Norwich City are moving with the times and I’m proud to be a Canaries supporter

Norwich City supporters will travel in big numbers again next season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focu

Norwich City supporters will travel in big numbers again next season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Times have changed. Society has changed. Throughout it all, Norwich has changed.

As much as Norfolk is outwardly perceived as a lost in the ages backwater, Norwich is a vibrant and tolerant city, ready to welcome allcomers with open arms.

That extends to the football club itself. The Proud Canaries supporters group has done much to promote LGBT issues within the Norwich City community and further afield. Their chairperson Di Cunningham has talked eloquently at a Commons Select Committee about the matter and attended FIFA headquarters on the same topic. In short, our fans are front and centre in promoting equality and inclusion in our sport, for that we should be immensely proud.

These levels of tolerance haven't always been afforded to away fans or teams visiting Carrow Road. I've seen players racially abused, misogyny in full flow and during the past visits of Brighton there has been a large proportion of homophobic chanting.

Friday was different. The Seagulls were here for a party, their maximum allocation had been taken and they were in fine voice. Everything was set for Chris Hughton to exact the sweetest of revenge on his old club, clinching the Championship title in front of the very crowd that had called for his sacking and theatrically launched clap banners towards him in a pantomime end to his Norwich tenure.

David Stockdale hadn't read the script, the woodwork and his unfortunate positioning contrived to gift City a two-goal lead and the champagne was put on ice. At that point, the Brighton songs became slightly darker, definitely sexist and poked fun at the widely held and incorrect stereotype Norfolk is some kind of epicentre for inbreeding.

It would have been entirely predictable for sections of the Norwich faithful to respond in kind, with some of those overly obvious and offensive homophobic taunts previously trotted out in seasons past. Alcohol fuelled mob mentality could have taken over. It didn't, and the fact any small murmurings were drowned out by alternative songs which celebrate the team demonstrated how far we've come.

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All that work the club and the Proud Canaries have done may have gone unseen by many, but it has made a massive difference. Stay classy Norwich City. Stay tolerant and stay inclusive, never mind the danger.