Ian Clarke: Carrow Road must be miserable for away teams - not City fans
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Who remembers a place called Fortress Carrow Road?
It was a ground where fans believed, players believed, the atmosphere was rocking, away teams were given a really tough game - and if the home side went behind there was a magic ingredient called bouncebackability.
That stadium sadly seems to be something of a far distant memory.
It now seems as if a red carpet is rolled out as a welcome to visiting clubs.
The end of the South Stand where the away fans gather is generally now a party zone where the joyous travelling hordes can celebrate long before the final whistle.
The club may as well put out bunting for the visitors and give them a party bag to take home up the A17 or down the A11.
Do you recall the concept of throwing the kitchen sink at the other team in the closing stages to get results in NR1?
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Saturday's utterly depressing finale against Newcastle was a new low in how things have changed at Carra.
Thousands voted with their feet and got out to beat the traffic, avoid the queue at the chippy or get their rants ready for Canary Call.
Those of us left in the ground dotted between all the empty seats sat with a mix of numbness, disbelief and sadness with what was developing in front of us.
And yes there was the small, vocal minority with their scribbled banners who protested outside the City Stand and got their few minutes of fame as they had the unpleasant slanging match with Stuart Webber.
City have now played 17 Premier League games at home this season.
The woeful record - won three, drawn three, lost 11.
Goals scored - 12, goals conceded - 34.
Teemu Pukki has netted seven of those 12, with Grant Hanley, Andrew Omobamidele, Adam Idah and Pierre Lees-Melou the only other Canaries to contribute (plus that OG from Everton's Michael Keane).
City have only scored five home goals in the second half - including a mere consolation against Brentford.
We've only kept three clean sheets at Carrow Road in the whole campaign so far.
That is a terrible indictment of the malaise when playing at Carrow Road.
Our ground should be a miserable place for other teams to come to and a place of joy for us - not the opposite.
Two seasons ago we had those real highlights at Carra - the never-to-be-forgotten 3-2 win over Man City, the Pukki-inspired win over Newcastle and the victory over Leicester being the pick of them.
Even the defeat to Chelsea had tempo and belief and goals.
Of course we all missed the end of the campaign when Project Restart kicked in.
In many ways not being there made it less grim than having to endure what we're seeing now.
How many "get off your seat" moments have we had this year?
Aside from the wins over Southampton, Everton and Burnley, I'd suggest very few.
Generally, it has been far, far too easy for other clubs to come here and take the loot.
Dean Smith made the point on Saturday about the lack of bookings.
He wasn't saying players should deliberately go out and commit bad fouls and hurt anyone.
What he clearly was implying - and I'd totally agree with - is that those in yellow and green weren't really getting stuck in and putting themselves in a position where their total commitment may attract the ref's attention.
We all know that a solid tackle will lift the fans and get the atmosphere going.
Supporters have to play their part in making NR1 less of a library but those on the pitch have to be the starting point for that.
One issue which is a sign that Carrow Road is too nice is when ex-players like Jacob Murphy are applauded during games.
I don't want former Canaries to be abused and some polite recognition when the names are read out before hand or when they leave the pitch afterwards is ok. But not in the game.
If things go against us this weekend, the visits of West Ham and Spurs will be purely about gaining some pride and showing signs of hope for next year.
At the moment City haven't beaten any side above 13th at home - that must at least be one statistic to get addressed.
Clutching at straws
It's certainly going to be a fight to the bitter end for the Premier League title - and my tip is Liverpool to lift the trophy.
Both sides are far and away better than anyone else in this league.
Man City have scored nine times without reply in two very one-sided matches.
We've fared slightly better against the Reds. The 3-0 scoreline on the opening day of the campaign slightly flattered Jurgen Klopp's men.
And at a time when we're all clutching at any straws of positivity, a stat to give us a wry smile is that Milot Rashica's strike at Anfield is the only goal Liverpool have conceded in the league at home in 2022.
Their record - played eight, won eight, 23 goals scored, one conceded.
Meanwhile, one other thought as I try to be slightly upbeat is that if we can drag ourselves about Watford into 19th place, that would be worth £2m to the club.
And in a self-funding operation, that's important cash.
The Canaries Trust does a fantastic job in representing fans and highlighting key issues.
And I want to flag up a really important free online discussion they are holding next week about mental health and addiction.
It is on Wednesday May 4, 7pm, and special guests include Beth Jex, Norwich City inclusion and wellbeing officer, Tommy TikTok, - teacher and social media star, Chris Clarke, Canaries Trust board member, and Alan Neilsen, Norwich City u23s coach.
Any questions received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
For more information follow the Twitter feeds @canariestrust and @CanariesTrustMH.