Life living behind enemy lines in the 70's & 80's

Life living behind enemy lines in the 70's & 80's

For eleven years (1974-85), I lived and worked in Bury St Edmunds and, in many respects, it was a vintage period: a lovely town in which to raise a young family; an opportunity to build a career in an environment that offered both stability and challenge; and it was only an hour’s drive for home matches.

They were the years of Peters and Fashanu, Channon, O’Neill and ‘that goal’ by Steve Bruce in the semi-final of the 1985 Milk Cup. Yes: there were three relegations, although when we moved back to Norfolk in December 1985, we were enjoying an unparalleled ten consecutive victories that propelled us back to the ‘old’ Division One at the first time of asking (as in 1974 and 1981). Cue: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.

But throughout the eleven years there was an insistent nagging that could never be fully eradicated for these were also the years of Hunter and Beattie, Muhren, Thyssen and Sir Robert Robson. Not viewing events south of the border from a comfortable distance of 45 miles - but living alongside them on a day-to-day basis - required the ability to smile through gritted teeth at the inevitable chirping while, at the same time, admiring the quality of football particularly after the two Dutchmen came together in 1979.(An aside: how did they manage to sign Muhren and Thyssen when, four decades later, we had to settle for RvW and Leroy Fer?)

We both won at Wembley thanks to our respective heroes - Roger ‘he’s one of their own’ Osborne and Chisholm (og) - and we had our moment in time at their expense in 1985 which enabled me to leave the area on a high.

Among the Canary nation, it has become fashionable to mock the southern folk for their need to dwell on their illustrious past (and, make no mistake, it was illustrious) which led to the very amusing 16th minute round of applause on Sunday. I even joined in when it was explained to me what was going on!

Also on the City of Yellows Blog:

But what is a football club – or at least what is supporting a football club – if it is not an amalgam of the past, the present and the future? Inevitably, perhaps, we over-focus on the present (the last result, position in the table, managerial team selection) with an occasional eye to the future although, at the moment, even the most present-obsessed ‘Yellows’ are showing an unusual willingness to recognise that Farke life is at a future-orientated stage.

But let’s not discount the past. Both clubs have periods in their history, particularly in cup competitions and, briefly, in Europe of which they can be proud. (I know they won the Cup-Winners Cup in 1981 but we won in the Olympic stadium). They had Viljoen’s hat-trick in 1968, but we had Curran’s seven months later. As time passes, they will have Chambers....... but we will always have Klose and next season that round of applause can start in the 17th minute!

By J.H. Norvic

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