Do Norwich City fans have a right to think we belong in the Premier League?
That is a question that a mate at work posed me yesterday.
He’s a life long City fan, as am I, and it got me thinking about where we currently are as a club and where we are headed in the future.
Last season was the first time in quite a few years that Norwich City weren’t fighting for something, either promotion or staving off relegation.
Last season was the very definition of mid-table mediocrity, with the Canaries only managing to get into sixth place for around one week in the course of the whole season.
A promotion challenge was never really on but neither was a relegation battle, although at certain times in the season, I thought we were looking at both.
So getting back to where we are as a club, where do we fit in, in the football pyramid?
In my mate’s opinion, we are about where we should be with the level of finance that our owner’s have and the size of the support we get from the local area.
He’s not being defeatist when he says that either. I happen to think he’s not far from the truth.
If you asked me why I support Norwich City, I’d tell you that first and foremost I love football. I’ve loved playing it all my life and I still do, even though a game of 5-a-side tends to take me three days to recover these days.
Norwich are the team from the City that I was born in and that’s why I am a Canary. I love home games at Carrow Road. The expectation of what will happen as I walk down Carrow Hill always gets me as I look at the approaching football stadium.
A stadium that I have enjoyed so many good times in and so many bad times too. It’s become a part of my life, my history and it’s part of my family’s too. We all have season tickets and we all feel the same way.
Before the arrival of the Premier League and all it’s money, Norwich City were a top-flight club for most of my memory. There was a little dip into the second division in 1985 but top flight football was generally part of Norfolk life as I grew up.
The arrival of the Premier League quickly saw Norwich City tumble into the second tier again, not before they almost won the inaugural Premier League season and then went on a European odyssey though, in the early nineties.
I noted that on Thursday, the Premier League have announced that from 2019/20 onwards the distribution of overseas money to clubs will no longer be equal. Basically, depending on where you finish will determine how much you get.
The top six, therefore, will earn a lot more than the bottom half of the league, meaning the financial advantage those clubs already have will increase.
That’s going to make it even harder to get into the Premier League and then to establish yourselves as a club moving up from the Championship. Money talks and where does that leave a club like Norwich?
The last couple of days worth of revelations surrounding Aston Villa have shown that throwing money at a football squad does not guarantee anything, other than perhaps a massive headache and probable administration.
There has been a swelling of support from certain quarters of our fan base towards Delia and Michael over the last day or so, with plenty of people on social media expressing their gratitude towards our owners.
I am in the camp that thinks a change of ownership is required now if the club is to really take a big step forward. I am though, very aware that Delia and Michael saved our football club when they bought it in the mid-nineties and I am grateful to them for that.
They will be the first to tell you that they have made mistakes over the years and most of that revolves around hiring the wrong people at the wrong time and holding on to managers for too long.
The reality of the Villa situation is grim but you can’t tar all foreign owners with the same brush as Dr Tony Xia. Blackpool are an example of a club whose British owner, Karl Oysten seemed to take a macabre pleasure in running the club into the ground.
Getting back to where Norwich are as a club now though, I fear that we are a mid-table Championship side and might be that for some time, perhaps until a change of ownership happens or until the new Academy production line starts turning out stars.
That doesn’t mean that next season I won’t start with the same optimism and excitement that I carry into every new season though. I am desperate for Daniel Farke’s way of playing to work and for Stuart Webber to give him the players to do the job.
In terms of having a right to be in the Premier League though, no club in the land has that and certainly not Norwich City. If our club is to ever get back to that land of milk and honey, there will need to be a lot of hard work done on and off the pitch.
I’ll be doing my bit by turning up every week as I have done for over thirty years and shouting myself hoarse. I suspect I won’t be alone.