Things we sort of learned - Brighton (h)

We put the poop in party poopers. Or we were heroes in letting Brighton win the title in their own backyard. Either way, Clare Thomas and Richard Jeffery watched a 2-0 win against the Champions (elect).

Pritchard
The Brighton fans were utterly obsessed with Pritchard. To the point that it got a little silly. You’re going up lads* just enjoy it for what it is, it doesn’t happen often. You’re about to win the league and you’re having a 90 minute toddler tantrum about someone who chose to take a better paid job elsewhere.

One of the songs they regaled him with referred to the fact that he would have gone up if he’d joined them. That’s moot, but then we’re dealing with a crowd of ‘high-spirited’ football fans so one shouldn’t expect nuance.

Would he have gone up if he’d joined them and played every week? Probably, but he may have changed their dynamic, to the point where they were less effective as a team. Though he has the opposite effect on us.

So, would we have gone up if he’d played every week all season? Possibly, but our other failings would still have been there, though masked as they were last night and every time he’s been on his game. He certainly changes our dynamic for the better.

With increasing perspective on what happened this season, it more and more seems a waste and a poor decision that Alex Neil didn’t go much, much sooner. Hindsight being the foresight of the gobshite and all that.

W’evs, we look forward because that’s what we do. Pritchard was class versus Brighton, said he enjoyed the #banter from The Seagulls and was the difference between the sides.

*Aside* Have we ever had a player who is better at shooting from outside the box? (Bars/Posts and Stockdale’s back notwithstanding)

Build the team around him next season, that’s if Brighton don’t try and buy him again.

*References to lads include lasses and vice versa. RJ.

Kick it off
A strange thing occurred on Friday. We kicked off towards the River End. This almost never happens, and being a Barclay dweller I have often pondered on this fact. If we win the toss why not chose to play towards the most vociferous fans in the second half?

I have since been reliably informed that Norwich choose it because getting that crucial first goal in the first half is of utmost importance (I’d counter that not all first goals are in the first half and that the second half is often more important that the first). And if the opposition win the toss, well I guess they just can’t be arsed to change ends.

On Friday however…WHAT HAPPENED?! Presumably Brighton at least won the coin flipping contest, and being ITK Chris Hughton had instructed his captain to put a Seagull amongst the Canaries, and change ends.

Who knows? It didn’t work anyway. But it was a nice change wanting to see the play down the Barclay end in the second half rather than wishing it away down the River. CT.

300 not out
In one of those nice football coincidences, Brighton born Russell ‘Rusty’ ‘Russ’ Martin celebrated his 300th game for Norwich on Friday night. This was a coincidence of a coincidence as his 200th game for us was also against his hometown club, and if you remember he scored an absolute thunderbastard that night

Only Wes of our current playing staff has played in more games, though without checking as I’m just phoning this drivel in, I would imagine Wes has played fewer minutes, being used as a substitute on more occasions.

What does the NCFC future hold for Russ? I don’t know what will be in the new head coach’s thoughts, or what Stooey Webbooo is thinking right now, but let me say this.

Not many will play that many games for us again, he’s been here through thick and thin. As skipper and before that, he’s always fronted up after a poor result. So whatever you think of him when the time comes for him to leave us, and it may be this summer, it will be the end of an era.

Respect. RJ.

LOLS
Thanks to David Stockdale, there was some #epic #bantz amongst the fans. And thank God because hearing them singing about being promoted was about as much fun as finishing 8th in the Championship.

Now, Norwich fans have faced criticism, but you have to hand it to us; we are a pretty witty bunch. 'Stockdale's on fire-your defence is terrified' was my particular favourite. 'Boring, boring Hughton' was also a giggle. He is a very nice man, though.

Thankfully the Brighton fans were in a good mood so it was #lolz all round. Even on my walk back to the car it continued. Having taken a wrong turn on the way to County Hall a couple were signing ‘We've lost our caaarrr, our red caaar. I just don't think you understaaaand’.

Such fun.

Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Unlike the birds from which they take their nickname, Brighton are likeable. As fans, a team and a club as a whole. They’ve been through some tough times over the last 20 years or so. Last night there was gr8 #banter from their fans for the most part, though they let themselves down with the whole slapper/does she take it up the arse thing. But that said, none of them shat on me, nicked my chips and woke me at 04:00 this morning screeching outside my window.

So, on the whole, it’s hard to begrudge them their promotion to the Premier League and as seems likely, their league title.

I watched their fans before the game, in fine voice, chucking their beach balls about and generally on cloud nine and I had a pang of envy. For that’s been us, many times recently and its not us this season.

In 2010, 2011, and 2015 we’ve been the fans with the shared sense of purpose and destiny with our team and each other. We’ve been the ones cock-a-hoop (make sure safe search is on before you Google the etymology of that phrase), singing our repertoire of celebratory songs and chucking inflatables about the place.

But that pang of envy soon passed. After all, let’s face it. Our first season and a half in the Premier League recently were fun, (the first season under Paul Lambert, and pre-Christmas under Chris Hughton) but after that it became a soul destroying, and unsuccessful, scrap for points with entertainment at a premium. It was no better in the season under Alex Neil.

So I wish Brighton well in their time in the Premier League. They seem well set up for it and may be able to scrap and stay up, though they can expect to see a great deal less attacking football, fewer goals for, bias from referees towards the bigger teams, fewer wins and having to spend all that money they will earn on wages/transfers ending up no better off once the inevitable relegation comes. Sometimes the journey is everything.

I’d swap with them in a heartbeat.

Home advantage
The ref was once again completely inept. Or was he? I will admit that having now watched things back on tv he wasn't *quite* as poor as I thought (funny how different things look when you only have real time and one angle. Fans really should be more understanding).

It was only after the match I discovered he was the 4th official, stepping in. And, more incredulously, he was from Brighton. How on earth was that allowed?

It did in some way explain his performance. I guess he didn't want to look like he favoured them. Or that he was overcompensating and favouring us. Instead he didn't seem to want to make any decisions at all.

Maybe we should have put a quick call in to Darren Cann, to even things up.