Norwich City stars must keep feet firmly on the ground
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
There have been many great reasons to support Norwich City in recent years.
Obviously the success of back to back promotions and the huge achievement of maintaining Premier League status last year are two of them.
Unless things go badly wrong, there will be more cause for big smiles on Canaries fans’ faces come May.
But for me a massive part of why I have been so pleased to shout out as a member of the green and yellow army has been due to the down to earth attitude around the place.
The team hasn’t had big stars and the vast majority have worked their way through the leagues. That has helped create a sense of “all in this together” among the players.
I don’t have any great insight into what happens behind the scenes, but there haven’t been any signs of bust ups or disquiet which you see elsewhere in the Premier League.
I’m sure the national newspaper lads are doing all they can to find any snippets to share with their readers and as far as I am aware very little has emerged.
We like feet on the ground around here – and we like the feet doing the talking.
While I’m not suggesting that all the good work has been undone, there have been signs in recent weeks that perhaps some of the success of getting to the top flight and becoming established as Premier League players may have got in to a few heads.
Let me explain more.
The 5-0 defeat at Anfield a couple of weeks ago was certainly one of the low points of the season so far.
Call me a bit old fashioned, but I would suggest that after a humiliation like that, the players would keep their heads down and go home quietly.
After all, 1,800 massively loyal fans had trekked across the country in the snow and after seeing the pitiful display were facing a long, long journey home on a coach.
Back in Norfolk, thousands of other supporters who had listened in on the radio or watched on an internet feed were grumpily staring at their computers and phones for snippets of solace.
All of a sudden on Twitter there were messages being posted about the city players “hitting the town” in Manchester.
Of course footballers are entitled to enjoy themselves and yes they are young blokes who like a good time.
But surely that shows disrespect and signs of a remoteness from the fans?
A couple of days earlier there had also been tweets from players who were “bored” at Norwich Airport because their flight to Merseyside had been delayed.
Again, those messages will have been seen by hard-working people who were putting in a tough shift to be able to afford to get on a bus to see the game.
Come on City lads – you can do better than that.
I have noticed quite a bit of response from fans when they have seen tweets like these – and they are perfectly entitled to do so.
Norwich players are far from being the worse offenders and I’m sure everyone is aware of a certain England defender who tried to get sympathy as he wasn’t able to go out on New Year’s Eve.
Most of the backlash he got is unrepeatable in this column.
I have been proud of the bond there has been between the City players and the supporters and lots of great things have been done to enhance that.
And with a tough winter and spring ahead, we need to be all in it together.
I know the fans will remain loyal and remain the 12th man.
My plea to the players is remember where you have come from and the huge sacrifices so many thousands of people make week in week out to cheer you on.
• ARE CITY PAYING THE PENALTY FOR BEING TOO HONEST?
Any regular readers of this column will have realised I’m not great at predictions.
I dare not check how many of my guesses of the week have come true – but I’m certainly the QPR of forecasts rather than the Man United.
Last time – probably more in hope than expectation – I said that City would get the first penalty of the season.
Sadly that didn’t come true and game 23 came and went without a spot kick.
Chelsea have had eight penalties, Man City have had six and Man United have had five.
After my last column, I had a message from fellow Canary fan John Scent who kindly pointed out that City only had one penalty in the Premier League in the whole of 2012 (albeit it did secure a win against Wolves in March).
And the total since the team returned to the Premier League is precisely two.
We can all think of times this season and indeed last when the ref should have blown up and didn’t and so maybe the officials are part of the reason? And when you look at the clubs who are getting the most pens, there is an argument that big clubs get more shouts.
Is it more to do with the fact that our players aren’t getting in the penalty area enough? How many times have boys in yellow run at defenders this season?
Another theory is that perhaps the Canaries are too honest and don’t take a tumble easily in the box?
What do you think? Please let me know – and let’s hope the spot kicks start flowing.