Canaries fans enjoy their moment of glory
Kim BriscoeNorwich City fans finally enjoyed their moment of glory as their team lifted the League One champions' trophy on Saturday.Fingers had been crossed for a sunny last day of the season, but instead fans had to put up with a steady drizzle which threatened to dampen the celebrations.Kim Briscoe
Norwich City fans finally enjoyed their moment of glory as their team lifted the League One trophy on Saturday.
Fingers had been crossed for a sunny last day of the season, but instead fans had to put up with a steady drizzle which threatened to dampen the celebrations.
Thankfully, not even the weather could bring down the spirits of the Canaries' loyal following in the Lower Barclay who came armed with an array of inflatables, from beach balls and giant footballs, to blow-up saxophones, cakes, mobile phones, monkeys, lilos and even a naked lady.
But the buoyant mood was somewhat deflated, when seven minutes later the home team had conceded two goals.
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Some Norwich fans donned fancy dress for the day, with many opting to pay homage to manager Paul Lambert's trademark touchline style, from upturned green collar down to trackie bottoms tucked into team socks.
The Carlisle fans also came prepared to party on the last day of the season, but it was their opponents' major shareholder Delia Smith at whom they chose to poke fun.
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Several rows of the The Cumbrians' travelling supporters donned white chef's hats and clothes and they sported a banner which read "there's only one Fanny Craddock" on one side and had "we're not champions but we can cook risotto" on the other.
So the match was a bit of a damp squib, but the crowd rallied when on loan 'keeper Fraser Forster was taken off just a few minutes from time to a standing ovation and chants imploring him to stay for another year.
An army of stewards and police crept out and were dotted around the edges of the pitch, with the highest concentration of fluorescent jackets around the Snakepit in anticipation of the final whistle, to ward off any pitch invasion.
At full time the crowd roared in triumph and a crew set up the stage in preparation for the all-important presentation.
Canaries fan Louise Wilson, who lives near Wymondham, was thrilled to get the chance to present the trophy as she is the area sales manager for Coca-Cola, the sponsor of the league.
The 42-year-old, who regularly watches the Canaries with her husband Colin, said she was thrilled, but nervous about going on to the pitch in front of so many fans.
She said: "I feel extremely honoured. It's something that only one person can do when it happens."
The players came out two by two to the crowd's applause but the biggest cheer was saved for newly-crowned Player of the Season Grant Holt who, recovering from his ankle operation, hobbled to the centre circle.
The striker and Canaries captain lifted the trophy and the team were covered in a cloud of yellow and green confetti and champagne spray.
Norwich is proud of being a family club and it was fitting that the players were joined by their partners and children, many just toddlers, on the celebratory lap of honour.
By now many of the inflatables had strayed on to the pitch and the team were in a playful mood, particularly midfielder Simon Lappin who took the opportunity to score the goal that has eluded him all season despite notching up 50 performances.
Left back Adam Drury took the opportunity to play goalkeeper so his son could take a shot, leading to chants of "sign him up" when the young lad hit the back of the net. Even the usually serious Paul Lambert took a pot shot at an inflatable, much to the delight of the adoring fans.
The manager also took the opportunity to grab the microphone and praise the fans.
He said: "It has been a terrific season. Anything you win is a great achievement and you should always enjoy the moment.
"I'm absolutely delighted for the players because they had a rough ride at the beginning of the season. They are the ones that have turned it around, allied to our incredible support. We have absolutely unbelievable support and you don't realise how big the club is until you come here."
The only boos were reserved for the news that Leeds United would be joining Norwich in a higher league next season, and the general consensus was that with Lambert at the helm City's future is looking bright.