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Delivering the best possible Christmas gifts to us all!

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 December 2018

Merry Christmas! Darren Huckerby with Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones after completing his permanent move to Carrow Road in 2003 Picture: Archant

Merry Christmas! Darren Huckerby with Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones after completing his permanent move to Carrow Road in 2003 Picture: Archant

Archant

I'm a postman and while Christmas is obviously our busiest time of year, it's also my favourite.

That’s not because I expect the big fellow with a white beard to bring me anything special, but because of the crazy couple of weeks where we have non-stop football.

Starting today we have our long trek to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers, then two cracking home games, against Nottingham Forest and Derby County. The New Year’s Day trip is to west London for what could be our last visit to the wonderful Griffin Park to take on Brentford – where I may have to try a beer in each of the four pubs around their ground. Then we end with a potential cracking FA Cup tie at Carrow Road against Portsmouth, who have already sold their 2,400 allocation.

Over the years, there have been some fantastic games over Christmas and the New Year. One of my great memories when I was growing up was going to the Christmas fun fair at the old Cattle Market, which was on the site of where Castle Mall now stands. I remember going there on Boxing Day in 1984, 1985 and 1986 with my brother Martin before going on to watch Norwich win all three games – against Arsenal, Charlton and Nottingham Forest respectively.

All three were quality games, all memorable for their own reasons, including a classic verbal outburst from Brian Clough to some Norwich fans in the City Stand after they had upset ‘Old Big Head’ by banging on roof of the away dug-out.

Bradley Johnson celebrates after scoring City's fourth in the 6-1 home win over Millwall on Boxing Day, 2014 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdBradley Johnson celebrates after scoring City's fourth in the 6-1 home win over Millwall on Boxing Day, 2014 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Other enjoyable memories are our first ever live TV league game in 1988 when we beat West Ham 2-1; winning at White Hart Lane and beating Tottenham 3-1 in 1993 when Chris Sutton was on a different planet and to recent years – in 2014 when we beat Millwall 6-1 when it could’ve easily been a lot more.

But there have been some awful Christmas games – I remember travelling up to Manchester United on Boxing Day, 1990, when we lost 3-0. I remember it mainly for walking to Carrow Road to get the coach – I was in my slippers and didn’t realise it until I nearly got to the ground... I then had the long walk back home to change them.

Another awful one was in 1995. Just days after Martin O’Neill left us, after eventually having enough of then chairman Robert Chase, Norwich played Southend. It was snowing and the atmosphere was poisonous. It was a very depressing afternoon, probably one of the worst due to the circumstances, and Norwich lost 1-0. Straight after the game that poison turned up outside. It was a truly awful day.

So, what do Norwich City fans want over this Christmas period? Well, maybe a repeat of the Christmas of 2003, when we went top of the league at Portman Road and remained top for the rest of the season and we had a Darren Huckerby late Christmas purchase on Boxing Day and a win over Nottingham Forest before a thumping 4-0 win over Derby.

That’s not too much to ask for – after all, I’ve been a good lad throughout the year.

Following on from what’s happened the last few months, though, it has felt like Christmas every day, it’s been that good. A lot of people were disappointed with our 2-2 draw at Bristol City – people were expecting another three points even before a ball was kicked. But anyone who has followed Norwich over the 36-odd years I have will know it’s never straightforward and easy with Norwich.

Even before hearing from Daniel Farke that there were a few players suffering with sickness, I knew Bristol City were going to give us a tough game, and that is how it turned out. One thing many of us knew was there would still be some fans moaning, and that’s what happened on social media – some fans will never to cease to amaze me.

Hopefully, they can make a New Year resolution by promising they won’t make stupid, petty and unwanted comments in 2019, what will hopefully be a fantastic and memorable time in our club history.

Merry Christmas to all Canaries around the world!

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