Today we have a change of author for you, with Drayton Green, a stalwart of the Vital Norwich Forum having his say on the proposed neutral grounds scenario that supposedly, the 20 Premier League teams will vote on tomorrow.
I’ve just finished listening to the Test Match Special commentary of day 3 of the second Ashes test at Edgbaston in 2005, in its entirety, which is a great listen for cricket fans.
My point however is that when nearing the end of the third day and England were needing just 3 wickets to win the match, there was an option for an extra 30 minutes play that day in an attempt to get those wickets and England took it. ( although they only got 1 ).
The commentators asked the question “why wouldn’t they take it as the crowd was revved up to maximum and that would be a major factor in continuing England’s pressure?”
The crowd do play a part and can push teams on.
I have also recently re-watched the full Norwich games on Youtube with great wins over Millwall and draws with Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.
Can anybody honestly tell me that Norwich City would have been spurred on to get those late goals and 5 points at a neutral stadium with zero fans present?
If you were at Carrow Road last September then you will, no doubt, vividly remember the game against Manchester City. Every tackle, every header, every pass was wildly cheered by the Canary faithful, while every misplaced pass by an opposition player was mocked and cheered too.
That atmosphere was spine tingling and there can be no question that it helped us beat the reigning Champions that day in, arguably, the upset of the season.
It isn’t just football, but all sports where the crowd play a part in the teams / players performance to obtain results.
We were supposed to play Burnley on Saturday. What if we needed to win to have a chance of staying up?
Normal scenario – A hot, late spring day and Carrow Road full, with virtually all of those present being home fans. A sea of green and yellow, flags, and flame projectors around the pitch, probably a few ex-players on the pitch before the game. A great atmosphere that turns our stadium into a bear pit for the opposition and their players. The fans roaring us on and our chances of that crucial win are massively improved.
Covid scenario – The most important game of the season at a neutral ground ( maybe closer
to Burnley than us ) without any supporters. No atmosphere, silence as the teams walk out, just a small ripple of applause from the two benches that can barely be picked up by the TV microphones. It totally changes our chances of winning. Perhaps Burnley are safe by now and are playing with zero pressure, without a Norwich crowd to roar them on it’s all very different from the away game at Turf Moor, where Burnley benefited from their own crowd support.
Norwich are the smallest team in the league with the smallest budget. In order for a club like ours to beat a team like Manchester City we need everything to be perfect. I’m echoing the words of Watford Chairman, Scott Duxbury here, but we need the players to be at 100%, none of them can afford an off-day, we need the preparation to be spot on, the tactics need to be on point and everybody needs to have had a good night’s sleep, we’ll probably need a little luck as well.
Even then, we need Pep’s boys to have an off-day because if they are as perfectly prepared as we are then they win. That is the reality of the situation. Sharks against minnows, how can the minnows possibly win?!
Home advantage plays a huge part in it. If the Premier League is such an “open league where anyone can beat anyone” then why doesn’t it happen more often? Watford beat Liverpool, ending the reds incredible unbeaten domestic run but that was on the back of a large number of games for the Champions elect, including Champions League trips abroad. It all takes it’s toll and Watford were at home. I watched that game and the crowd were very instrumental.
This just must not be allowed to happen.
Delia, Michael, Ben Kensell, Zoe Ward, Stuart Webber, come on, have a professional but emotional response to this suggestion and make it clear that the neutral ground option will be voted against.
Oh, and play some video clips like the Millwall and Forest games last season, what other proof do you need?!