Savour every moment
Neil AdamsWhat fantastic celebrations there were at Charlton last week. It was a pretty special time for everyone concerned, especially the fans, many of whom would have felt lower than a snake's belly in that away end at The Valley almost 12 months earlier having witnessed City slip out of the top two divisions for the first time in 49 years.Neil Adams
What fantastic celebrations there were at Charlton last week. It was a pretty special time for everyone concerned, especially the fans, many of whom would have felt lower than a snake's belly in that away end at The Valley almost 12 months earlier having witnessed City slip out of the top two divisions for the first time in 49 years.
I think it's a safe bet that there would have been a good few supporters waking up with sore heads on Sunday morning . . . and probably one or two of the players as well! And if so, it would have been well worth it, because promotions and league titles don't come around too often.
I was lucky to experience two. At Everton in '87 we secured the league title here at Carrow Road, ironically enough. The five-and-a-half-hour journey back to Merseyside on the team coach seemed to go by in a flash. It was an unforgettable journey. We stopped at the nearest garage where the kit-man and physio were told to load as much beer as they could on to the coach.
And the boys didn't hold back on demolishing them!
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Everyone then took it in turns to go to the front and sing a song on the microphone (I think I did at least five) - and it wasn't long before even more beers were required.
I can only remember getting to somewhere near Birmingham on the journey - the rest is a blur.
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At Oldham in '91 we only had a relatively short journey back from Nottingham. The manager asked us where we planned on going when we got back, and when we told him the name of a bar in town he ordered the driver to take us straight there!
You can imagine the looks on the faces of the hundreds of fans that were also celebrating there when the team coach pulled up right outside and the entire first team squad got off to join them.
As for the rest of the night, players and fans then went from bar to bar as one big group.
No matter how the players and supporters celebrated last weekend, it was a day that will live long in the memory, and if the Canaries clinch the League One title tomorrow it'll be party time all over again. Let's make sure we savour every moment.
t SEASON HAS PROVIDED INCREDIBLE JOURNEY FOR FANS
Someone asked me a strange question before the game at Leyton Orient last Tuesday night.
He said: 'When Norwich win promotion (I was impressed with his use of the word 'when') will they be the first team to do so after losing their opening game of the season by a margin of six goals?
I said I'd be surprised if many teams have lost their first game of the season by six clear goals full stop, let alone go on to win promotion - and probably as Champions to boot.
But it sure has been an incredible turnaround here at Norwich this season. It's been a pleasure watching the Canaries storm their way up the division to take their place at the top of the table, and then be good enough and professional enough to remain there while all the rest of the teams below them have wobbled and faltered.
OK, some of their games haven't always been as one-sided in recent weeks as they have been on so many other occasions this season, but City have hardly had any sort of a blip in all fairness. The team hasn't lost back-to-back matches all season, and after each of their six league defeats under Paul Lambert, City have immediately bounced back in their very next match - winning five of them and drawing the other one.
That's one of the signs of true champions - how they respond to a defeat. There have been success stories in all departments of the team.
In goal Fraser Forster has been a revelation, simple as that, while in front of him the back four has protected him so well on so many occasions.
In midfield City have impressively combined industriousness with creativity, and in attack the City strikers have delivered goals by the bucketful.
And we have pleasingly seen players from the bench making an impact on matches and changing or salvaging games whenever the City boss has called upon them.
Even if you'd have sat down after that opening day defeat with a piece of paper and pen in front of you and an eternally optimistic mind, I doubt you could have scripted it any better if you'd tried.
t PLENTY OF PLAYERS IN RECKONING
Pleasingly, for once, there will be many players who will have received votes for the Player of the Year award.
It's a difficult choice for supporters to make this season, given that there have been stars in all departments of the team. After all, how do you distinguish between the heroics performed by Fraser Forster at one end of the pitch with the scoring exploits of Grant Holt and Chris Martin at the other? Or the defensive consistency and reliability of Gary Doherty and Michael Nelson at the heart of the defence with the energy and impact that Korey Smith, Darel Russell and Simon Lappin have made in midfield?
Or, of course, the sublime skills and creativity that Wes Hoolahan has delivered on such a regular basis at the tip of the diamond?
Plus the contributions of all the others who have played such a significant part in the Canaries magnificent success story?
There are so many players who each deserve to be handed the Barry Butler trophy this season, but when push comes to shove I think that for grabbing 30 goals in a single season Grant Holt simply has to get my vote.
He'll no doubt be the first to acknowledge that he couldn't have done it without the superb contributions of his team-mates, but as we all know, the bustling striker has added so much more to the frontline than just goals.
t UNDERCOVER FANS REJOICE
I stayed overnight in a London hotel with friends last Friday for a sort of pre-promotion party if you like.
And I wasn't the only one. There were several Norwich shirts to be seen around the capital that night, with City fans obviously eager to make it a special weekend. The journey to The Valley the next day though was incredible. I stayed about nine miles away from the ground, and even though I set out at 11.30am there were City fans drinking outside virtually every pub I passed on the way.
I wondered if some of them would actually make it to the stadium in time for kick-off, and also if many of them had travelled without tickets just to be a part of it all given that City had been given an allocation of just over 3000 tickets for the away end? But inside the ground some 10 minutes or so after the final whistle, all was revealed. Because in addition to the travelling army that was packed into the away end, there were also many other City fans covertly dotted around all parts of the stadium.