David Wagner’s Huddersfield inflicting a miserable midweek mauling on Alan Irvine’s Norwich City at the John Smith’s Stadium now feels like an awfully long time ago. 

Me and my brother were there on that deeply forgettable night in West Yorkshire back in April 2017, our first – and only – ever away trip via the club’s Sanders coaches as Wagner’s high-flying Terriers handed City’s over-inflated and beleaguered squad a 3-0 Championship education. 

The night felt significant for several reasons. 

On the pitch, it highlighted the totally polarised direction of travel for both clubs that season, with Elias Kachunga, Aaron Mooy and Nakhi Wells’ goals firing Huddersfield up to third in the table. 

City, meanwhile, who had recently sacked Alex Neil before appointing Irvine on an interim basis, continued to languish well outside the play-offs as we prepared for that ruthless, cost-cutting but eventually thrillingly-effective summer rebuild. 

All that came under the auspices of Stuart Webber, whose arrival as City’s sporting director was announced just a matter of days after that damning defeat against Wagner’s clinical side.  

Away from the pitch, however, the night felt significant owing to the home club’s embracing of a certain instrument that is fast becoming a permanent – yet seemingly divisive – staple on the Carrow Road terraces.  

Of course, I'm talking about the well-documented use of a drum, an implementation that created an undeniably impressive atmosphere on that night at the John Smith’s – a largely soulless ground otherwise – and now, under the same fun-loving manager once again, is similarly emerging as a visible presence for City both at home and away.  

Masterminded by fan group ‘City Elite’ and drummer-in-chief Harley Gee, the instrument’s arrival pre-dates Wagner’s appointment and was originally brought in as a means of improving the often stagnant, post-pandemic atmosphere seen since our promotion to the Premier League two seasons ago.  

Naturally, an inadequately-assembled top-flight team that loses virtually every week is always unlikely to create a raucous home environment – and coupled with a continuation of patchy form under an increasingly-unpopular manager, there was unequivocally something that needed to be done to lift the mood at Carrow Road. 

The drum helped create joyous, jubilant atmospheres at several away games under Dean Smith – Blackpool, in particular, remains a highlight – but despite our travelling contingent’s consistently noisy exploits throughout the season, it’s only recently that the drum’s influence has started to be felt at home matches. 

Impressive, and much-needed, wins against Hull and Birmingham under the Tuesday night lights have naturally helped elevate the atmosphere – but there’s no denying that the addition of the drum in Block E of the Barclay has played a considerable role in catapulting the Carrow Road decibel levels to even greater heights. 

Norwich Evening News: David Wagner is bringing the feelgood factor back to CityDavid Wagner is bringing the feelgood factor back to City (Image: Focus Images)

That can surely only be a good thing as City look to banish their recent home soil demons and clamber into the play-off places. 

But despite the majority of fans appearing to embrace the uplift in Carrow Road mood, many remain unconvinced by the drum’s incessant, and occasionally manic, presence, drowning out noise in historically atmospheric areas of the ground and funnelling any form of volume into the buoyant Block E region. 

That, coupled with the hymn-sheet’s sometimes repetitive nature, are valid criticisms and it’s totally understandable that many, particularly among the more conservative older generation, may be reluctant to embrace such a radical transformation in the Carrow Road atmosphere. 

But these things are never going to please everyone and, therefore, an element of compromise may be necessary for us to all unite and help continue the resurgence of Wagner’s ever-improving – but still inconsistent – side. 

The drum has made a drastic difference over the course of the last two weeks and will not be going anywhere between now and the end of the season. And with more crucial home clashes against Cardiff, Sunderland and Sheffield United looming, it’s vital we all get behind the fan group’s admirable initiative and look to roar Wagner’s players towards a successful tilt at the play-offs. 

He did it at Huddersfield in 2017 – and six years on, reunited with his old musical companion on the terraces, can do the same with this City side and help transform Carrow Road into a footballing fortress once more.