‘I’ve accepted we’re a midtable team’ was one strong line from a Norwich City supporter following the conclusion of the stalemate between Norwich City and Preston North End.
Is this the reality for Norwich supporters? Is a team who was two years ago competing in the Premier League now mid table fodder and if so, what impact is this having on the atmosphere at Carrow Road?
The main problem is the shift of expectation amongst supporters. The atmosphere was so brilliant under Paul Lambert due to the fact it was Norwich City versus the world. They reached the top, playing excellent football and maintaining that ‘underdog’ tag. Consolidation in the Premier League followed but then the subsequent relegation led to an expectancy that Norwich should beat teams at home in this division.
That attitude creates a passive crowd, one which is reactive.
From playing Manchester United to Burton, it’s a stark contrast and one which is hard to adjust to as a supporter. The simple fact is banners and singing sections are great, but they won’t shift the mentality of expectation. As a supporter, the aforementioned example is a game which sparks complacency, Norwich are expected to perform.
Norwich are expected to win at home. That’s a fact, under Lambert, this was a team playing out of their skin, they were relatable and played for the supporters. As human beings, we adhere ourselves to an underdog. Look at Huddersfield at present, the world against them and adversity in their face, the atmosphere at the John Smith Stadium is electrifying.
It’s going to have to be a long-term solution. The fact of ‘if they play well, we’ll sing’, just epitomises the issue of complacency and I’m not saying that expectation shouldn’t be there, but it must be dropped or lowered for atmosphere to improve.
Whilst banners and flags enhance the aesthetic of Carrow Road, and in the long term, the atmosphere, a short-term fix must be reached. That begins with you, the individual supporter. In times of adversity and mistakes, those in yellow and green need us most.
The obvious next step is the introduction of safe standing.
Patently, that remains an aspirational target for English football as a culture, but we only need to cast our eyes overseas to Germany were this system is deployed regularly. There is seemingly no disputing the disappointing ambience inside Carrow Road, something must be done, and its important fan groups communicate and work with the club to achieve a better atmosphere in NR1.
We are stronger, together. Carrow Road has the potential to be a tough place for opponents to come. But that must be obtained through togetherness and belief, this is a side who are so unconfident and in a desperate patch of form.
Let’s pull them through.
Everyone at Talk Norwich City would like to offer our deepest condolences to our friend Simon Thomas, who sadly lost his wife yesterday evening. Our thoughts are with Simon, Ethan and their family at this harrowing and upsetting time.