Whilst we cope with football lockdown, I have taken the opportunity to interview a mixture of Norwich fans to find about what makes them tick.
Today’s fan is a 50’s something who would best describe himself as a bluff old traditionalist. A chap locked in the 70's and 80's who struggles with change. He would be most comfortable in aviator sunglasses, cheesecloth shirts and Levi’s. He is happiest when he reminiscing over old episodes of the Minder, Sweeney, Carry ons and Rising Damp whilst consuming his weight in pork-based savouries... Meet Richard Essex.
How do you come to be a City fan?
I was born within the City walls and in earshot of the Carrow Road match day roar which means no other team was ever going to get a look in. I bleed yellow and green!
Do you remember your first match? Who did you go with?
December 11th 1971, a 1-1 draw with Watford in the old League division two. The Canaries were top three points clear of Millwall on 32 points whilst the Hornets were rooted to the bottom with Cardiff on 13 points. I was taken there by a very good friend of my paternal grandparents Mrs Evelyn Mael. Though born in South Shields Evelyn was a city supporter without equal. The dear lady watched City home and away and well into her eighties. Sadly no longer with us.
Which part of the ground have you spent the most time and why?
Most of my attendances were in the old Barclay stand, as I was a yob at the time. Stand attire was a Donkey Jacket, jeans, cherry Doc Martin boots and the obligatory bar scarf tied to my wrist. Nowadays I can be found with the ‘cardboard cut-outs’ in the City stand doing ’smart casual’ and giving loads of chat with the old boys with a glass of Chateau Plonk.
What is your fondest memory as a City fan?
It would have to be the playoff final win against The Smoggies at Wembley. Especially as I missed the Milk Cup Final in 1985. (The reason is still not clear to me this day as I have decided to wipe the feeble excuse from my memory files). In addition to 1985, my father did not allow me to go to the other Wembley finals in 1973 and 1975.
Who would you most like to watch a City game with? Past or living?
I’d love to be at an East Anglian derby game with two lads if I can, Chris Sutton and Alistair Bruce-Ball (Ipswich fan) from Radio 5Live. Just to see Chris wind up Bruce. Sutton is superb at getting in plenty of digs at the expense of our poor, lowly neighbours..brilliant listening pleasure!
Who is your favourite City player ever and why?
Kevin Keelan is by far my favourite city player. Mainly because he made up for a lack of height with amazing agility. He also showed great aggression in days when strikers wanted to leave their mark in aerial battles.
’The Cat’ when calling in for drinks was always full of quality banter with my maternal grandmother whilst she cleaned the Woolpack pub on Golden Ball Street back in the 1970s. I was a goalkeeper at Woodside Middle School which also helped me to forge the affection for arguably one of the best keepers never to get International recognition.
What is the best game you have attended?
22nd January 1975, the League Cup Semi-Final second leg against Man Utd. The first leg at Old Trafford ended in a 2-2 draw. This game finished with a 1-0 victory for Norwich. I was amongst a crowd of 31,621. Even though we were both second division teams at the time, stopping them from reaching a final is good enough for me.
Who is your favourite manager and why?
John Bond. Because he brought showbiz to the club and put little old Norwich finally onto the back pages and the national football map. Always immaculately dressed, the man always had style. Fat cigars, quality suits and sheepskin coats.
What is your analysis of this season?
Very frustrating as the side has shown touches of brilliance in most games. However, we have failed to close out a game when a result is badly needed.
What is the best outcome to complete this season?
Declare this season over with present position as the final order. In order to prepare for the new reality. Even though that means Liverpool as Champions - which really sticks in my throat.