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Glory hunting is not for me

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Jake Humphrey | 09:00 UK time, Friday, 1 May 2009

It's been a strange mix of emotions for me over the past few weeks concerning the two sports I love the most.

While I'm still thanking my lucky stars that I've been plunged into the centre of one of the most exciting starts to an F1 season that I can remember, my excitement has been tempered somewhat by my other passion - Norwich City.

And while there's a bit of a break from the racing before we all head to Barcelona for round five, my attention turns to The Valley this Sunday.

You see, I love football and I love that this is a nation so passionate about it. However, I wish it was trendier to support your hometown club.

Born and bred in Peterborough or Torquay, say? Then I genuinely wouldn't understand you gunning for another team.

I know the modern world means people move all over the place and often have heartfelt allegiances based on tenuous connections, and that's fine, but for me, football represents having pride for your original patch.

Who said football was easy? In my mind, that magnetic pull that prevents me chasing glory is so magical.

I didn't choose to support Norwich City, as far as I was concerned there was no choice. I moved there aged nine and that was that.

My hometown, my hometown club, my fellow supporters; all in it together win, lose or draw...and rarely has it been the first one.

I guess it's a reflection of the pride I feel for the city I call home too...as I've travelled the world with Formula 1 over the past month I've loved saying 'I'm a Norwich fan'...it seems most of the east thinks we all support one of the big four!

So, why is this relevant?

Well, mine is a story about the fact that sticking with your hometown club come rain or shine can more often be punctuated with pain than peppered with pride, but that's what makes the relationship so intense and the sweet moments all the sweeter.

However, this weekend forget sweet, think sweat as I'll be one nervous fan!

1995: Defeat at Leeds United, relegated from the Premier League (Christmas 1992 we'd been top). Cue the tears.

2002: Pain at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as Birmingham City beat us on play-off penalties to gain promotion.

Fulham score in their 6-0 win

2005: Final game of the Premier League season. Another defeat. This time even harder. 6-0 to Fulham at Craven Cottage to send us down. Tears once more.

So do forgive my apprehension about this weekend.

Another crunch game, once more away from home, and defeat might just send us into what I still call Division Three.

However, despite what I've written so far, my message to fellow Canaries fans, West Brom supporters, Hereford followers or Luton's loyal band...it's not as bad as you think.

I recall being convinced that relegation from the top flight was the end of the fun for me. But how wrong I was.

I've enjoyed watching my team just as much since 1995, in fact the Premiership struggle of four years ago wasn't half as entertaining as the previous few seasons.

And it's because the club isn't the players who come and go, the managers who inevitably quit or get the boot, or even the standard of the opposition...it's us, the fans.

At times, inside Carrow Road, the wave of unity has swept us to incredible achievements such as the 1959 and 1989 FA Cup semi-finals, top of the Premiership in '92, and our great European run of 1993.

To me, the great team of 50 years ago only exists through stories I've been told, and my own recollection of the rest of our glorious moments are beginning to fade after what has been a very difficult season for Norwich City.

The fans and previous boss Glenn Roeder didn't really see eye-to-eye.

Our top scorer is Leroy Lita, the Reading reserve striker who scored seven while on loan and left months ago.

And here's a laugh, our second top scorer is a certain O.G. You couldn't make it up!

Then there are the loan players.

It seems managers think using five - or in our case sometimes six - loan players in a team of 11 is a great way to 'play the system'.

I am dead against it as it opens the club and the loanees to easy criticism and as for fans, well for me it eats away at the unity between club and players that is so crucial to success.

A club needs a core, a heart, and it won't be found in Celtic's or Wigan's reserves.

It won't be unearthed by asking club legends to return and lay their neck on the line and manage a team at its lowest ebb, and it most definitely won't be created by negativity pouring down from the stands.

Norwich fans

When we won the Championship in 2004 there was just one star, a certain Mr Huckerby.

The rest of the team were good honest pros who played for us as much as we sung for them.

Whatever your team, whatever their respective struggles, they need us now more than ever.

If the financial market has caused palpitations at AIG or in the corridors of Roman Abramovich's yachts, think about the impact at Meadow Lane, Sincil Bank or Carrow Road.

I will be so, so nervous at The Valley on Sunday as we keep one eye on Barnsley's game.

But even after the beers have been drunk and the tears have dried I know that if relegation was the end game that I still have my local team, they still have me and another 25,000 besides.

In the end that's all that really matters.

Good luck if you too have a crunch game this weekend and if your side has already succumbed to the inevitable. Don't give up on them now, it could be you that helps put them back where they belong, and we all belong to our local team.

On the Ball City!!

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    http://twt.fm/86170 Come on City

  • Comment number 2.

    Great post Jake

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a Forest fan, I feel your pain conerning relegation fights. I was there to pay my respects when we went down last time, and there last year when we came back up on a magical day in May.

    Reflecting on your comment about loan players, we have also 'played the system' this year, and at times have had to leave players out because so many were on loan. However, Dexter Blackstock's goals, Ian Turner's penalty save away at Barnsley, and the general contribution of Joel Lynch and Chris Gunter - 3 of the above having only played the last couple of months - has played a big part in keeping us safe.

    Therefore I think it's up to the individual players to come in and show their character in that situation, and is by no means always a bad thing. Certainly nobody has questioned whether our loanees were up for the fight to save what isn't strictly 'their club' from relegation.

    I've got family in Norwich, so here's hoping you beat the drop!

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm afraid I'm one of the countless United fans not to be from Manchester, and while I don't hold that you're not a "proper" football fan unless you support your home town team, football would be a sad shadow of itself if there weren't so many people who do support their local club.

    I do try to get to what games I can for my home team (Coventry City) and have been to plenty over the years, but United are my team and have been for about 18 years now and there's no turning away from the fact that they're my team.

    I agree with loanees, though. Clubs who use them as a means to an end for a few months rather than genuinely bringing in players who they think they might want to sign don't often get a lot out of it. Having 4 or 5 regulars over a couple of seasons and the rest being a changing cast of various loan deals doesn't do anybody any good.

    Good luck to your team, Jake.

  • Comment number 6.

    have fun in league 1 while we go up into the prem. BLUE ARMY!

  • Comment number 7.

    Suprisingly article Jakey,

    Preaching to the converted somewhat here I think - I'm about the same age as you and a lifelong Swansea City season ticket holder... you think YOU'VE had it tough?!

    There's a part of me that simply can't really take another football fan's aleigence (sp) totally seriously if they turn out to be a top 4 supporter. For me they've missed one of the fundamental reasons football appeals to me so much. I can enjoy Match Of The Day as much as anyone else - possibly more so - but the idea of supporting any club other than the one I was brought up with seems to defeat the purpose.

    My favourite bit is if I try and air an opinion on the Premiership to say, a Liverpool supporter and get dismissed with the old "What would a Swansea fan know about top flight football?" Always though that was a bit rich since it's ME that actually goes to real life games every week while those guys sit and watch "their" boys on Sky Sports!

  • Comment number 8.

    Great blog Jake.

    100% agree with your sentiments regarding loan players.

    We had a huge inlux of them towards the end of last season, which destroyed the team unity and our play off hopes. This season we have had another 12 down at The Valley and now we're heading to league one.

    Having two useless managers doesn't help either.

    Good luck on Sunday, if Plymouth do their bit i'm sure you'll be fine, Charlton have been really generous to visiting teams this season!

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    A very heart felt and honest blog Jake. I'm currently studying up north and hence have many Newcastle United supporting friends. Many of them say that if (and seemingly when) they go down, they woyuldn't be able to stomach relegation, and as hard as it is to believe, say that they won't be watching anymore, because many of them, for so long themselves, have berated lower league sides and ignored ppub conversations with them.

    It's refreshing to see a blog like this, fantastic work.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am a Manchester united fan, But i so come from Norwich and I watch them every week, though it will hurt me if Norwich do get relagated, I think they will be able to rebuild there squad and hopefully bounce back stronger like Leceiester City have. Even if we do go down, the advantage Norwich have to many teams in the league one we have fantasic support every week from the best supporters in the country, To get behind the lads. Come on City!!!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    I slightly disagree on the hometown club thing because I think there is a case to be made about supporting the same club as your family. I am one of many countless people who follows the same side as his dad. My dad has been a supporter long through the hard years of Arsenal which have been largely forgotten because of our recent success. I was about 6-7 when I was getting my dad to record games for me because I wasn't allowed to stay up to watch those midweek games. I remember a 1-0 defeat to Bolton one year in about '95. The hometown club isn't the only honest route to choose a club but choosing the club of the moment is certainly a route I disagree with. I was outnumbered 20-1 at the pub on wednesday by Man U supporters.

    I live in Norwich myself and since I moved here just over a decade ago they have been my second club. The support for Norwich is immense espically at away games. I remember being part of a group of fans who made the stressful journey to Liverpool for an FA cup game v Everton but the fans were amazing. The team deserves to go down but the club doesn't. The fans have been let down badly by a board that has lost its values. No more loan signings, give the kids a chance! Harry Redknapp meantioned that there were a couple of good young goalies in the wings at Norwich so there must be a few outfield playersd who deserve a shot.

    For next sunday we need to put all faith into staying up. Come on Norwich!!

  • Comment number 13.

    Jake you problems could be solved by taking your allegences on a 44 mile journey down the A140..

    Anyway, I'm quite looking forward to having Peterborough as the derby game next season..

    Enjoy playing Colchester

    KEANO KEANO KEANO

  • Comment number 14.

    ITS ONLY A POOR LITTLE BUDGIE..........BLUE ARMY!!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Great blog Jake,

    Like you I support my local team but have experienced completly different emotions to you this year following our second promotion in as many years.

    Good luck to Norwich on sunday, and hopefully we'll see you at London Road next year!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Nice article Jake, I'm a Gashead (Bristol Rovers fan for those not in the know) and I know how relegation to a league you are not familar with is like. In 2001 we got relegated to what is now called League 2 for the first time in our history. It took us 6 years to get back out of that League in to League one where we have been for the last 2 years. At times playing in L2 was horrible but on the other hand I have some good memories especially beating Lincoln 5-3 at Sincil Bank in the play-offs to book a trip to Wembley. It's not all bad as others will tell you.

    If Norwich are joining us in L1 next year then at times it will be a bit of a shock to them as some of the grounds you visit will not be what your used too such as ours with our small open terrace or temporary seating stand used to house away fans. Sorry to be mean but Personally I would love it if you came down as i would relish a trip to Carrow Road where i have never been before. Keep up the great job in the F1 you and the team are doing, it's great stuff.

  • Comment number 17.

    Great blog Jake. I must admit, I completely agree with pretty much all of this blog. I am a proud Nottingham Forest supporter, and for one reason or another the last 5 from 6 seasons have been mostly pain! It is a sad fall from grace, and I see in Norwich right now what I saw in Forest when we went down. We fought, we battled and after the 2nd season of battling we were relegated, not to be seen for 3 seasons in the abyss of League One. However, sometimes you need to go down to bounce back.
    As clubs we have enjoyed alot of historic highs, in fact I get sick about hearing how we used to be. The reality is now, not yesterday. And this is how Norwich need to be. If you go down, swallow it, but come back next season fighting. There is only one way to go.
    I mean, look at Leicester. Their fans are champions of the league and going up after one season. A season that saw them run away with the league. This really gives everyone a boost and optimism for next season, something to look forward to a change.

    This said, I would not like to see Norwich go down, and if they do I will be deeply sorry for the club and its fans.
    Again Jake, I am from Nottingham, therefor I chose my team from Nottingham. Real football fans stay with the club, thick and thin. I mean, was it just me that saw 200% more Chelsea shirts around as soon as Abramovich came along and bought success? That makes me sick. We all seek glory for our teams, but dont just follow a team because it suddenly has glory.

    Good luck Norwich anyhow.

  • Comment number 18.

    Great blog Jake! I'm a Southend fan and am getting increasingly annoyed by my big four supporting friends who seem to think there is no life outside the Premiership. Football to me is more than just watching highlights of your team every weekend on the TV and I have much more respect for those fans who actually 'follow' their club.

    I'm going to have to disagree with you on the loan system. We have pretty much relied on loanees this season and despite our dip in form when the first loanees returned to their parent clubs in January the system has been pretty beneficial to us. In fact if it hadn't of been for the loan signings of Watford's Theo Robinson and Tottenham's Dorian Dervite we wouldn't be the form team in the league and would probably have been looking down rather than reaching towards the playoffs.

    I do feel for you, but league one (Division 3 as you call it) isn't the end of the world. There are some fantastic clubs and fantastic fans and you will be warmly welcomed down at Roots Hall and no doubt the other grounds around the country. Chin up and good luck to you! Hopefully for your sake we won't be seeing you next season.

  • Comment number 19.

    Danunited99,
    Your post really proves one of Jake's points doesn't it? Born in Norwich but supporting ManU.
    But here's another thing: I'm an Ipswich supporter but hope Norwich succeed in staying in the Championship on Sunday. I love the rivalry and the derbies.
    Good luck Canaries.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Good blog, but I don't think you should confuse glory fans with fans who simply do not support their local team.

    I live on the South Coast but support Leeds United. I hardly think I can be classed as a glory hunter. I make the long (not to mention expensive!) trip up to Elland Road a few times a season to watch League Two football because I love Leeds United, even though I'm not from the city.

    Please don't confuse fans like me with those who live hundreds of miles from Manchester and support Man Utd but have never been to a game

  • Comment number 22.

    I agree completely with Jake that football, and sport in general, is all about supporting a club you have a local attachment to - whether it be the place you were born, or the area in which you were raised. Fair enough if you are following in one (or both) of your parent's footsteps - but to just pick one of the big four because they are one of the big four seems to defy the whole point of supporting your club. (You might as well support Brazil or Spain or whoever is tipped to win the next World Cup).

    I moved to Norwich (or close to it) when I was around 9 from London but I have always supported QPR (unfortunately, some might say). As much as watching Match of the Day, or the Champions League, is one of the highlights of my week, I could never bring myself to support Manchester United (say) just because they are extremely successful.

    By the way, I tipped Norwich to go down at the start of the season - there was a (short) spell when I wondered why on earth I had done so, but now I'm afraid to say that many of my friends will almost certainly be watching League One football next season.

  • Comment number 23.

    Some of us do support our "hometown" team - every day, into and out of work (I'm a zone 6 Londoner), I go past the Emirates and used to be able to see Highbury from the train. I've been a Gooner since I was 5 and from me that is my hometown team: the only club closer are Barnet and I'll happily spend an afternoon on the Football League's most sloping pitch at Underhill with Bees fans.

    For Londoners, hometown takes on a different meaning.

  • Comment number 24.


    I first started watching and supporting Norwich City when they were in what was then Division Three. I much enjoyed the games, where good entertaining football was always on show.

    Three years on, (this was in the days of two up two down, no poncy play-offs) they got promotion to Division Two as Runners-up to Champions Southampton (there's irony for you) which was of course well worth celebrating, and the old Second Division then also presented many good games.

    If League One produces the same level of entertainment as the old Third Division then supporters are still in for some good times - my only worry is that the game has moved on in such a way that this will no longer be the case.

    The good old days - Nethercott, Thurlow, Ashman, McCrohan, Butler, Crowe, Crossan, Allcock, Bly, Hill, Brennan - beat Manchester United in the F A Cup.
    [end of nostalgic trip LOL]

  • Comment number 25.

    I would disagree that you necessarily have to grow up somewhere to support any particular team. My grandfather was a life long norwich supporter, and was even presented with an award at Carrow Road. My dad is a supporter and me and my brother have both supported Norwich since we were young, but neither my brother nor myself have ever lived there. Having grown up in a small rural town in Gloucestershire with no strong footballing side I felt more affility to Norwich than any other side. Does this mean I am a glory hunter with Norwich City ?!?!

  • Comment number 26.

    poor old naaaaaaaarwich!!! o when the town!!!

    BLUE ARMY!!!

    wel never play u again!!!

    'going down at portman road!! hahaha

    Ipswich all the way!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    Great article Jake, I live in Hampshire and my connection to Norwich is through my Dad and Grandad, I asked my Dad to take me to Carrow Road when I was 11 (i'm now 39!)and have been a loyal fan ever since.I love Norwich not because I was born in the City but because of my family connection that goes back generations, by rights I should support Reading where I was born but my love was for Norwich and always will be. I like you will be keeping everything crossed on Sunday and hope and pray we can do it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Crewe Alex fan here, feel my pain :) Why you've got a comparatively easy job. After all, you just need to beat the bottom club in your league, and hope one other result goes your way. We have to beat the top club in our league, and have TWO other results go our way!

    Ironically, we will also drop into the division I think of as the third division, showing presumably the different points at which we started following football. Good luck anyway, my mates a canary, hope you survive (But not too much. You did steal Dean Ashton of us after all!)!

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree. You should support your local-ish team. As a youngster I always wanted to be a bit different, as everyone I knew supported Norwich, I thought I'd go for Ipswich. Didn't really know a great deal about the rivalry as an 8 year old!
    It always puzzles me how football rivalry provokes hatred. I don't want to see Norwich get relegated. I want the pleasure of beating them twice in a season (which doesn't happen very often for either teams). It's the one fixture that both teams supporters look for first. A season without this fixture just wouldn't be the same. However, I would gladly sacrifice this fixture to see us in the Premiership! Anyways, support your local team and good luck to Norwich!

  • Comment number 30.

    Jake,

    Fantastic post, As a Norwich City fan I share your pain, however I also share your passion. We would all love Norwich to be playing Premier League football week in week out....however we are not. With 18,000 season ticket holders already signed up this club will fly the flag high if relegated and NCFC fans will fill away allocations North, South East and West. I will be there as will many many others...will we enjoy it? yes we will. Just the same as we always sell our allocation going to lower league sides in the FA Cup in recent years.People want to go! We will enjoy the day out, we will enjoy the standing, we will enjoy seeing the real football fan sat at the opposite end with his son knowing they are following their team, as I am, and not there for any other big club reason! (got ticket from company etc etc)You have summed up to many the feeling of being a Norwich City fan.....and I am sure many other fans from other sides too.
    WE ALL LIVE FOR A YELLOW FOOTBALL TEAM!
    ON THE BALL CITY NEVER MIND THE DANGER

  • Comment number 31.

    Good article Jake however what annoys me with glory hunting jibes is the forgetting that there are also local fans who get tarred with the same brush.
    I'm a United fan and why ... cos I had no choice. Born in Salford, my Dad told me I was a United fan and we walked to the match ... and numerous thousands of us still do it every week...but you only hear about the glory hunters and the travellers.
    I was at the Hawthorns in '85 when we got stuffed 5-1, at Meadow Lane in '83 seeing us squander a 2 goal lead and lose 3-2, at Maine Road for the infamous 5-1 drubbing in '89. The list goes on.
    So when we went to Rotterdam in '91 and Barcelona in '99 and lifting the league in '93 we had more than earned our time of 'glory'.
    So best wishes to all Salford Reds still plodding up and down Trafford Road through wind and rain as well as thick and (fortunately now not so much) thin.

  • Comment number 32.

    Great blog Jake.

    I am a fellow Canary. Agree with the 'local' concept of supporters, but also think family roots play a part, otherwise I would have torquay as a club rather than norwich where my grandad grew up.

    Hoping we can do the business on Sunday against charlton and that plymouth can do the same against barnsley, but the odds have to be pretty much against! especially as you have mentioned, going to london on last day of prem season in driving seat and getting smashed. Although this time it may be a benefit that we have to go all out rather than play for a draw etc.

    As for league one, if it does happen, everybody mentions the likes of Leicester, but look at Leeds, still struggling to return, or even worse, Bradford, mid table of League two. Things at the club need to be changed and the youth structure which helped us so much in times gone by needs to be given the opportunity of development once again.

    OTBC on Sunday! I will be wearing my yellow and green in a pub watching sky sports news before going to the cardiff blues heineken cup semi final!

  • Comment number 33.

    Brilliant blog and has punctuated me to complete my first blog comment!

    I agree with the notion of supporting your local team. I supported Liverpool from the age of 7, through the Robbie Fowler days right up until the historic night in Istanbul, however I never felt the "connection" to the club like I do to Yeovil Town. The atsmosphere, whilst not as loud is far less sterile than that at a premiership club and yes that includes Anfield. The lower league fans have much more passion, much more emotion. To us it isn't always about the entertainment factor but the belief that you want those group of lads, who you know wont be there soon due to being snapped up by larger clubs to succeed and achieve the sometimes unachievable. 10 years ago I watched Yeovil Town get promoted from the ICIS league and now I am watching them in League One! It's fantastic! It may seem sad that Norwich may be joining us, but I promise you fans you will enjoy the experience. All the clubs are welcoming and the banter is second to none. At the end of the day we are all in the same boat, no team is bigger than the other!

    Just one word of note if you do go down, mention to the bar staff in the ground to stock up on the Cider, us Glovers are fed up of drinking "lager". MKDons specially brought in extra cider for us, would be great if Norwich could do the same. :)

  • Comment number 34.

    Nice blog Jake, come on Plymouth!

    I feel sorry for the guys from Ipswich on here, they dont see that in 5 years time their team will have been run into the ground and wont exist

    KEANO, LMAO, he wont do any better than Magilton, only he'll waste twice as much money and his wages will be considerably higher.

  • Comment number 35.


    NEVER MIND THE DANGER,
    STEADY ON, NOW'S YOUR CHANCE..

  • Comment number 36.

    Anybody who starts or includes any variation on the phrase "I live in Norwich, but I'm a Manchester Fan..." is just purely ridiculous...get a life........

    I'm a Man City fan....from Manchester and I love it.....But I strongly believe I had been born and raised somewhere like Leeds, Carlisle, Wrexham etc I would support them.....I couldn't give a toss about the league we play in or overpaid players that play week in week out....half wont be there next year.....But the people around me in my season ticket seat, and the time I get to spend with ma dad, the atmosphere and the love of the game is definatley worth the price....I'm glad Jake is on the right wave length

    Danunited99
    John_Mandrake_III
    beckettitfc (complete timewaster)

    you three lads need to have a good hard look at yourselves




  • Comment number 37.

    As an Ipswich fan I thought that I'd love to see the Budgies relegated to Div 3, but I take no pleasure in it.
    Rivalry is rivalry but Norwich supporters and Ipswich supporters are akin in many ways and I feel for for your plight. It could have easily been us 5 years ago but our fortunes appear to be on an upward trajectory.
    Its always fantastic highs and devestating lows supporting "unfashionable" teams like ours and I'm sure you'll be back losing at Portman Road in the not too distant future.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree with you. My hometown team (Southampton) haven't had the greatest of seasons, but i would never even dream of supporting another team. I can like some teams more than others, for example Arsenal because of the way they play and Theo, but would never count myself as a supporter because i have no link with the club. The link with a club is the reason to support it, whether it be by family or living there.

    When I talk to people and they say they support a top four club because they kind of liked them when they were younger, they can't count themselves as proper supporters, especially for top four teams.

  • Comment number 39.

    btw bobhopebeyondhope = irony bypass

  • Comment number 40.

    Surely being a "proper" supporter is less to do with why you support a team, but how you support them? Knowing about the team, having a genuine passion for them, etc.

  • Comment number 41.

    While I should feel some sympathy for the fans of Southampton, Charlton and Norwich City, I am afraid they are all either relegated or facing relegation due to the poor running of their respective clubs, and therefore any feelings of sympathy are balanced by the thought that these fans did too little to prevent the demise of their clubs.

    Of course I have even less sympathy for Norwich as I am an Ipswich fan.

    So where did all these clubs go wrong, that is so simple, too many managers in too short a time. Jim Magilton was recently sacked but even he had almost three seasons to try and get us promoted. No such luxury for the managers of the three teams in the frame for relegation

    Charlton - five managers in less than three years
    Southampton - five managers in less than three years, an astonishing fourteen in the last ten years.
    Norwich - five managers in less than three years, eight in the last ten.

    Changing your manager in pursuit of success is one thing, my club has just done this, but not having the patience to allow the managers to build any form of platform for that success is clearly the root of the problem. If the managers were not good enough then surely the board is at fault for choosing the wrong manager. By sacking them or allowing them to resign at the behest of impatient fans or due to poor results or a percieved lack of ambition by either side, clearly reflects on the board being weak.

    Money is not the cause either, there are teams that have survived in this seasons championship with far fewer financial resources than any of these three clubs. But, fans of these clubs will say, "our club is skint", "we cannot build a team without money". Very true to a point, but how much money has been squandered settling departed managers contracts, money that could have brought in new blood, developed players through the academy or even just allowed the club to retain their best home grown talent. All three were Premiership clubs recently, why were some of the riches gained then, not set aside for times such as now.

    The answer in each case is clear, boards dealing in short-term fixes with absolutely no long term vision and none of the patience that requires. Such lack of insight and vision is why they are being relegated, the teams reflect the lack of quality in their respective boards and the fans suffer.

    The new breed of fans, with similar impatience for success, do not help matters. For fans of any team, when you next bay for your manager to be replaced, think, be very careful what you wish for.

    It remains to be seen if Roy Keane will have the time to succeed. I fear if he does not get or take that time we shall be following Charlton, Southampton and, I hope, Norwich City into League 1.

  • Comment number 42.

    Good to see intelligent input from our backward neighbours down the A140 (i.e. leeder33 and redHuey9).

    As a life long City fan, it would be a gutter to see another relegation. But to me it will prove to the world what great, passionate supporters we have. The fact we have 19,500 season ticket sales already for next season speaks volumes for our very under-rated fans.

    As already mentioned by by Post 10 - there are certain hoards of fans in black and white stripes in the North East who are classed as the most "passionate" - however, if they are relegated will their gates remain a constant. Absolutely not. And before anyone asks, I have family in Newcastle and know for a fact that many of them will not go next season if they are not in the Premiership. And it's nothing to do with the credit crunch!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Good on you Jake. I heard you on Five Live and was genuinely impressed, more so because ever since your emergence on Children's telly I have pretty much loathed you with a vengeance. It's not fair and it's not rational, but - what the hey - you chose to be a celebrity.

    Anyone who saw Norwich a few years back, passing, passing, passing their way to the top of the league has got to love them; a real quality side and I hope they stay up.

  • Comment number 44.

    dont worry jake, plymouth will do you a favour im sure of it. Come on the Greens!!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Top blog Jake and for all you Binners out there it takes a media hyped appointment of the loose cannon Roy Keane for you lot to crawl from under your stones to support your club where were you most of this season? You only turn out for the OLD FARM derby and you won't have that next season!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Good blog Jake. I feel your pain even though i have not been in a relagation battle or anywhere near it. As a Manchester United fan from Cardiff i certainly get my fair share of abuse, from all kinds of football fans and even people who do not follow football, as the general assumption is support united, chelsea, liverpool or arsenal you are a glory supporter, and this umbrella term rings in my ears every night before i go to sleep.

    Yes i support a team at the moment who are massively successful and have been since i was placed on this fine earth, the reasons i do? are down to my father, who is also from cardiff but a lifelong united fan. He has experienced the ups and downs of the club since the 60s which as of yet i have not. Seeing as i am only 21. However, i could quite happily go on and discuss the history of the club i love. It makes me upset and very anoyed when i see people the same generation of me wearing the united colours when they have no idea about football, or change their team when the local one gets promoted. most of all i dislike the way many people from cardiff support both their home town club and a "big four team". I travel to Manchester as reguarly as possible to see united, most recently spending near £200 to see them play fulham, if that is not dedacation then what is? i dont look forward to the bad times, but inevitably they will come in the future and when they do, i will still be here parading my love for the one club i love, one united!

  • Comment number 47.

    Totally agree with your comments Jake, and have always thought that followers of the 'Big 4' who do so with no justification are very shallow.

    As an Ipswich fan, I have mixed emotions over the plight of the Budgies.
    On one hand - You're getting relegated hehehe
    On the other hand - The Pride of Anglia rivalry/banter will be missed. Peterborough! do me a favour

    Good luck on Sunday! I think.......?

  • Comment number 48.

    Good on you Jake. Glory hunters sicken me just as much, its not proper football, they may know the chants when they come to watch their 'team' in pubs, but the reality is that hardly any of them have ever been to see them play. I'm a lifelong Charlton fan even though I live in Norfolk so i know plenty of Norwich fans and what it means to a lot of people as the only decent football club in the county. I'd never wish Charlton to lose a game, but i'll say good luck!

  • Comment number 49.

    Great blog Jake!!!

    I have been a longtime reader of all the blogs on the BBC but this is the first one that has actually made me want to create a membership and comment.

    I am from Glasgow but am an absolute die hard Partick Thistle supporter. I would hate to support either of Scotland's big two, i think it would be dull. My team have been up and down in the last few years more than Jordan's knickers and there is nothing like it. The euphoria of promotion, the heartbreak of relegation. Thats what supporting your so called smaller teams is all about!!!!

    Just to stay on topic i hope Norwich stay up, i remember watching them in 1993 in Europe, i cant remember the name of your midfielder that scored against a German club (Bayern?), and being off my seat when your man scored a volley, ever since then i have always looked to see how they are doing.

  • Comment number 50.

    Good luck on Sunday Norwich, a great great club. Being a Forest fan, I hope Barnsley go down, League 1 was made for clubs like Barnsley. That will teach them to grossly over charge away fans!

    Enjoy the sour cream with that league 1 pie!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Jake's comments about many supporters of the 'big 4'. However, I say that with conditions, as I am a Nottingham Forest supporter with no connection with Nottingham. I began supporting them in the late 70's because of a certain Brian Clough.

    For me, the thing that defines somebody as a proper supporter rather than a glory hunter is the efforts that they go to in supporting their team. I live in Hampshire and have a family so can't attend every week, but like BognorRock I attend when I can and cover many miles each season in doing so.

    Those so called fans who sit in their armchair watching Sky every week are not proper fans in my book. They would probably claim that they are, but if they ever went to game they would see what a real fan is.

    In the end they are the ones missing out. Although they stand and cheer in the pub or living room when their team scores, they don't feel the thrill and passion that a real fan feels when success is achieved. Even more so as a fan of a struggling club. There is no way my Man U or Liverpool supporting friends feel what I felt when Forest got promoted last season. And that is their loss.

  • Comment number 52.

    Great post Jake!

    My family is from Norfolk and I was brought up there, and am a life long Norwich supporter. My career has taken me away from the county, but I try to get to a few games a year. I could not agree more with your sentiment about supporting your home team, or one with a strong family connection. I remember sports afternoons at a primary school in rural North Norfolk in the 70s. The numbers of Liverpool and Arsenal shirts on the boys used to grate with me, in my canary yellow shirt, even as a 7 year old.

    I lived in Manchester for 12 years after university, never once was I tempted to cross over. I did have a soft spot for Man City though, as I felt they were more the 'Manchester team' than United. In fact I remember a survey in the ealy 90s in the Manchester Evening News that showed that there are more City fans than United fans within the city boundary. United's fans are all in Bangkok, London and rural North Norfolk no doubt.

    I agree that it is painful sometimes to support City, but I am a Norfolk man and proud of it, and so have no choice, and no regrets.

    For you Ipswich fans, you know that "what goes around, comes around"...

  • Comment number 53.

    Jake, good post. I support the Mighty Mariners, even though I moved away a few years ago to .... Manchester. I know there are loads of Man U fans in Manchester (more City fans though!). But half of them cannot get to games due to the foreign legions. How many times did you hear Irish and cockney accents in interviews outside OT on Wednesday night ?
    Unfortunately with the introduction of all seater stadia and Sky Sports money the gulf between the Premier top 4 and the rest is ever growing.
    I worry about this recession, with job losses and industry going down the pan, but I hope one good thing comes of it, and that is that the top clubs can get a feel of the real world for once.

  • Comment number 54.

    None of us have any control over where we are born and brought up? Why must people feel the need to impose a rule on everybody that you have to support the local team purely because of an accident of birth? What if nothing has happened in the time since you were born to make you feel anything particularly strong for your local area?

    Jake is right about one thing - we do live in an increasingly globalised world where people make connections with places and people based on any number of factors. Like it or not, few things are as global as football and we don't all experience this multi-faceted sport through the same lens anymore. I feel it quite arrogant that some people still claim there is only one correct way to experience football. Maybe there used to be, when the world was smaller, but things are different now. You can't just impose these kinds of rules on people. And it's unfair to just expect people to feel an affinity with the place that, through an accident of birth, happens to be home.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nice to read your thoughts Jake. Have to admit I never had you down as a Canary - there are more of us out there than you think!

    I'd agree to some extent that you should follow your hometown club, but as many have pointed out it's not always that simple. I myself was born and brought up in Sheffield, but ever since I was small I've been supporting City. It's my dad's fault - his side of the family are from Norfolk (his cousin reports on Norwich for the local paper) and my brother and I were always brought up following the yellow and green. In fact, I still have a kermit the frog toy where the Muppet master is wearring a City kit (no comments please Ipswich fans!). For the last 25 years I have shared the triumph and despair that comes with being a Norwich fan. I've been to see them all over the country (even Torquay, bizarrely) and despite living in Bristol, try and get to matches when I can.

    Like all City fans, I'll be depressed come 4.45 on Sunday if the inevitable does happen and we go down. But we need to put it in perspective: it's not the end of the world. No-one has a divine right to be in the Premiership or the Championship (whatever our friends from Suffolk might think), you have to earn that right. Our board and managers have done too many things wrong in recent years, and we deserve to be relegated. The table doesn't lie.

    We'll be back. Until then, OTBC!

  • Comment number 56.

    You've completely hit the spot. As a fellow Norwich fan I can feel (and share), the emotion in your words.

    Thank you for giving a great insight into being a local supporter and Norwich fan. Hopefully the message will spread across the globe, whilst your heart remains in Norfolk.

    OTBC

  • Comment number 57.

    Nice piece.I have been a city fan for over 40 years and I will always remember my first match going with my uncle walking up the steps at the barcley end and going throu the doors and the greeness of the pitch with the floodlights on hits you and my love affair with NORWICH CITY started and it is still in my heart today.When I was at Sec. Mod in the sixties everyone supported the big ones and laughed at me for supporting city but over the years I have always felt as I had the last laugh.I would not dream of making a big club my club,even now when it looks like we will be going down on sunday my passion for city is still as strong as ever and I will still follow them,and I do think that is one of the problems with the modern game boardrooms have lost touch with the fans.If city go down If it gives the club the chance to rebiuld and come back stronger then it might be the for the best,remember when Man Utd came down in the seventies under Tommy Doc. they went back up and it was the foundations for the club they are today,I am not for one minute saying city will become as big as them but they will bounce back and I will still have yellow and green running trough my vaines no matter what the future holds, CITY TILL I DIE AND BEYOND!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Good article. Amazing number of season tickets sold by Norwich, down here in Plymouth we won't sell half that number despite having a far larger population.
    Sorry to tell you that Argyle's home form has been pathetic this season (ten defeats) and I think Barnsley will get at least a point.

  • Comment number 59.

    Maybe I'm biased because I'm also a Forest fan, but I have much more respect for Andover_Tree than fans of the big four now who aren't local, simply because in the past lots of teams have had eras of success and fallen from grace: Norwich, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle to name just a few.

    To keep supporting them through thick and thin and travel that far is fantastic and it's different to the modern Big 4 because, like Mariner says, the gulf keeps growing. The only way those 4 will ever stop competing at the very top is due to financial collapse, not footballing reasons. Football used to be more exciting when it was more of a level playing field. Nowadays Hull/Villa (before order was restored) is about as unpredictable as it gets. Even a great club like Everton making the cup final was a shock.

    I just hope Plymouth really put a shift in this weekend and make it competetive, and if Norwich can't go to Charlton and get a win when you really need it then you've got to wonder why you're in the Championship.

  • Comment number 60.

    Theres something you dont see every day, a blog from a Norwich fan. I share your pain Jake, as Im currently on ops in Iraq and footy coverage is patchy at best. Ill be chewing my nails along with many other City fans. I do worry though that if we drop out of the Championship will we ever get back up?
    Post 41 by caughtinthebrambles, I agree with every point you make, and on the subject of manager swaps, its no coincidence the most succesful teams in the Premier league have had their managers for over 10 years. You cant build a team in 8 months.

  • Comment number 61.

    You're spot on, Jake.

    I was born in South Staffordshire in a staunch Wolves-supporting family. However, my Dad left (and he was the big Wolves fan), they had slipped down to Division Four, and my friends at primary school all liked one of the big three at the time (Liverpool, Leeds or Man U). I chose to support Man U, and I remained obsessed with them through most of the 90s. However, as I grew up, I felt the tug of my local team more and more.

    I knew my feelings for Manchester United were disappearing when I could barely celebrate their Champions' League win in '99 due to being gutted at Wolves narrowly missing out on the playoffs. I watched more and more intently for the next couple of seasons, until 2002 when I knew for sure that my team were the lads in black and gold. I had watched us slip from certain promotion to 3rd place in a matter of weeks, and I then listened to the play-off semi-final versus your boys on the local radio station - I have never been so angst-ridden by a domestic football match in my life.

    I sobbed when we lost - but that day I knew that Wolves were in my heart. I had grown up being actively discouraged from supporting them by my Mum and my peers, and I had just witnessed them throw away a season of success in about six weeks. And yet my heart was pounding, and my head was spinning. That never happened when I followed Man United. Ever since then, I have been 100% a Wolves fan, and extremely proud of it.

    I think people who support one of the big teams but aren't from the local area are not proper football fans, at least not in the old-fashioned sense . In the modern age, there are more fans of Manchester United from Shanghai than Salford, so I can't really judge someone from Stevenage that supports them. However, I really don't understand how an adult who considers themselves to be a true football fan could prefer watching a load of overpaid foreigners play attractive posession football for a far-away team on Match of the Day every week, to watching 11 mostly British lads who fight for the badge on their shirt, and who have a bit of loyalty to the team, slug it out for 90 minutes from the terraces of their local club. I really don't.

  • Comment number 62.

    Funny how it's only out of town Man United fans who get slated, there are plenty of Liverpool/Leeds fans all over the country many of whom of my age (40) were glory hunting in the 70s. It doesn't mean any of these teams don't have huge local support unless you think 2+2=5. And a glory hunter can live 50 yards, 50 miles or 500 miles from the ground!

    Being Scottish and growing up near Glasgow in the 70s we all had English teams (as well as Scottish of course) perhaps helped by the fact that English teams in those days had plenty of Scotsmen playing, many chose Liverpool or Leeds as they were successful and Nottm Forest also became popular in the late 70s, but some of us chose United because they were the valiant underdogs getting the biggest and most passionate crowds despite being in the old 2nd division for a season and were relatively cr@p compared to Liverpool/Leeds. The week before the '77 cup final (UnitedvLiverpool) the kids in the playground split into 2 sides every breaktime chanting at each other and on the Friday before the game had a running battle and thankfully the school nutcases chose United, nobody gave much thought to the Scottish Cup final and that was CelticvRangers! Anyway I moved south 20 years ago and have had a Season Ticket for those 20 years, been all over Europe from Rotterdam '91, Barca '99 to Moscow '08 with numerous other less sexy trips in between. We won't be at the top forever especially if the debts the Glazers put on us start to bite but I'll still be there as will all proper reds many of whom wouldn't mind a return to medicority to help cleanse our club of the fair weather glory hunters some of whom even come from Manchester :)

    At the end of the day the bigger the club the bigger the fanbase from the local pub team to the local amateur team to the local professional team to the really big teams with a net even wider it covers the country. It is ironic when fans sing 'We support out local team' despite the fact they don't fill their ground unless they play Man United, no doubt Boro will have a full house tomorrow for a change and sing this little ditty :)

    Maybe teams should only have players from their own town/city, that would help encourage only local support more!

  • Comment number 63.

    I am a United fan living in Wolverhampton (I know what you're thinking, closer than a lot of other United fans!) and they've been my team for about 16 years now.

    I'll admit I picked them as a 6 year old because I was glory hunting, however, I am kinda following a family tradition. My dad picked West Ham as his team after he saw half of their team lift the World Cup with England, my brother picked Liverpool during the 80's when they were the dominant force, so its only right that I chose United really!

    As I've grown up with United, and knowing only Ferguson as our manager (He took charge 2 months after I was born) I'd have to say I'm pretty sure I've matured enough now to support them whether they got relegated, went into administration or whatever. Basically what I'm saying is that a lot of people who are in their 20's now may have picked United as their team back in the 90's as a glory hunting primary school child, but now have United running through their veins and would follow them wherever they went, so the term "glory hunter" mainly applies to the 6 and 7 year olds who are doing what I and many others did. Sensible lot, better they support us than Chelski, Liverpool or Arsenal!

    I think its a bit harsh to say that just because a lot of "Top 4" fans don't go to see their team play they aren't as much of a fan as those who support teams that aren't in the top 4 and go every week. I don't get to go to many games at Old Trafford simply because of the expense and availability of tickets, but every chance I get to go I will drop everything to get there. I've paid my mate who is a Liverpool fan £30 each way to drive up there and suffer watching us win so I can go.

    Anyway that was a bit of a rant. I went to secondary school with a Norwich supporter for a best mate who used to make the trip from Telford down there every home game as well as the away games against Midlands teams and because of him and his enthusiasm for Norwich (This was during the 'glory' days of Marc Libra, Mark Rivers and Zema Abbey) I developed a soft spot for the Canaries and went to see them once or twice with him, so best of luck for your team Jake, I'd much rather see you coming back to the Premiership rather than slipping further away.

  • Comment number 64.

    good post Jake. I can completely agree with the tug of a hometown club - I don't really follow domestic rugby in the same way I follow the Wolves (a fan by upbringing - not by choice!) but my mood is still affected when Bath lose or win, and I'm terrified about the upcoming playoffs for the title! I'm at uni in Norwich and I hope you stay up because having a successful team seems to give the city a massive spring in it's step, and it's great to see so many youngsters walking around with their city's shirt on as opposed to a Utd or Chelsea one. The city really does get behind it's team, for that reason alone you deserve it. That and the fact you trashed us at Carrow Road.

  • Comment number 65.

    Cracking article Jake.
    I'm a Forest season ticket holder, and I know only too well the lengths that some fans go for their teams (I was at QPR in 2004 when we were relegated to League One).
    I've travelled the length and bredth of the country to see my team, along with many hundreds and thousands of other like minded fans.
    I'm one of the travellers, those who think that sitting on some nondescript station at 7 in the morning, discussing football, with a guy you've never met before, and will never meet again, is the norm.
    I'm one of those guys who bears a grudge against our biggest rivals reserve left back, because he once played for our youth team and did the 'unthinkable' in moving to our rivals. I must be one of the only people around who prefers The Championship to The Premier League as its more competetive.
    I love football. At any level. But most of all. I love my team.

  • Comment number 66.

    ipswich fan in peace
    great blog. i support ipswich casue i was born and raised there. i spent many happy and sad days at portman road and even tho i live in reading now, i am still a fully fledged ipswich supporter. i will support my team from the top of the prem to the bottom of the confrence, same as you guys will support ncfc in the same way. we may hate each other with a passion, but i respect you for that. i do hope you guys survive, casue it wont be the same without a derby match.

  • Comment number 67.

    Since I was a kid I moved all over the world. However my parents were from Greater Manchester, and my grandparents lived there all their lives so I felt quite justified in being a Manchester United supporter, which I have been ever since I can remember. I am now in my 50's and living in Australia. Because of bigots like you though, I keep it slightly quiet, and if asked tend instead to mention my 2nd team, Ipswich, having spent a decade or so there. I don't suppose that is any more palatable to you as a Norwich fan.

  • Comment number 68.

    CaughtInTheBrambles - I believe that you are counting caretaker managers in your totals.

    In the last 3 seasons Norwich City have had:

    Nigel Worthington, 6 years, 1 playoff final, 1 promotion then 3 years of decline.
    Jim Duffy - Caretaker, 3 matches.
    Peter Grant - 1 year, quit because he felt he wasn't up to the job.
    Glenn Roeder - 1 year, sacked after defeat to Charlton in FA cup.
    Bryan Gunn - 3 months and counting....

    Of those 5, onl;y 1 I would say was sacked before they were given time (Roeder) and his position was made untenable purely by the contempt he treated the fans with.

  • Comment number 69.

    Despite my earlier post, I have friends (here in Australia, is that allowed in your purist view?) who are Norwich City supporters, and I hope Norwich don't get relegated.

  • Comment number 70.

    Good article. I'm a Brighton fan, moved down to the South Coast at the age of 1. Recent years have seen me move about to Preston, Sheffield & Rotherham, but I'll always follow the Albion no matter where I am, and try and get to see them as many times as I can in a season. People who support any of the Big 4 from cities other than Manchester, London or Liverpool respectively have managed to miss the point entirely - football is a much better game if you are able to associate with a team that experiences the rough with the smooth. Arsenal fans may bleat about another season without any silverware (Champions League permitting) - cry me a river. I know that I'll probably have no nails left come 5pm tomorrow, but i'll be ecstatic with the joy of survival, or overwhelmed the pain of relegation. And I'll take that any time over a guaranteed top 4 finish.

    Support your local teams! They make life so much more interesting than the usual suspects swiping everything.

    I'll close by saying good luck Norwich. I'd love to see you stay up albeit for selfish reasons - Barnsley's much easier to get to from Rotherham than Carrow Road!

  • Comment number 71.

    Great post Jake. I've never read your blog before to be honest, but when I saw that you were talking about supporting your local team I was intrigued.

    I have been watching my hometown team (was actually born in Crewe, but moved when I was 2), the Seals (a.k.a Chester City), play for 14 seasons (I'm only 22 now) down at the Deva stadium. I have definitely been through the highs and lows watching the blues, well mostly lows to be honest. Apart from reaching the Division 3 play offs in the 96-97 season and winning the conference in 2004, supporting Chester has been pretty grim. Regardless though, I still love them. Even if I can't get back home for a game, Chester's is always the 1st score I look for. Many friends of mine have selfishly strayed away from the club as successes have died down, they're the glory supporters, and taken their allegances to Everton, Liverpool and Man United.

    On the other hand, through my dad being a lifelong fan I am also a Manchester United fan, so this season I am experiencing the extreme highs and low of being a football fan. Now living in Manchester following university I have regularly attended matches at Old Trafford over the last 3/4 years. My current location has prevented me from going to as many Chester games as I'd like, but I still pop back when I can. Some may call me a glory supporter as I have been fortunate to witness United at their best over the last 15 years, but my support for the club is through family.

    When I'm watching live matches though, I feel more emotionally attached to Chester, as it takes me back to being 8 again and attending my 1st live football game with my dad and brother, everytime I go to a game I still get the same buzz. Its difficult to explain this attachment, but I'm sure fans of their local teams will appreciate what I'm saying.

  • Comment number 72.

    # 71. Are you having a laugh? All that rubbish about supporting the mighty Seals through thick & thin, you then say this:

    'Now living in Manchester following university I have regularly attended matches at Old Trafford over the last 3/4 years. My current location has prevented me from going to as many Chester games as I'd like'

    Your current location is a 30 minute train ride from Chester, not that far for a supposedly committed fan! Just admit to yourself that you're a glory hunter like all your mates who you've accused.

    Come on City on Saturday, just the 19 goals needed!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Spare a thought for us supporters who follow a big team for all the right reasons! If you'd told me aged 10 that I'd be watching Chelsea play Barca in a European Cup semi-final, I'd have rolled about laughing at you. Some of us make the effort to go to games and follow our sides through thick and thin and make a more general effort too (I've been down to Griffin Park a few times this season, well done to the Bees!). We don't have it as bad as you but having your credentials questioned 24/7 gets boring pretty quickly!

    I'd be sad to see Norwich go down, watching them do so well in Europe in the early 90s is one of my earliest football memories.

  • Comment number 74.

    Good to see that quite a few Ipswich fans want Norwich to stay up, personally I would like to see Leeds back in the Premier league as there's nothing quite like beating your main rivals, nice when they're relegated but if they're in a different league you can't beat them :)

    Every MEN survey I've ever seen always has more Reds than Blues in Manchester so not sure which survey someone above was referring to.

    I've yet to see a proper survey to back up any of these myths. Back in 2000 during the middle of the September fuel strike United played a home European game that was also live on ITV against Anderlecht, all ABUs were excited that OT would at best be half full to show most United fans couldn't travel to the game backing up their myths, the attendance was 63000 (capacity was 67000 at the time), the next day Chelsea got 19,000 but of course the ABUs didn't comment on the obvious! If Manchester was full of City fans they would get a guaranteed 47K every week especially in this day and age when all top division clubs get bigger crowds than 10 years ago, after all Manchester and the surrounding towns has a huge population. Go back to the 80s and City were regularly getting under 25K, look at an old clip from the Maine Road derby in September 1985 nearly half the ground is Red.

    For any "no United fans in Manchester" or "all City fans come from Manchester" myth believers here's a report from a few years ago to read over a pint of bitter ;)

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 75.

    Great Blog Jake i follow your F1 Blog and thought this is a topic id get involved with.

    As you can probably tell from my username that im a Newcastle Fan and i am suffering from the demise of my beloved club and the fact we will be playing championship football ourseleves next year if im been honest.Yet remarkabely if we do go down i dont think id look forward to a season more first off ive got my boyhood hero in charge, will have more games nearer me as i live in birmingham but yet some proper fans as well which is the key for me the premiership isnt all its cracked up to be and i think the football league is far better with fanbase etc will we get 52,000 next year no we wont but we arent anyway so id say we would still get 40,000-45,000 but yet i cant complain although a club the size of ours should be challenging for honours ive seen my team play the likes of Barcelona,beat Juventus who boasted the likes of Del Piero and Buffon and also thrash Man Utd 5-0.

    i may get accused of my team been bad but i will never ever leave them because you have to take the rough with the smooth.

  • Comment number 76.

    Interesting blog, Jake.

    Amusingly, I somewhat represent the antithesis of your sentiments here. I was born, bred and still based in the Midlands, but I have been an Ipswich Town fan since July 2002.

    However, I do completely agree with the general sentiment against 'glory-hunting', as my decision to start supporting Town in summer 2002 was anything but glory-hunting. This was actually two months after Ipswich had been relegated following their 2 year stay in the Premier League. From my position however, this was what led me to make the decision to support them - as someone who previously wasn't interested in club football, the fortunes of this little team from Suffolk that had wowed everyone by qualifying for Europe in their first Premier League season had captured my interest, only to see them disappear into the second tier one season later. It's since been 7 long years of both heartbreaking proximity and dreary distance from our ultimate goal of returning to the top flight, but my love for the club has only grown stronger, and I get myself to more and more matches every season. I would not say that location should necessarily be what dictates your chosen club. My only feeling is that if you are a decent football fan, you will stick by the club you choose no matter what happens to them. And remember, there's always a club worse off than yours.

    There is however an irritating apathy displayed by some Premier League fans - mainly the Big Four - who seem to treat the Football League as if it doesn't exist. This is rather exacerbated by media coverage which often neglects major stories in the lower divisions in favour of, say, dedicating a column to mindgames between Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez, or Ashley Cole's musings on the Champions League. I have found myself increasingly uninterested in the Premier League and European competition, seeming such a world away from what my team goes through, and instead more closely following the battle for the League One title or teams bidding to avoid the drop into the Blue Square Premier. We have such a fantastic league in this country, unlike any other in the world, and I feel it is a shame that more fans don't indulge in it.

    Regarding Norwich City this weekend - I wouldn't be a Town fan if a part of me didn't want it to all go pear-shaped for you guys this weekend! But at the same time, deep down, there's nothing I would like to see more in a few years time than the mouthwatering prospect of a Premiership East Anglian derby. We shall see what the future holds...

  • Comment number 77.

    It seems to me that your biggest fear is third tier football. Don't. Some of the best fans I've met. Now as a Forest fan,three years was a bit long but if you really love your team it matters not one jot what level you play at - only that the players that pull on the shirt really care. I've had a season ticket for 33 years and never considered not having one just because of an relegation or two. My two eldest sons now have season tickets as well - and if anything they are starting to show even stronger ties to our club than me. And don't be confused by Meltonred. We are Nottingham through and through - my three sons all born their. Now I do hope you get out of it as I'm fed up with hearing 15 year old Barnsley fans chant 'scab scab scab' but if you don't - so what, Norwich will still be your team. One final thing though, Mr. Clingan, was swapping us for Norwich really such a good idea. Ah well, must go now to enjoy my pressure free weekend before going to Sunday's game with no worries.

  • Comment number 78.

    Norwich are basically a small club and belong in League One or even League Two. The sooner the likes of Bolton, Wigan, Blackburn and Portsmouth join them, the better.

  • Comment number 79.

    reference comment#3 I'm sure Norwich are better of without numpties like you. What happened, dropped your ice cream on the floor one day and decided to stamp your feet really hard until your mummy will bought you another. Grow up and face the music, winning is not everything. As a Birmingham City fan since birth I have gone through just as much pain as any football lover but at no time have I ever, and I mean ever considered switching teams. This could only be considered as selling your soul to the highest bidder, and believe you me, Man ure would not be giving you a lot

  • Comment number 80.

    Jake - Good post. As a Forest fan I have followed in the footsteps of my Dad, who started supporting the Reds in the late 50s when he lived in Grantham. He's been lucky enough to see us win the top prize club football has to offer (twice) and numerous league cups as well. Being from Birmingham, the split here is much more bias towards the local teams, probably because there are so many to choose from, but there are still a few Forest fans knocking about.
    If you do go down, which looks likely, you'll enjoy going to some of the smaller grounds that are usually reserved for away days in the Cup, however the two things that really stand out for me as being the worst part of being in League 1 are the Johnstone Paint Trophy (what is the point, please someone tell me!?) and having to play in R1 and R2 of the FA Cup (and perhaps not even getting through to R3 when the "big" boys join in). That really got to me.
    Anyway, enjoy League 1 if you do go down, Yeovil is a great day out, or why not make a weekend of it?

  • Comment number 81.

    I've been a Northampton Town fan all my life and, working in London, my colleagues often don't have the faintest idea who we are. They all support the big five teams, I say five so as not to offend the Villa fan I share an office with, yet in most cases they've never been to a game. If things go our way tomorrow and go badly for Norwich on Sunday then I'm sure Jake will get a hearty welcome from the Sixfields faithful if/when we meet next season.

  • Comment number 82.

    This link shall now be copied and pasted to all my Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool supporting mates. Who are all born and bred Plymouthians.

    COME ON YOU GREENS.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'm a Charlton fan and I almost hope we lose and Barnsley lose...
    I don't want to see Norwich relegated for so mnay reasons...

  • Comment number 84.

    Ref, post #79

    When I read post #3 I assumed it was an obvious wind up jest just to give the impression he was what non-United fans like to think is a 'typical' Man Utd fan.

    I really hope it was in jest :)

  • Comment number 85.

    I can't work out if John_Mandrake_III' s comment at 09:39am on 01 May 2009, was a deeply ironic comment by a true Norwich fan along the same lines as the Norwich fanzine from years ago, LAOTTA [Liverpool Are On The Telly Again] or just a shockingly bad example of the sort of illiteracy with which Britain is nowadays plagued. To save you scrolling back up he wrote and I have left his spelling and punctuation untouched:

    "i hope Norwich go down. i live here, but i'm now supporting manchester untied. i support man you becaus theyr the best team in the world and we always beet the rubbish teams like liverpool and fulhamm. COME ON MANCHESTY UNTIED!"

    I think I shall continue to refer to them as "Manchesty Untied" - it is sort of catchy isn't it ? I also loved the idea of trying to "beet" the opposition - sounds like a Norfolk sort of thing to do, given the prevalence of the mighty sugar beet in that county. 'If you can't beat them, beet them' could become a new local adage. Perhaps everyone should bring a handful of sugar beet to the game on Sunday !

    On the Ball City !

  • Comment number 86.

    If Post 78 is a genuine belief...... then that is very sad. Thank god there are still real football fans walking the streets or else we would end up like the Spanish League and have Man U and Liverpool reserves playing in the Championship.

  • Comment number 87.

    I totally agree with the point of supporting the team from your place of birth. I also agree with the idea of following your dad and supporting a team that your family has traditionally done. I myself live in Norwich but am a Sheffield United fan , moved here when i was 4. I also had not choice but to support sufc, it was that or change my name and move to another country. As soon as i was old enough to drive i bought a season ticket and make the 2 n half hour journey every weekend to bramall lane and i love it. The thought of supporting any other club is out of the question. I also travel to the majority of away games.

    One thing i have learnt about living in Noriwch is that they probably have one of the best sets of fans in the country, and i would never question their loyalty regardless of whatever league they were in. Not many teams fill their ground week in week out.

    All the best to the Norwich fans as you derserve to stay up and i will have alot of moody friends if not. Although i believe relegation would not be a major disaster, maybe even what you need clear out all dead wood and start again. As it could be the same old next year if not.

    :) UP THE BLADES ( i really hope we get promoted on sunday, i cant take the playoff's)

  • Comment number 88.

    On another note, I am going to watch the mighty Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday as they try to win automatic promotion to the league that my dear Norwich City may find themselves playing in next season. I was born in Norwich, but have been living in South Bucks, close to High Wycombe, for much of the last 37 years. Although I continue to trail all over the country watching Norwich City lose with a stoicism that borders on masochism, I have always kept a close eye on the fortunes of my local side and have occasionally turned out to watch them.

    Obviously, being fairly close to London (and for a short time living within spitting distance of the Spurs ground), I could have chosen to follow Spurs or Arsenal or (God forbid!) Chelsea, but like most true football fans, my allegiance lies with the Club most local to the place or places I call home.

    I went with a friend to Wembley the other week to watch Arsenal and Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final and was frankly appalled by the lack of real passion in the support. Yes, there were a lot of them there - but the songs and chants were so poor. Ooh to be a...ooh to be a gooner - is that really the best they can do ?

  • Comment number 89.

    I'll be there too mate. There'll be a few sneaky Norwich fans in the Bugle before the game if you fancy a nerve-settling pint!

    OTBC!

  • Comment number 90.

    As a Southampton fan I can only sympathise with you.

    I don't really care whether Barnsley or Norwich come down with us. I think though Norwich will come down.

  • Comment number 91.

    Well its win, win for us..we can't lose..if you get relegated then we will be dancing, drinking and cavorting on Sunday in the Portman Rd sunshine...but if Barnsley do fluff it up and hand you a miracle then we look forward to steam rollering you twice next season on our way to the title...its fun really 'cos it doesn't seem that long ago that you were all sing' top of the league at Portman Rd'..what a difference 5 years make...Maybe that just reward for you all cheering for Barnsley in 2000, ironic don't you think?? Karma, Karma..

  • Comment number 92.

    Norwich, great club, great fans, fine city..........Ipswich, good club, mixed fans, awful grot hole of a town. will miss the derby if city go down. Fans deserve better http://soccer-stats.football365.com/dom/ENG/D1/attend.html

    anyone whos the age of 25ish and under and support manchester united with no real link to the club are filthy glory hunters, sad, very sad.

    p.s jake....good lad

  • Comment number 93.

    As a Newcastle United fan. Always have been, i was born their. I can undertand the trials and tribulations of a relegation battle and whilst Norwich seem to have a decent chance of staying up giving the last day fixtures, i believe we are destined for Peterboro and the sort. And i'll look forward to Peterboro away almost (not quite) as much as i looked forward to Man Utd away et al. As soon as the season ticket renewal package comes through my letterbox i'll be sorted for next season. Why? Because no matter what (unless they go bust) your team is always there, through thick and thin, so as a true supporter you have to be their for your team. Good luck against Charlton and hopeful on the Plymouth front, Jake. We need a tad more than luck but nevermind, hopefully, for your sake anyway, we'll be seeing you at Carrow Road next season.

  • Comment number 94.

    Good article Jake. Agree with you in principle. I'm an Ipswich fan though, so I hope you get thrashed on Sunday and go down. Blue Army!

  • Comment number 95.

    Guys - if you want to read about all sorts of football, read www.goal.com - it covers many different aspects of football.

  • Comment number 96.

    I have supported Norwich since I first got into football living in Hong Kong at age 8. I have supported them now for 30 years. Never swayed. Never wavered. My sister moved to Norwich then and for me, that was that.

    Since then, I've never been to Norwich. Never watched them play at Carrow Road but it is something I will do soon...and hopefully in the Championship or better!

    The question of loyalty should really never be questioned. You don't need to live there. You don't need to be from there. You don't need a reason to justify why you support a club. The only thing you need to do, imho, is be loyal and never waver. No matter how bad things get. Once you pick a team, you NEVER stop. Its in your blood -- its part of your family.

    City till I die.

  • Comment number 97.

    As a lifelong fan of Norwich City, I can honestly say that I think it is great that Jake Humphrey has written this blog...for me and many others, the country should be proud of clubs like Norwich, where they fill the stadium more than any other club in the country week after week, despite some of the abject displays this year.

    Teams come and go, just as success and defeat do. What lasts are the memories of seeing Jerry Goss score 'that' volley against Bayern Munich (we beat them in the Olympic Stadium before any 'big' teams did), Leon McKenzie making the Man Utd defence look like mugs and whipping out his 6-pack in 2005, and all of the other brilliant moments. Jake was right - the contrast of tears and joy makes it more special, not less.

    I have no problem with fans of Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool, or Ipswich for that matter. It makes me sad that a worrying number of people would prefer to celebrate the size of your club's cheque book or your postcode, rather than an HONEST, DECENT, PASSIONATE club like Norwich.

    Relegation or not, we'll still pack out the stadium next year.

    OTBC

  • Comment number 98.

    Great post! I'm a fellow Norwich fan and I'm pretty pessimistic about or chances of escaping relegation on Sunday.

    Couldn't agree with you more about the loan players. They come and go, collect their wages, yet have no strong connection with the club or its fans. Some of our own players with a passion for the club, like Huckerby, are an absolute must, wherever we are playing next season.

    Let's hope it goes our way on Sunday (sorry Barnsley fan)! Really looking forward to the Spanish GP next weekend!

  • Comment number 99.

    Great blog Jake.

    As a Wolves fan, I think, out of all the teams who are fighting off relegation from the Championship this season, Norwich deserve to survive more than the others. I remember when you walloped us 5-2 at Carrow Road, we played poorly, but you were up in our faces and never giving us a moments rest.

    As for the 3-3 draw at Molineux, you showed such spirit to never give up. We battered you for most of the second half, but you guys were resilient and determined, and came away with a great Molineux point.

    Best of wishes for this Sunday, it'll be a nervy day at every Championship stadium apart from Molineux. Both us and Doncaster have nothing to play for.

    Good luck!

  • Comment number 100.

    Jake top man spot on. Can I just make one teeny weeny observation which I have found VERY useful - it's always nice to help fans of the "big" four understand things more clearly by explaining to them the difference between us (supporters) and them (fans).
    The point is that you can be a - shall we say - Britney Spears fan, but you can't be a Britney Spears supporter. Being a fan just mean that you like something, for whatever reason. The person or team you're a fan of doesn't NEED you, you just identify with them - it's a wistful kind of wish-fulfilment.
    Being a supporter is totally different. It's real. It matters. It's about identity. It isn't a matter of choice. It is deep. And ultimately, for the reasons you've expressed, it's fulfilling.
    Which would we rather be? Supporters or fans? I think we all know the answer to that...

 

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