Norwich’s convincing 3-0 win over West Brom in the League Cup has got Mr X dreaming of Wembley once again. Is this the year where we’ll finally bury the horror of losing to Luton and go on a cup run?
As regular readers of this column (there must be at least one of you out there...) will have probably sussed out by now, ‘Mr X’ is something of a miserable old git – a Norwich fan who yearns for a return to yesteryear and the days of terraces, 80p programmes and, above all, cup runs for our beloved Canaries.
So following City’s comprehensive midweek showing against the Baggies, Mr X is dreaming of a swift return to Wembley. Having attended the 1985 Milk Cup final and last season’s Play-off final success surely we haven’t got to wait another 30 years to see Norwich in action at the home of football once again?
Let’s not hide from the fact City’s cup record over the last 20 years is nothing short of embarrassing. Our FA Cup fourth round exit in January 2013 at home to non-league Luton (yes, non-league Luton...) should have seen clueless Chris issued with his P45 before the draw for the fifth round was made.
The Luton defeat was the final straw for many supporters; it was the moment when they called time on attending cup ties. Cheap tickets are one thing but, coupled with wholesale team changes and tripled with players with little or no apparent desire to progress to the next stage of the competition, it holds limited appeal for us fans.
Don’t forget we can see an under-21 fixture for free at Carrow Road, and there’s something very fulfilling about watching a decent standard of football under the floodlights while knowing you’ve contributed sod-all towards David McNally’s latest bonus.
We’ll leave McNally and his earnings for another time; after all I’m feeling all upbeat and positive after Wednesday night’s offering. So let’s not let spoil it. The win over West Brom certainly provided us with many reasons to return home cheerful. A place in the next round, three goals, a first clean sheet of the season (no Russell Martin, any coincidence folks?), another great showing from Matt Jarvis and, to top it off, our heads all hit the pillow on a school night safe in the knowledge that Andre Wisdom is only with us on loan.
In my eyes, the League Cup is the most important competition Norwich City will compete in this season for the simple fact that it is one we can actually win.
We’re all fully aware of the financial rewards of being in the Premier League but we all know we can’t win it. However, we could win the League Cup or FA Cup, and this consistent obsession with something you can’t win is something I find wholly frustrating.
When we won the Play-off final in May I celebrated with my friends and family at the final whistle. However, I was not celebrating promotion. I was savouring the rare moment of seeing my team winning at Wembley and a Norwich captain climbing the famous steps and being handed some silverware. It was 1985 all over again; I loved it and I want some more. I’m sure I’m not alone?
It was therefore very refreshing this week to hear a Norwich City manager making all the right noises about cup competitions and his team subsequently delivering. Yes, the draw for the next round – away at Everton – could have been an awful lot kinder, but Alex Neil’s reaction to the draw fills me with confidence that this could just be our year. And I for one really hope so...
See you at Wembley!