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Rudolph Hucker

The Home Game Liability

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It''s home matches which have cost Norwich dear this season; the away form is spectacular, the home form ranges from poor to misleadingly outstanding yet it is generally the same crowd.

This is the crowd which was expectant early season but which turned on Neil Adams very early; especially given the latitude it game to Hughton.

This is the crowd which arrogantly lapped up the big wins and yet got the mood against Ipswich just right.

This is the crowd which welcomed Alex Neil from the off but which turned against established players to the point of confrontation.

The atmosphere vs Wigan was strange. The earliest oddity for me was when Ken Brown and Mark Barham brought out the Milk Cup to muted applause. I wondered how many of the people in the ground knew who they were, especially Ken, who was a wonderful servant to the Club and a lovely football man.

The tag was not just winning the cup but beating 1p5wich in the semis and hard on the heels of Sunday''s game I''m sure the Club expected celebration but it seemed to fall flat.

As soon as the game kicked off it was quiet, not helped by a scrappy start.

Perhaps some of the players had a hangover but some hadn''t played on Sunday and it looked like more a case of players out of form, or touch or position.

But above all else the crowd had no edge; no anticipation of the importance of the event. They seemed hungover still from Sunday and without better football to lift them they remained flat and the football remained flat.

And it started before kick off.

During the game, and he heard it, fans were slagging off Bassong who IMHO was having a good game?!

It''s time to move on of course and it s a shame we weren''t away on Wednesday but it seems games away from home suit us more than games at home.

It is a dilemma how to sort home situations. Perhaps the fact it is Derby will focus fans at the next game but home support has been an issue all season from the booing to the confronting to the expectation.

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The Norwich crowd has always been quite "stoic"- it is a strength when we have harder times like Lge 1 when we still got good attendances since our fans are not as fickle as those of may other clubs. But it also means that it is less excitable generally except in the games with an edge. In the near 40 years or so I have been going to CR it has always been like that- less volatile more steady, taking a little bit more to get the crowd going but likewise taking a bit more to turn them away. I think its very hard to have the best of both worlds.

Now one thought I had will get me slaughtered from some I expect. And that is to reduce the number of season tickets. When I had a season ticket I and my friends had our little routine, we''d trudge to the game after a pint or two, a little summary after the match while queuing to get out and then home on the bus. It was a routine, we did it every other Saturday. But the effect was probably that we weren''t always going with the same level of fevered anticipation- we often went because we just went and that was it. We enjoyed going, obviously, but it was an expectation, a normality.

Now I no longer have a season ticket as I moved far away from Norwich and my visits now are irregular, around 5 or 6 times is the most I can do now. But when I do go I look forward to it as soon as I have my tickets confirmed. I leave my house early for the long drive really excited about going again. I meet some of the same old crew, some also now living away, and we relive past memories. the game goes by far too quickly, 90 minutes seems like 10, and then we part, heading off in our different directions, not sure when the next one will be.

So I pose this as a question- if you had fewer season tickets, would it mean that those who go would be more excited because it is a special occasion rather than just a routine, and therefore add to the atmosphere, or would it mean just more glory hunters turning up only when were winning?

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