Tykes have give me some good times over the years

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 March 2017

Andrew Crofts, left, celebrates with Andrew Surman after his opener at Oakwell in 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Andrew Crofts, left, celebrates with Andrew Surman after his opener at Oakwell in 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Focus Images 2011

Question: Jimmy Jewell was appointed Norwich manager in January 1939. What part did he play in the 1938 FA Cup Final?

Andrew Crofts was a two-goal hero at Oakwell in February, 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesAndrew Crofts was a two-goal hero at Oakwell in February, 2011. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

(Answer at bottom)

After an eventful 10 days, we welcome Barnsley to Carrow Road this afternoon.

It’s a club we have a decent record against. Our 2-1 defeat to the Tykes last December followed a string of 11 games unbeaten against them – nine of which were victories. Barnsley’s last win at Carrow Road was back in May 1937.

I have a lot of memories and stories from our games against Barnsley. I remember back to a game back in October 1995, when Barnsley were leading 1-0 at half-time. After that I saw one of best second-half performances when Norwich came back and destroyed the Tykes, winning 3-1 – although it should have been a lot more. The football was just superb.

We’ve had some great victories including a 5-1 and a 4-0 in 2006 and 2009 respectively, and great away wins which included a fantastic goal by Andrew Crofts in a 2-0 win in 2011.

My first story occurred on my first visit to Oakwell. It was a midweek game in September. 1998. It was the usual minibus away day, when, before we had got out of Norfolk, the minibus broke down.

After eventually getting back on the road, we were already late and missed the first half. Norwich were losing 1-0 at half-time, but 12 minutes into the second half Norwich’s Lee Marshall got the equaliser and celebrated the goal with the Norwich fans in the away end. The stewards didn’t like it and escorted one of the fans out... me.

So, after a horrendous trip and missing the first half, I suddenly found myself outside the ground. I made numerous attempts to get in, but to no avail.

Then the gates were opened to allow fans to leave early if they wished, so I sneaked into their main stand to watch the last five minutes – for anyone who knows Oakwell, I was in the old stand to the right of the away end.

The moment I sat down, Iwan Roberts got the ball on the edge of area, turned and shot to put us 2-1 up.

This time my celebrations were muted – I didn’t want to upset the locals.

A few minutes later Craig Bellamy headed in the third goal – and this time I jumped up before realising where I was and making a sharp exit. Norwich won 3-1.

In April, 2002, Canaries Fever was at a new level as we were chasing a place in the play-offs, so 6,000 fans descended on Yorkshire. I remember my Rotherham-supporting mate Dave Willey, who was on his way to watch his beloved Millers, calling me as we both headed to south Yorkshire, moaning about the amount of Norwich fans on the A17. “Get off my road! It’s my road on Saturday,” he bleated.

Us Norwich fans were in fine voice and we won 2-0. Then came the news that Burnley, who had been in the sixth and final play-off spot, had lost, so Norwich moved into their place. Norwich fans celebrated – but poor old Barnsley fans were dealing with the emotions of being relegated to the third tier.

The Norwich players and fans were confident as they celebrated together knowing just one more win against already-relegated Stockport County would extend the season to the play-offs.

Some players threw their shirts into the crowd. I stood near the tunnel and I saw Adam Drury walking off the pitch. I shouted to him to give the thumbs up. As he heard me, he made a bee-line for me and handed me his shirt.

I was like a kid at Christmas. My first ever match-worn shirt. Suddenly I was popular amongst my friends, who offered me a lot of money for it. No chance!

I doubt there will be as much excitement today as there were at any of the games I have mentioned – but I’ll be happy enough to accept another wasted trip for the Tykes.

Answer: He was the referee between Preston North End v Huddersfield Town which Preston won 1-0.

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