‘Carrow Road is bigger than you think.’
That`s the first thing Grant Holt told us, lucky supporters, as we where approaching the football ground at Carrow Road for the first ever Canary Legend Eleven. Thirty of us where fortunate enough to play alongside Grant, Adam Drury, Dean Ashton and a few other local legends in a charity match last week for ninety minutes.
Holty was trying to tell us not to underestimate Carrow Road`s size. It is true, the pitch seems smaller than average from above, but it is really much bigger than you might think, especially for non-professional footballers. I indeed felt slower than a fifty-year old Charlie Adam during the whole second half.
Well, actually Carrow Road is average size. Stretching to 114 by 74 yards, it is not the largest nor the smallest in the football league. Nevertheless, Carrow Road is bigger than you think. Norwich City is.
Where else would you be able, as a supporter, to share the pitch, and for a worthy reason, alongside one of the best number nines England has produced since Alan Shearer? Yes, it might not be for free, but the end product has far more value to a supporter.
Obviously this is not only the club`s well doing, but former Norwich City players seem to have a certain essence that is no longer common these days in professional football. Honest, good-natured and humble, albeit winners. Hard to find.
Every day that passes by, I`m far more convinced that Norwich City has taken the right steps into becoming the football club it is. High spending is not always the solution, just ask the rich that drag their capes in the championship graveyard. Foreign owners have the potential to absolutely ruin a football club.
Norwich City should take pride in doing things in a sustainable and clever way. How thrilling it is as a club to perhaps discover the next David Beckham, or the next Grant Holt, before becoming those names. It`s true, the club should be in the Premier League, but even if they are not, they are still a Premier League club.
I backed Alex Neil until the end of his tenure. I still think he is a good manager and a clever man, and he will definitely get another shot at managing in England, that`s for sure. Nevertheless, I do not agree with some of the things I have heard about his vision of a successful football club. I know it might be out of context, but I don`t think it is a bad thing to be nice people in a competitive environment, or that supporters should be aggressive to express passion. I truly think it just makes achievements a bit more worthwhile if you do them with a grin.
Don`t get me wrong on this one, I`m not strictly stating that Norwich City evokes a sort of Brazil of England in regards to happiness, but the club has an identity, and should be proud of it. Either sitting or standing.
You might agree or not, though. In the end it`s a competitive sport, and winning matters.
After the Legend Eleven match I had a brief chat with Tom Smith. Before we spoke, I wasn`t too sure what to make of him, being Delia`s nephew makes it too easy to think that this is just a matter of keeping things in the family.
There is not much fact that you extract out of a five-minute conversation, but I believe it is enough time to make a quick scan and try to understand a man`s quintessence. He seems to have a deep and honest care for the club, and understands the mistakes that have been made in recent times. After all, he has also been a supporter throughout his life.
I personally feel he can`t be far from the dynamic forces behind some of the bold changes we have seen lately, and his is a refreshing face that seems interested in the symbiotic relationship between owners and supporters.
It is not easy to run a football club theses days, and most clubs would run on a loss without TV money. In fact, times could become harsh if we stay another year or two in the championship.
But, as long as the club keeps true to their chain of value, things will get on the right track rather sooner than later. I personally think there is enough in the think tank of the club at the moment – such a driving force Stuart Webber has been, that I can say this without even having a head coach in place – to propel the club where it belongs.
Oh, and by the way Holty`s team beat Drury`s team 6-5. Holty scored 3, and notched the match winner in stoppage time. Classic.