Opinion: 'It’s the not knowing, isn’t it?'

Fan’s voice

Gary Gowers, My Football Writer - Norwich City

First, there was that odd feeling of departing Carrow Road after the final home game of the regular season not knowing if you were bidding those around you farewell for the summer or just a couple of weeks.

Then Hull and Ipswich went and did the honourable thing, which was to conjure up a draw, and it felt (at the time) as if City were in one of those healthy, 'barring-a-miracle' type positions.

Alas, that feeling was short-lived. We support Norwich City, who have an unhealthy and uncanny knack for doing Norwich City things.

Those who were at Craven Cottage on 15 May 2005 will know what I mean. So too those who watched the disaster unfold live on Sky Sports (and listened on BBC Radio Norfolk, of course). If you dare transport yourself back to that day, the pain still gnaws away.

For those young enough and lucky enough to have been spared the excruciating pain of that west London afternoon, City played Fulham away on the final day of that Premier League season knowing a win, any win, would be enough for survival.

But not only did they lose. They lost 6-0.

So forgive me for coming over all clammy upon learning that Sky Sports have selected Birmingham City v Norwich City as one of their live games this Saturday.


Back in the real world, the worst shouldn’t happen. City need to lose at Birmingham while Hull need to win at Plymouth and there needs to be a collective eight-goal swing in the Tigers' favour.

Impossible, right?

Except there are a few reasons why it isn’t.

First of all, let’s not forget that it was only 31 short weeks ago that this same group of City players went to Plymouth – current occupants of 21st place – and got thumped 6-2.

Nor must we forget that on the final day of the 2019-20 season, Nottingham Forest, who were in a similar position to City, blew a three point and five-goal cushion when beaten 4-1 at home by Stoke. As a result, Swansea, who won at Reading by the same scoreline, pipped them to the final play-off spot.

And then there was poor Northampton Town who went into the final day of the 2021-22 League Two season level on points with Bristol Rovers but with a five-goal superior goal difference as they battled for the final automatic promotion spot.

Despite winning 3-1 at Barrow, the Cobblers still missed out as The Gas crushed Scunthorpe 7-0 in the most bizarre circumstances. Unsurprisingly, Northampton proceeded to lose both of their play-off semis.

So let’s not get too complacent and think this is virtually a done deal. Hopefully, we emerge unscathed, but don’t be surprised if the two hours between 12:30 and 14:30 on Saturday are the most chaotic and nerve-shredding of the season.

Strap in. It could yet get bumpy.

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