Memories of my first home, away and cup game

Memories of my first home, away and cup game

I often wonder what memories others have of their first visit to Carrow Road. Strangely my recollections have very little to do with the football and more to do with what was happening either on the way to the ground or in the crowd. Perhaps it's that I felt so disconnected from the players on the pitch on account of being quite small and unable to get a good view of play. Here are some random thoughts about early games:

First ever match - 12th September 1970 Norwich City versus Charlton Athletic (League Division Two)

I was 7 years old when an older lad called Graham who lived down the road from us asked me if I would like to go to the football. Of course I had to gain clearance from Mum and Dad who thankfully both agreed. I think Dad was secretly quite pleased that I had someone else to take me as he had no interest in football whatsoever and would often say that he couldn't understand what all the fuss was about (more on Dad's distinct lack of interest later).

Graham called for me and I recall that Dad was busy laying some new linoleum flooring in our kitchen. Why that totally unrelated fact sticks in my mind is a mystery! We took the bus from Thorpe St Andrew down to the railway station and then took a short cut across wasteland to the ground. I remember feeling proud of myself when my new best mate Graham asked if I could climb the locked gate at the Clarence Road end of our short cut route. There was no way that I was going to fail this particular "big boys" challenge.

We stood in the Barclay but other than that I can recall nothing more of the day. City won the game 2:0 but without the power of the internet I would not have remembered.

How weird that my only real memories of my first match are Dad's kitchen floor DIY and my athletic scaling of a locked chain link gate!

First away game - 19th August 1972 Manchester City versus Norwich City at Maine Road (League Division One)

Well, I can definitely remember the score of this one as we were given a stern lesson in football by a Manchester team containing the likes of Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee. We lost 3:0.

Being a soft southern lad, I had already removed my green and yellow scarf a few streets away from the ground for fear of getting a pasting from the tough looking kids hanging around and offering to "look after your car mister?" Although Mum originates from Manchester I have always thought of it as a big bad scary place!

Inside the ground I got myself near to the front of the stand and had a pretty good view of the game. I can remember the home fans chanting "S*it on O'Farrell" to the tune of "Roll out the Barrel" which was a cheeky reference to Frank O'Farrell the Manchester United manager at the time. The game was very one sided, similar to most of Man City's fixtures during the current season.

To ease the boredom I started chatting to some young Man City fans and decided to declare my true allegiance to the Canaries, tentatively slipping the scarf around my neck again. Not sure I would have been so bold if the score was reversed.

After the game I remember asking my uncle (the "mister" whose car was being so well looked after), how a 9 year old lad like me could get to be team mascot on match day. He didn't hesitate in pointing out that the first thing I needed to do was not to be afraid to wear the club colours. Well, I guess that told me!

First cup tie - 22nd January 1975 Norwich City versus Manchester United (League Cup Semifinal 2nd leg)

A rare visit to Carrow Road by Dad who was coerced by "mister" uncle who wanted the ticket stubs so as to qualify for Wembley tickets should City get to the final. I was now 12 years old so not quite big enough to go to football on my own, especially on a cold Wednesday night in January with a crowd of almost 32,000.

On this occasion we were packed into the South Stand corner section adjacent to the visiting fans. True to form, Dad lost interest early on and failed to return from his half time cup of tea until well into the second half by which time Colin Suggett had scored the only goal of the game which took City to Wembley. Dad pushed his way back in several minutes later to casually enquire whether he had missed anything. Many years later when Dad made one of his infrequent visits to Carrow Road his apathy was still very much in evidence. On this occasion he left the ground and went across to Morrisons for his half time tea returning with about 10 minutes of the game remaining.

So, some fond albeit patchy memories of early Norwich games and of my dear old Dad, sadly no longer with us, who really couldn't give a damn about 22 overpaid blokes kicking a piece of leather around for 90 minutes!

What your first memories of Norwich City? Let us know on the Norwich City Forum.

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