Di Cunningham: Why the BBC studios aren’t the most welcoming for Norwich City fans
The call came on Wednesday - was I going to the Burnley game? Would I be able to stop off at Salford en route and would I be able to talk about the vibe in Norwich since the victory over Manchester City...on Football Focus?!
Like many fellow fans I grew up with BBC One's soccer preview show and have spent Saturday lunchtimes over the years with the likes of Bob Wilson, Gary Lineker, Manish Bhasin and their guests.
I'd never imagined for a moment that I'd get to sit on the sofa alongside current anchor Dan Walker and resident pundits Dion Dublin and Mark Lawrenson.
Though it was great to hangout with all of the Football Focus crew (Dan and Mark are both lovely guys and Dion Dublin is now even more of a personal hero) the BBC Sport studios are not welcoming places for Canaries.
The new look makeovers rely on Green-Screen technology (the sets are essentially constructed with computer graphics projected onto a set covered entirely in bright green) which means there's no place for a Norwich City first team shirt.
The floor manager and editor did give it a try - but the green generated holes in my shoulders so it was on with the charcoal training top.
I'd like to think that my rep as a Fan Zone columnist for the Pink Un had inspired the invitation (!) - but of course the credit is all Norwich City's; and down to the players who grafted and crafted that spectacular win. And even though the Citizens delivered an accomplished performance away at Donetsk in midweek and Daniel Farke had asked that we all look ahead rather than back, the triumph was still news at noon last Saturday.
Some fellow Canaries have found the persistent media interest patronising and overblown.
The Canaries are a Premier League team and they won a game; best leave it there is the thinking. For me, the performance was remarkable and is newsworthy for just that.
MORE: Why City's display at Burnley wasn't the only thing to put me off my dinner
The quality of the play: the individual skills, the tireless mutual support with players showing in numbers for each ball, plus the backroom staff's evident homework and strategic planning. But equally impressive is that winning team, valued at 98 percent less than their league-title holding opponents, have only just been promoted from the Championship.
This time last year the barometer of our team's success was the gap in league places between us and Ipswich. Since the victory over Citeh I've heard no mention of the Tractor Boys - not even after Saturday's loss. For now we can compare our club with the best not the worst.
Another index of the magnitude of the Man City result was that the joy around Norwich not only continued into the week but was shared by folks who usually have no interest in football - everyone seemed to be aware that their City's club had beaten one of the best teams in the world.
So was the loss away at Burnley inevitable? It was for Mark Lawrenson whose weekly prediction had the Canaries to lose 2-0, citing the lack of Premier League away win to date as justification.
I'd expected a battering from the Clarets but reasoned that the players had demonstrated the capacity to deal with physical teams last season and still play their brand of football. But Burnley's ninth place in the final Premier League table for last season was no accident - and once again on Saturday they were superbly organised and disciplined. And for all the Turf Moor side are not bank rolled from the Middle East it's worth noting that two of their key players on Saturday cost over £16m each.
For Lawro to be spot on with his scorecast is particularly galling (given I'd challenged him on it during recording!) but I can live with the result. As Daniel Farke said post-match there was a lesson to be learned and there's a perfect opportunity for the players to showcase their weekend education in the North West next Saturday at Selhurst Park. And a perfect opportunity too for Lawro to come unstuck with an over reliance on home v away performance stats. I'm going 2-1 Norwich, Mark.
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