron Jerome’s assist and tap in against Harrogate may be equally short-lived with the Hatters now through to face Cambridge. 

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And to the final cup game of the weekend (you may have noticed I’ve sidestepped the Addicks game so far) and who should be mentioned in admiring despatches but that traditional target of boos and derision Lewis Grabban.  I’ve always been a little mystified by the antipathy we Norwich fans have for Grabban - how can a player who scored in the derby be so unloved? Of course, sloping off from the team hotel in Rotherham was unacceptable but even without that he could never really be deemed ‘likeable’. But his run and converted cross for Forest against Arsenal on Sunday were timed to perfection. And Pukki’s determined assist for the inventive Rashica at the Valley aside, it’s hard not to agree with NCFC fans suggesting on socials that our team could do with a physical striker of Grabban’s ilk right now. 

Note - this was written and submitted for editing three hours ahead of Monday’s Manchester United v Villa game. It goes without saying I’m expecting great things of Emi! 

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