by Alex Levy
All Norwich fans must be happy with the important point we took from Wigan at the weekend. However, there is a growing sense of anger about the perceived unjust media coverage we are getting. Instead of talking about the football; Twitter, Facebook and message boards up and down the country were awash with moaning and in some cases anger about the “terrible coverage” we are receiving.
I think we need to realise that we are no longer a big fish, hell, we aren’t even a small fish anymore. Our rapid ascent from League 1 where we were top dog along with Leeds was great for the club and we could pour scorn and look down upon (if you really wanted to) clubs like Stockport and Gillingham. Then in the Championship, we were a reasonably sized club, but really apart from our high attendances and reasonably impressive history, we weren’t all that important. Now we are in the Premier League, we are up against an entire global audience who could not give two solitary shits about us. Or even know who we are to start with.
We are going to be patronised, we are going to be ignored and we are going to receive some unfavourable coverage. Quite why some of our fans think that we should suddenly be raved about and analysed to death like Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and the like is beyond me. Yes, we know that we have done something extraordinary in our back to back promotions, but this barely even registers with the wider footballing world.
Let’s take BBC’s Match of the Day as an example. People were surprised by how low down we were in the running order. Take your Norwich hat off for just one minute and think about how boring “Wigan vs Norwich” sounds. Then you look at the actual game and whilst it was dreadfully exciting for us Norwich fans, it can’t have been a great game to watch. A couple of incidents here and there, but otherwise not much to write home about. Then I have seen the apocalyptic anger spouted at Hansen, Shearer and Linekar. Match of the Day ceased to be a programme for intelligent football fans years ago. Hansen is now a cliché ridden shell of the pundit he used to be, whilst Shearer is, and always has been, a dribbling idiot. Why should we get such special analysis? If you really take a look at what “analysis” they actually do hand out for even a Manchester United or Liverpool, it is bloody awful.
I know I’m going on here, but I actually saw complaints about how long we featured in the opening credits for MoTD. WHO GIVES A SHIT? Why does it matter? I honestly cannot see why it can matter to anyone whether we get 2 seconds in the opening title sequence or 20. We do not suddenly have a divine right to be taken seriously or looked at in greater detail than everyone else. I, too, would love to see a whole channel devoted to the Canaries and pundits and journalists writing and talking about is in a glowing manner, but it ain’t gonna happen.
One last thing while I’m here, but the rage spouted at Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday just for saying that “we might get relegated based on that performance” is just bizarre. We may very well get relegated this season – fans need to take this seriously. I’ve heard and read a lot of “oh, we’ll be fine”, but you know what? We might not be. We were ripped apart at times by Victor Moses who isWigan’s only tricky player, but nothing compared to the Nani’s, Young’s and Downing’s of this world. Some teams have 2 or 3 of their own Victor Moses’, but a lot better. All Mr Merson had to base his opinion on was that 1 game he had just watched, so I can see why he said it.
All I ask is that we just be realistic about the kind of coverage we will receive and the sort of critisicm and/or praise we’ll get this season. Unless we start beating Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea on our way to a Champion’s League place we will still be “little old Norwich”.
Holtamania: I’d add to this, the vast majority of print journalists and podcasts. After listening/reading/watching the guff the nationals produce about big teams, I’ve no desire for Norwich to be given equivalent treatment. A season under the radar is a good season to me.