In many respects I am no different to many other supporters of Norwich City or any other football club although I can lay claim to a five-generation family C.V. which stretches back 110 years: Granddad (first game 1908); Dad (1934); Self (1958); Children (1982); Grandchild (2014).
I wouldn’t argue that this lineage accords me a privileged opinion but it does, perhaps, begin to explain my response to the non-question of the moment: Will I renew my season ticket?
It falls into the same category as asking whether I will stop eating a banana around 7.30am every morning or whether I will choose to become a teetotaller.
My breakfast routine is ingrained and I enjoy a pint or two a couple of times a week. It’s what I do. Likewise, what I do on alternate Saturday afternoons and occasional Tuesday evenings after the end of the cricket season (TV re-scheduling permitting) is that I go to Carrow Road to watch, and generally speaking, enjoy football.
This could be dismissed as mere habit which, if I had sufficient will-power, I could break and save myself the cost of an over-65s season ticket. But this explanation would be superficial. Exploring the psychology underlying the ritual of standing on cold terraces for 28 years and sitting on less-than-comfortable cold plastic for the following 32 years is an exercise that has been frequently conducted by those more qualified than myself.
But the central concepts are almost self-evident: family ties: loyalty; sense of community; an appreciation of continuity. I’m not a ‘consumer‘, making a reasoned choice, and I’m not a ‘customer’. I enthusiastically applauded the club’s decision to replace my ‘customer number’ with a ‘supporter number’.
I am a ‘supporter’ with tendencies that might lead some to categorise me as a ‘happy-clappy’. I have never booed either the team or an individual player, never demanded the head of any manager and have always struggled to grasp the purpose of a chant to ‘sack the Board’.
I’m a ‘supporter’ not a ‘fan’.
I’ve not worn team colours since my yellow-and-green bobble hat was forcibly removed from my head by a Chelsea follower at the 1968 cup-tie. I have never contemplated buying a replica shirt and the only reason I drink my tea out of an NCFC mug is that I received it as a Christmas present. I like the team to be successful but do not regard watching football at top level as an entitlement. Such times are a bonus; I would be there if Norwich City fell out of the Football League.
(The next paragraph is written on the basis that my wife is highly unlikely to read it). I’ve never chanted ‘City till I die’ but there is an unwritten contract: it’s ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.’
Will I renew my season ticket? Is the Pope a Catholic?
By J.H. Norvic