I first started taking note of Norwich City as an eight year old living in Lowestoft, strangely lots of people living in the most easterly town in England seem to prefer to support Norwich than the county town of Suffolk. With my parents and brother not particularly interested in football it was my school mates which really introduced me to the joys of Norwich City.
We moved to Sprowston in 1959 and I remember watching the 1959 Cup Final in black and white at my Grandmothers neighbours’ house at Thorpe End. I remember everyone talking about what might have been.
I didn’t attend my first game until the 9th March 1963, I was 12 and biked down to the game with a school mate, we left our bikes at his uncle’s house near the Clarence Harbour Pub and stood in the Barclay for my first game, I think the entrance fee was around 2 shillings but not sure. What a game, Stanley Matthews was playing for Stoke that day, and Jim Oliver was our centre forward who was largely in the reserves, he scored a hat trick and we won 6 nil and very little was seen of Sir Stanley.
They were heady days as my next game a few days later was a 5 nil win over Newcastle in the FA Cup followed by 4-1 over Chelsea, 3-2 against Leeds and 5-3 against Portsmouth. We also lost 7-1 away at Sunderland and Leicester 2 nil at home in the FA Cup 6th round with Terry Allcock hitting the ball over my head in the Barclay from a penalty and Gordon Banks laughing at him. I was hooked and have been ever since. I remember moments in those games but other games more recently I don’t recall at all, a sign of old age I am afraid.
There have been several magic moments, three league cup finals, two play off finals, European games, away wins at Manchester Utd, particularly the 2-1 cup win in the 60’s when Law, Charlton and Best were playing. Graham Paddons hat trick at Arsenal, and Leyton Orient and Watford in 1972, when we gained promotion for the first time to the top division. I was at all those games.
I have never been a great moaner about football, disappointed yes, you wonder why players and managers do the things they do, and you find it extraordinary why one game Norwich look like world beaters and other days they wouldn’t score if they were there all week.
I find it quite hard to understand why supporters go absolutely bonkers when things don’t go Norwich’s way, yelling about the wages players and managers earn, how useless players are, it is Ok to get excited it’s Ok to be disappointed, but it is only a game after all. Perhaps it’s just me.
I am also disappointed when fans have a go at Delia and Michael, I do believe their hearts are very much in the club, just as Geoffrey Watling and Arthur South before them, I genuinely believe they have and have had the City of Norwich and the football club at heart. I was never quite so sure about Robert Chase, he seemed to be someone who enjoyed the limelight rather too much, but even he in his way wanted to see Norwich be successful, but at the time of great success Norwich had in the early 90’s I think they were too slow to say, hang on we need to be careful here or things might blow up in our faces. Easy to say in hindsight.
I would hate it if someone from foreign parts came in and use Norwich as their plaything, let us keep Norwich a Community club, with people in charge recognising that by and large the whole of Norfolk and part of North Suffolk will always support the club but they must never take the fans for granted. There will always be winners and losers, let us just enjoy our afternoons and evenings out, make friends with fellow supporters and enjoy ourselves.