Update: Norwich City fans are still over the moon after promotion victory
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Norwich City fans are still celebrating the morning after the Canaries clinched a dramatic promotion to the Premier League after a six-year absence.
Paul Lambert’s men have achieved what very few would have considered possible at the start of the season and claimed an incredible automatic promotion place by finishing second in the Championship.
The Canaries sealed their remarkable success with a tight 1-0 victory at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park on Monday night, in front of over 3,000 City fans who had made it to the south coast, knowing that promotion was possible as long as rivals Cardiff City lost at home to Middlesbrough.
That had seemed an unlikely prospect with Boro having struggled most of the season but the Teeside club came up trumps for Norwich and embarrassed Cardiff 3-0.
Popular former City striker Leroy Lita had given the visitors the lead at Cardiff City Stadium in just the third minute of the earlier 5.15pm kick-off, and Norwich’s luck never turned back on them.
It put the ball firmly in the court of skipper Grant Holt and his team-mates, and they made no mistake in sealing the £90m of riches that the club is now guaranteed.
Simeon Jackson’s 50th-minute diving header was the critical moment, before City professionally saw out the game to seal second spot.
As well as the travelling army of Canaries fans, many watched the game in pubs across the city.
The Murderers pub on Timberhill was fraught with tension following the initial delirium of Jackson’s goal, as City began to tighten up with nerves and allowed Portsmouth to get on top.
But the Canaries showed their mettle to hang on and as the final whistle neared the chants of “we are going up” became louder and louder, building to pure joy once the moment finally arrived.
Fans jumped around and hugged the nearest City fan to them, while drivers in the streets tooted their horns in celebration.
The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Rev Graham James, was at the Theatre Royal in Norwich but also keeping one eye on the match on his iPhone. He said: “Afterwards you could tell Norwich had been promoted because various people came up and hugged me who I had never met before.
“It is a tribute to the future of the club.”
Gary Taylor, 27, from Old Catton said: “What a brilliant game. After Cardiff lost 3-0 to Boro we had our chance and we took it. We had a great chance and Paul Lambert made sure the players did what was needed.
“I thought at the beginning of the season that if we could get mid-table and stay in the league then that would be good, but Premier League here we come!”
Those thoughts were seconded by Gram Davies, 40, from Thorpe, who simply said: “Awesome, we were awesome. I predicted we would go up before a ball had been kicked against Watford at the start of the season. The Sky cameras came up and asked me and I said we would do it.
“It is all down to Paul Lambert and how he has given us a never-say-die attitude.”
Andy Mason, 31, from central Norwich, said: “I thought we would do well, I wasn’t sure, but as the season has gone on we have done better and better.
“Paul Lambert has got us all through it and that has shown tonight because Portsmouth were going in with some pretty bad tackles, but we kept our heads.”
Sam Walden, 21, from Drayton, could barely contain his joy as he said: “That was unbelievable! I thought if Cardiff lost then we would too. But the whole time the players have played for each other and there have been no big names.
“I would have been happy with top 10, but now we are Premier League!”
Father and son Danny and Brian MacFadden, from Lakenham, were soaking up the celebrations together.
Danny, 55, said: “I think on our day we are the best team in this league, we are better than QPR even though they finished first, they just had one player (Adel Taarabt) who made the difference.
“With Paul Lambert in charge I thought we had a chance of the play-offs but this has just been great.”
While Brian, 24, added: “That was brilliant. We dominated, we looked so comfortable and we never looked nervous, and that is down to Paul Lambert, he has been brilliant for us.”
Adam Hynd, 22, from central Norwich, said: “That is unbelievable to have got promoted two seasons in a row. I thought we would win 3-0 or 4-0 but it was just one in the end.
“And Simeon Jackson, two months ago couldn’t hit a barn door, but he’s had a great finish to the season.”
And Wesley Osborne, 19, from Dereham, is already dreaming of seeing the big boys at Carrow Road next season.
He said: “They have been never-say-die all season and now they will be playing Manchester United, Chelseas and Arsenal, it’s just brilliant.”
Have you got any pictures or videos of your celebrations? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
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