'I don't mind if they win or lose' - Do Norwich fans care about England?

Norwich City fans celebrate the Canaries clinching the Championship title outside Carrow Road.

Norwich City fans celebrate the Canaries clinching the Championship title outside Carrow Road. - Credit: Neil Didsbury

England may be doing well this summer, but many Norwich City fans would be happy for 30 more years of hurt in exchange for their club winning a trophy. 

We asked those of a yellow and green persuasion if watching Gareth Southgate's men ignited the same passion inside them, and the response was overwhelmingly club before country. 

Robin Sainty, 64, who is chairman of the Canaries Trust, said: "I used to get really excited about England games but as I got older and became more cynical there have been so many disappointments.

"I want to see England do well but it is not life or death anymore. A lot of Norwich fans follow England avidly and that is fantastic but I am club first every time." 

Canaries Trust chairman Robin Sainty said he was happy and not particularly surprised to hear the ne

Robin Sainty - Credit: Archant

Mr Sainty, who has followed the Canaries for 53 years, said it only takes a couple of weeks during the off-season for him to start yearning for a return to Carrow Road. 


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Andrew Lawn, 35, who is the co-founder of Along Come Norwich, has written a book about football supporters called 'We Lose Every Week'. 

In it, he writes about how club fans come together to wear the same international shirts and chant the same songs to downplay and forget any differences. 

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But he fully agrees with Mr Sainty in prioritising Norwich over England.

Fans celebrating England's win against Germany at The Arena in Sprowston. Picture: Danielle Booden

Fans celebrating England's win against Germany at The Arena in Sprowston. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Lawn said: "I am more attached to Norwich as a place. If you asked me where I am from, I would say Norwich, not England.

"During England games, on the whole I love it but I do not think anyone is a football fan if you want to win every week. It is more about enjoying it and the kind of community feel which is why Norwich is important to me.

"I would say most Norwich fans are similar to me. I watched a couple of England games with my mates and we were talking about Norwich rather than England." 

Crowds at The Arena in Sprowston getting ready for the England v Germany Euros match.

Crowds at The Arena in Sprowston getting ready for the England v Germany Euros match. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Despite preferring Norwich to England, Mr Lawn paradoxically prefers watching summer tournament football to the domestic season. 

"I guess it is less stressful," he said. "If Norwich are playing a big game I get more stressed whereas with England I don't mind if they win or lose. I enjoy it for what it is. 

"It's also more even than the Premier League. As a Norwich fan, I do not enjoy games against Man City or Liverpool." 

Well-known Canary fanatic David 'Spud' Thornhill, 46, who attended his first City game in 1982, would prefer to see Norwich win the FA Cup over Harry Kane lifting the European Championship trophy.

David Thornhill with his match programmes and memorabilia. He had to step up as fourth official in N

David Thornhill - Credit: Archant

"It does not mean I won't be willing England on come Saturday night, but it is just not the same when you are not at the games," he said.

"When England lose I am gutted but I am soon over it within 30 minutes by the time someone has bought the next round of beers.

"But when Norwich lose I stress about it and it ruins my weekend."

Mr Thornhill added: "I have been bitter over the years when certain players never played for England. Ian Crook and Grant Holt are two great examples."

David Hannant, 33, a lifelong Canary, said: "Without sugar coating things too much, I would sell England up the river in a heartbeat for Norwich City.

"For me, club football is your family, while international football is the friend who comes to visit once or twice a year. You enjoy their company and wish them well, but family is what is most important." 

Norwich City fan David Hannant wearing one of the Along Come Norwich face masks. Picture: David Hann

Norwich City fan David Hannant wearing one of the Along Come Norwich face masks. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: David Hannant

Norwich fan Jason Connell was one of the few to pick England first. 

He said: "Going against the grain here but it’s country before club for me. Being a Norwich fan is part of my identity but it’s a part that I chose for myself. 

"Given a different set of circumstances I (and we) could have been fans of Cambridge, or Fleetwood or a Swindon. I'm English since birth." 

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