Things we sort of learned - Reading (h)

Like Bill Clinton once said - Wow. I did not see that coming. We beat Reading 7-1. If you had a season ticket and decided to swan about in the sunshine instead, you missed what Rich, Clare, Zoe and Jon saw. And it was rather good.

A day of firsts
Sometimes, just when you think you’ve had it with football, it jumps out at you like a flasher from behind a hedge, reminding you that it’s not going anywhere. After Huddersfield on Wednesday night, I was not feeling at my most positive about Saturday’s game. Then, it took over 4 hours to get to Norwich on Saturday morning, including a diversion through the wilds of Lincolnshire you wouldn’t wish on anyone. My appetite for the game waning, I was resigned to another 90 minutes of frustration and disappointment. At least the sun was shining. 

SEVEN GOALS! Never seen that before! Football had just clobbered me on the back of the head and shouted HOW DARE YOU BRING YOUR APATHY AND BROODING RESENTMENT TO THESE PARTS? I feel duly humbled.

And if this weren’t enough, on the drive home to Yorkshire, something happened that we’ve not seen in seventeen years of travelling to the football. We had to stop at Sutton Bridge for a massive great boat to come through! What a weird day.

County Boy
According to the fact checkers, if we’d have played all our games at Carrow Road this season, we’d be joint top. What does that prove? We’re useless away? We don’t have the mental ability to handle opposition crowds? Wes and Jonny get travel sickness? Yes of course, but it also means – Norfolk is the best county to play in.  Norfolk? Is there anything you can’t do? JR

Springtime
I felt a little tinge of melancholy as I looked out of the window on the train up to Norwich. Spring. The sun is shining. The fields coming out in support of Norwich, resplendent in yellow and green. Usually at this time of year my journey up for football is full of excitement and anticipation. April is a month for winning promotion or saving ourselves from relegation. These are the big games. It's a time of hope.

Not this year. That journey felt a bit harder. The resplendent yellow and green fields mocking me, travelling all that way for a pointless game. Season over.

Why bother? 

Well, the delight that unfolded in front of our stunned little eyes was the most perfect reminder of why. Even when all hope seems lost. That glorious match will forever remain in the memory. An ‘I was there’ moment.  

April. The sunshine, the rapeseed filled fields. It's a yellow time of year. Norwich’s time of year. Even when it doesn't matter. CT

Little tinkers
I was overjoyed to hear Wes was fit, and further delighted to see that both he and P:Chard were starting the game, in what I consider our best XI.

There were plenty of little flicks and tricks from both of them, some delightfully imaginative interplay that I doubt anyone else on the pitch could have even conceived, let alone executed. An absolute joy to watch.

Both got a couple of goals and I was hoping they’d both get a hattrick after that bonkers first half but that wasn’t to be. Still, it was vintage stuff.

Reading had a little man of their own, Liam Kelly, as you’d assume from his name he’s a compatriot of our Wes. He had a few moments in the game, but he’s nowhere near as good as Wes, nor can he ever hope to be, so he might as well pack it in as a bad job.

In contrast to the little fellas was Danzel Gravenberch who came on as a sub for Reading. I reckon he weighs as much as Wes, P:Chard and Kelly put together. He doesn't have their skill though. One moment when he practically bummed Wes off the ball aside, he just looked too much of a chunk to be a professional footballer.

How is he a footballer? How are Reading in the playoff spots? How will I cope when Wes retires? Well, if Alex Pritchard stays with us, I think I just might. RJ