Of all the football rollercoasters, Clare Thomas says Norwich’s is the wildest out there. Why would supporters want it any other way than continuous ups and downs? So sit back and enjoy the Carrow Road ride. Warning: contains vomiting
Take a deep breath. A really deep one. Because we’re going back to last Saturday afternoon.
I can just imaging hordes of grimacing, frowning faces. Maybe even some gurning is occurring (careful, that face will stick if the wind changes and then they’ll pick you out on MOTD). Norwich did it again, another ‘no show’ in a must-win game. We are the kings of it, the ‘Champions of Anticipointment’ (Yes it’s a word, google it). Cue the inevitable Twitter meltdown: Sack Alex Neil. Sack the coaching staff. Sack the players. Hell’s teeth, let’s throw in Tony the kit man and Doreen the tea lady too; the standard of her hot beverages have definitely slipped. And as for David McNally…WOAH. He is Beelzebub himself. THE DEVIL.
Yet, reading through my twitter feed at all the misery and vitriol levelled in their direction, a strange calm descended upon me. Now I’m not saying that I was particularly enamoured with the defeat or Norwich City on the whole at the moment, but after 23 years of supporting them I have had something of an epiphany this season…
It’s just not worth stressing about.
Admittedly we are shit. Really REALLY shit. Can anyone remember what it feels like to win? 1 point from a possible 27 is, without question, relegation form. Yes it’s depressing, disappointing and the impending feeling of doom shrouds us like the Grim Reapers’ cloak.
But I have a new mantra guiding me away from this darkness and repeat it when despair prevails (which is pretty much every weekend, and the odd Tuesday). I will be a Norwich fan for the rest of my life. Now hopefully that’s quite a long time, unless some of you take particular objection to this article and seek me out with pitchforks.
We are in this for the long haul and there will be many ups and downs along the way. Highs and lows. Peaks and troughs, zeniths and nadirs. Get the picture? So personally I’ve decided to just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Thanks to a dodgy inner ear I am no longer able to enjoy an actual rollercoaster (well not without vomiting, apologies if you were on the Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park that day…) so I’m all aboard the Norwich City one instead. Hopefully with less vomit.
One thing is for certain: The Norwich City roller-coaster is awesome. It’s the best ride at the theme park. Imagine it. It’s exciting, hideous, thrilling, sickening (literally in my case). But never dull. In the last seven seasons we have been relegated, promoted, promoted, survived (easily), survived (just), relegated and promoted. And we now find ourselves in another battle against relegation. We always have something to fight for, and long may that last.
If you want to get off this ride and jump on the kiddies train then go right ahead. It might remind you of Norwich in the late 1990s/early 2000s. In other words, dull. Stuck in the second tier for years, going nowhere in particular.
And, if we stay in the Premier League, what is our realistic aim? Mid-table mediocrity, just establishing ourselves in the league? It would be like riding the Carousel. You go a little bit up and a little bit down but you never really get anywhere (it’s very pretty though). PAH. BORING! Where’s the excitement? Where are the nail-biting six-pointers at the wrong end of the table? The thrill of relentless victories on a push for promotion? The play-offs, the open top buses. The pain and agony of relegation when, in true Norwich style, they have given you that little glimmer of hope only to be hammered 6-0 (there’s that anticipointment again. You still haven’t googled it, have you?).
That’s the joy of being a football fan: the extremes of emotion. But to stay safely in the Premier League year after year, we face becoming numb to those feelings because in all likelihood we wouldn’t have them. We may dream of getting into Europe, but in all probability we’ll be the West Brom. Or at a push the Stoke; at least they have some fancy players now. And what’s happening with Leicester is called a fairytale. Because it never happens. Almost never, anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, if we stay up I’ll be cock a hoop. I would love Norwich to be established and successful in the Premier League. I’m sure I’d jump on that pretty carousel and declare it the most incredible ride in the park. But part of me will always want to ride the rollercoaster. Which is I won’t be crying with despair if we go down.
Yes, it’s not great timing given we are all about to become richer than Sultan Loadsamullar, but, horrifyingly, some have commented that Middlesbrough will have the last laugh if we swap places, and that our glorious day out at Wembley would be rendered pointless. POINTLESS! ARE YOU MAD?! OPEN THE DOORS OF BEDLAM! That day was one of the best of our lives. I wouldn’t swap it for all the money in the world. Or the Premier League.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but days like that, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? That’s what we are in this for. For those memories.
Ultimately we want to see our team competing, scoring goals, winning games. And to me it doesn’t matter what league that’s in. The most incredible moment of my 23 years of watching Norwich was the 94th minute Simeon Jackson winner v Derby. And Wembley. Both in the Championship. You see my point? It’s the moments that matter, the thrill of the ride.
So who’s up for joining me on this Norwich City rollercoaster? I promise I won’t vomit.
When not puking, Clare Thomas tweets at @clarebearthomas