What’s it like to constantly miss the best games? For most Norwich fans, the win over Newcastle was the most joyous moment of the season so far. For Seb Ward, stuck on a ferry with no internet access, it once again taught him about the selfish realities of missing out
When Olsson’s last-gasp strike made that crisp connection with the Carrow Road net two weeks ago, the ground shook a seismic tremor. You would know. You were most likely there. In amongst it, celebrating with friends, hugging strangers. Laughing, crying, rejoicing.
I, on the other hand, was 40 feet below deck of a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry to the isle of Mull. No signal, just the deafening sound of silence. The cars were going off one by one, and the goals were going in, one by one. I just didn’t know it.
The radio was dead. Five Live was dead. Chris Sutton was also dead – or at least he may as well have been because we couldn’t hear his voice. We couldn’t hear his voice until we got off the boat. We couldn’t get off the boat until the 600 billion other cars got off the boat. And we were at the back.
But don’t you worry. I caught the other 84 minutes, the bit where Norwich were leading 2-1. I just missed the best moment of our season. But that’s okay. It’s not like I've been to every away game this season and seen some of the more hopeless stuff first hand. It’s not like I've done the 12-hour round trips to Swansea, to Bournemouth or to some other god-forsaken place. It’s not like I wanted to cry when Klopp served us the same sucker punch to the stomach a few months back. Oh what’s that? I did? Ah right – bit of a bummer then.
When we finally crawled off the boat, the radio faded back into function, and Chris Sutton was resurrected. After all, it was Easter.
“Yellows, yellows, yellows,” was the chant. “We’ve done it” I exclaimed. “‘We’ve held on.”
All I wanted was the win. Those precious, priceless three points. But I’ll never forget the words which followed.
“It's been the most remarkable last 10 minutes here. Norwich lead three-two!”
Now this would have come as music to the ears of most Norwich fans. It should have been like Ludwig van Beethoven’s finest works to me. But it wasn’t. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. To cry of joy or to weep of sadness. To laugh out of surprise or at my own wretched luck. What on earth was going on?
I should have been smiling from ear to ear, but I wasn’t. I should have been leaping about on the back seat, but I wasn’t. It was like when all your friends are off to some party and you’re the only one not invited. FOMO, as some of my generation call it – the fear of missing out. This, however, was ROMO: the reality of missing out. If I couldn’t have it, no one could. What a selfish little shithead I am.
We were then plunged into internet darkness. A 21st-century nightmare. No service. No service. No service. For once I was not talking about Norwich’s attacking problems. To make things worse, a tree had come down where we were staying. It had very kindly laid down across the broadband wire. Oh how considerate of you Mr Tree. What a compassionate welcoming gesture.
So yeah, I didn’t see that euphoric moment or even another tweet until four days later when the BT man finally returned to fix things up. But he couldn’t fix the hole in my Norwich City heart could he? Nor could Match Of The Day reruns. Not properly anyway. More like a patchwork of plasters when you bump your head at school; it would have to heal with time. There’s no denying chills still fluttered from goosebump to goosebump when I did finally catch a glimpse. What. A. Strike.
Anyway, that’s enough self-pity. I’m more than happy to make the sacrifice for Norwich. I've been doing it for a number of years now. Always at Easter, always in Scotland.
In 2011 it was that 5-1 away win at Ipswich. I was forced to follow solely by slow text commentary on a slow wifi connection. In 2012, it was that win away at Spurs where Elliott Bennett rocketed in the winning goal. Last year it was Gary Hooper's stoppage-time winner away at Bolton, a game I would have been at. In fact we were driving home practically past The Macron when my Dad and I started screaming so much my mum was in real danger of crashing the car.
Okay, yes, there have been a couple of outliers, but Fulham and Palace away don’t really count, do they?
Superstitions, Scotland excursions and lucky pants will not save us this weekend. Only we as a team can do that. Last year our cup final was at Wembley. This year it’s at Carrow Road. We know how to beat teams from the North East. The time is upon us to do it all again.
It’s an unmissable game and this time I most certainly will not be missing it (subject to inconsiderate falling trees and most likely a dodgy internet stream).
You can follow Seb Ward on Twitter at @Seb_Ward
Stop the Yellow Bird from dying! We've joined Patreon to make sure The Little Yellow Bird Project remains independent and for you – the fans! If you want to help us provide more quality writing, more podcasts and even better content, take a look here. Thanks!