Here we are then, crunch time.
It’s that time when the real business of competitive football starts again and this season, Norwich City have been chosen for the opening game of the Premier League against an opponent as big as it’s possible to get, Liverpool.
Anfield is a stadium for a football club that is steeped in history, even more than our old mates down the A140, I know, impossible to believe, right?!
Anyway, we start off by taking on the reigning Champions of Europe in their own backyard, live on Sky Sports too.
As footballing assignments go, this is as tough as it gets but strangely, I’m not struck by abject fear at the prospect of it, like I might have been four or five years ago.
If I stop and think about it for too long, I do start to think about the likes of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and how our defence might cope with them but we have Emi Buendi, Onel Hernandez and Teemu Pukki, we can give them problems too, can’t we?
We’ll have to wait and see, of course, but one thing we have got is unity, both on the pitch and off it and I can’t remember a time when we’ve all been this unified.
Fans, the club and players, we’re all optimistic and we’re all thinking we can give a good account of ourselves.
There are going to be times in this season when we will struggle, when we aren’t winning games and that is when it’s crucial that we don’t fold and start moaning, particularly at Carrow Road because away from home that is much less likely to happen.
The Canary nation will need to adopt an away fan type of mentality and stick with it throughout the good times and the bad times both home and away. Previously, we’ve all read and heard players talk about the effect that the crowd can have on them and that’s why booing is not going to help.
I know we all pay our money and we can boo if we want to but when you put this season into context then you have to accept that City will be up against it much more often than not.
In his pre-Liverpool presser, Daniel Farke described winning the Championship as being like climbing Everest and that mounting a Premier League challenge is like having to climb Everest again but this time without tools.
He also said that City will stick to their principles even when it’s not going well and that he will try to win every game, he’s urging his players to be brave and I’m behind him and them, every step of the way.
I got into a conversation at work yesterday with two colleagues about the new season. One is a Manchester United fan and the other is a Manchester City fan.
The City fan was teasing the United fan about buying a new full-back for £60m and that United hadn’t spent enough and because of that they were going to struggle – again.
Whilst this was going on, with the United fan pointing out that they’d spent about £130m, I chipped in with the fact that the other City, the one with a Canary on their badge, had only spent £750k on permanent transfers for the first team squad this summer.
They both stopped and looked at me like I was a Martian, until finally, the City fan said “Bless him, he thinks that they’ll stay up by not spending any money.”
I responded with ”I am here to show you a new way of doing things.”
They both laughed at me, a lot, but I think that we will show them because they and by that I mean everyone who is either a pundit, a reporter, or a fan of a Premier League team that hasn’t seen much of Norwich City lately, is going to be in for a surprise.
They haven’t got a clue about the good players that we have in our squad. They have never seen the likes of Emi Buendia and they again laughed when I tried to tell them about him. It wasn’t until I showed them the clip of Emi running past and around the whole Stoke team at the Britannia Stadium last season that they were a bit more interested.
We are doing things a different way and these followers of clubs like United, Liverpool and Man City are going to, hopefully, get a bit of a shock. Maybe I’m overselling this, I may well be, but I’m optimistic and I’m quietly confident that we’re not going to do a Derby or a Huddersfield.
I’m not saying that we’ll win at Anfield but it’s the start of the season, the opening game. Which team will be up for it the most? We all start on zero points and we’re all level, at least for now.
Because as we know, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. That mantra is written on the wall of the new gym at Colney, by the way. That’s where we’re at and we need to stick with our boys, sticking with them through thick and thin and there may be some thin, people.
So get your flags out, your scarves, wear your colours and sing your hearts out at Carrow Road. The away following don’t need telling.
Your football club needs you!