Ian Clarke: We don't want to give up but Canaries must give us reasons to believe
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I can't remember a time when I've restarted and rewritten a column about Norwich City so many times.
Normally I have a pretty clear thought on my theme about my beloved Canaries and the words flow from the keyboard.
This week has been different - and I sense from speaking to a lot of fans over recent days that there's a collective confusion about how we feel about our club.
Of course there's no doubt that we want Daniel Farke and the boys to succeed. That's taken as read.
We were over the moon to get promoted in such style - even though Covid robbed us of seeing most of the action in the flesh - and we are desperate to prove we can cut it at football's top table.
However, the way things are unravelling, culminating in that pitiful capitulation at Stamford Bridge, has left us with a wide range of emotions and almost a sense of numbness.
I didn't watch that horror show in West London as I was up in Liverpool seeing our youngest daughter for her birthday.
She generously offered to allow me to find a pub to see the game, but I declined and assured her that spending time exploring the city was more important.
- 1 Meet the new team behind revamped village pub
- 2 Woman in 40s airlifted to hospital after suffering medical emergency
- 3 People are driving for hours to visit this loaded fries and doughnut kiosk
- 4 Music-loving dad whose ashes were fired into festival crowd took own life
- 5 Obituary: Doctor, and son of Norwich's recycling empire founder, dies aged 69
- 6 'Once in a lifetime catch' - man lands monster fish in Norfolk
- 7 One person taken to hospital after three-car crash on A47
- 8 One of East Anglia's largest property builders is sold to investment firm
- 9 Holiday Inn to become 'care hotel' to help struggling hospitals
- 10 Father accused of baby girl's murder 'had short fuse and made things up'
I genuinely meant it - but sadly there was a feeling even before 12.30 that I was actually avoiding witnessing a drubbing.
I did keep tabs on my phone and once that early goal went in, I realised it was going to be a miserable early afternoon for the 1,500 supporters in the away end and all those tuned in.
Once the lead was doubled and then the third went in, I looked less and less at Twitter. I was really down about the lack of interest and resignation I felt.
As has been said so many times this week, there was no shame at all in losing to the European champions and league leaders.
Chelsea are a top, top outfit. They're loaded with some of the world's best players and will roll over plenty of teams they come up against this term and beyond.
But I echo the sentiments of fellow fans and plenty of pundits to yell out that such feeble surrender was completely and utterly unacceptable.
No one can kid themselves that there's now only a small minority of supporters who feel it's time to replace Farke as head coach.
Plenty of followers who share my normal yellow and green tinted glasses outlook on the Canaries believe there needs to be a change.
I've swung like a pendulum on the issue all week.
I love Farke. I love all that he's done for the club. I love the style of football he brought to NR1.
He's masterminded two incredible promotion campaigns and given us moments to savour for years to come.
What we just can't ignore, however, is that the loveable German has overseen a period of no wins in 19 top-flight games. Yes. the equivalent of half a season.
Since the pandemic first started, City have scored just three top-flight goals.
Mo Salah bagged as many in a 12-minute spell against Man United on Sunday as City have in 1,710 minutes since February 2020.
Oh and let's remember one of ours was from the penalty spot.
We know there are those pundits from certain radio stations who absolutely revel in our failures and the volume of their bile has been turned up countless decibels.
However, the criticism of Farke and his players has spread much wider and is from very well respected pundits, including high-profile figures who are also supporters.
We can put up with flak but it is so tough when we become a laughing stock of English football.
Yes, we've all heard the jokes... why did the City team coach driver get caught speeding? It's the only way we'd get three points.
I just can't face repeating any others.
The confusion I - and many others - feel is what to do about it.
The loyalty and stability at our club are fantastic attributes - but the decline has to be halted.
The financial report out this week shows the massively impressive ability of the club to make a profit without a stinking rich owner pumping unending amounts of cash in.
Do we really want to go down the road of selling out to an overseas buyer and all the risks that come with that?
Stuart Webber has made it abundantly clear in the past couple of days that Farke's job is not on the line and has appealed to us fans not to give up.
Easy words, Mr Webber, especially when there was evidence of the players we adore doing exactly that at Stamford Bridge.
Sunday's visit of Leeds is absolutely massive, as are those following games against Brentford, Southampton, Wolves and Newcastle.
Things could get really toxic if results and performances go badly wrong in those.
Supporting a Premier League should be a joy.
It's over to Daniel and his players to give us our Norwich back and remind us why we love our club.
Wear what you like, Daniel
Daniel Farke has faced plenty of criticism recently.
As I've already mentioned, some of that has to be justified when you look at the stark reality of our position.
However, I was somewhat surprised at reading a letter sent to us at the paper which looked beyond results, performances and tactics.
The writer took our head coach to task over his dress code.
Daniel, so said the author, should ditch his all black attire and smarten himself up and wear a shirt and tie.
I couldn't give a jot what the gaffer wears on the touchline and in the post-match interviews (although when I'm choosing pictures to use in our papers and on our websites a bit more yellow and green would be nice!)
Over the next days, the COP26 conference in Scotland is likely to dominate the national and international news.
While Norwich City's involvement in measures to help the environment and reduce the carbon footprint may not be the top priority of fans, it is another sign of the caring nature of our club that the Canaries are being featured in a video ahead of the global gathering.
The club's annual report sets out City’s current energy output, progress made in the last year and objectives for the next stage of becoming more sustainable.
This includes solar panels being included at the Lotus Training Centre, encouraging employees to buy renewable technology vehicles, purchasing energy-efficient equipment and simple steps such as issuing all staff with a reusable coffee cup.
The revamp of the training ground at Colney has included the addition of an allotment and herb garden, compost facilities to reduce landfill waste, over 645 new and semi-mature trees being planted and a waste-to-water recycling system and electric car charging points being installed.
The video ahead of COP26 has been produced alongside sustainability partner Kotkamills, a Finnish manufacturer of fully recyclable food and drink items.
In tough times, the ethos is so important.