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Spud Thornhill: Petty boasting about being a superior City fan makes me sad

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 February 2020

Canaries defender Christoph Zimmermann thanks the 1,700 travelling fans after the recent 0-0 draw at Newcastle Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Canaries defender Christoph Zimmermann thanks the 1,700 travelling fans after the recent 0-0 draw at Newcastle Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Tomorrow there will be over 1,000 Norwich City supporters who’ll be spending their Sunday heading to and from Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sadly, I won’t be one of them – but that doesn’t make me any less of a fan.

Over the years of travelling to watch Norwich at away games, it has never mattered what day of the week it was, what time the game was, who the opponents were or whether it was a TV game. I just wanted to watch Norwich.

I remember going to Stockport County away on a Thursday evening for a league game in November 2001. It was a game live on ITV Digital. If you're too young to remember ITV Digital, they were another TV company who tried to break the Sky Sports empire but failed.

They were showing games at more absurd times then compared to what Sky TV do these days and one of them was this Thursday night game. I was one of 536 Canaries in a crowd of 6,551 that night.

Stockport were having the worst season in their history and were managed by Carlton Palmer, who was player-manager for them - one of the worst players to ever play for England. Yep, I'm still bitter he played for England whilst Ian Crook never got a look in.

They were rooted at the bottom of the league with just one win and that was away from home. So, in true 'along come Norwich' style, we lost and Stockport got their first home win of the season with a 2-1 victory and guess who got the winning goal. Yep, Carlton Palmer.

There was no social media then so no tweets or Facebook statuses from me saying 'I'm here, where are the other Norwich fans?' but if there was, I would like to think I wouldn't say anything like that anyway. I knew a lot of Norwich fans back then, like I do now, but not once did I think I was a better fan by going to the game which was on TV and on a Thursday night.

There were 1,700 fans high up in the stands at St James' Park for City's last away game, a 0-0 draw at Newcastle Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesThere were 1,700 fans high up in the stands at St James' Park for City's last away game, a 0-0 draw at Newcastle Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

I was a 26-year-old single bloke with a flexible job and the only commitment I had was to make sure my cat was going to be fed by the neighbour.

Sadly, these days for the right reasons I hasten to add, I have to pick my away days. I have work commitments and most importantly I have family commitments. So, I won't be one of those Canaries heading to Molineux. Even with no work commitments tomorrow.

So last week after hearing we had sold out our 9,000 allocation for our FA Cup tie at Tottenham Hotspur, there were comments on social media from supporters questioning other fams' support for the team.

Comments were coming from some of the fans who will be at Molineux tomorrow, questioning if those fans who have tickets for the Spurs cup tie will be there at Wolves. It's a repeat of when we played Burnley recently. The game was a few days after we played Tottenham in the league and yet again a few fans who were on their way to Burnley were questioning the support of the fans like myself who were at Tottenham, but not at Burnley.

Questioning support of fans who don't get go to every game has been something which has always disappointed me. Especially since the good vibes that are at the club at the moment despite our position in the league.

I work most Saturday mornings, but a few weeks ago I chose a family day over Burnley away in the cup. Does this make me any less of a fan? I would like to think not. Hopefully, when my young daughter is old enough, my family day out could be every other week for an away day.

The fan who has to work Saturday afternoons who can only go to Sunday or midweek games. The fan who lives in Australia but gets up every Sunday morning at 3am to watch the game on TV. The fan who lives in Scotland who may only get to watch Norwich at Newcastle or Carlisle.

Are any of them any less of a fan? No.

So, let's stop this petty behaviour and appreciate what we each do as a fan for our beloved football club.


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