My oh my, what a weird pie
As an ex-resident of Norwich in the long gone 80s a return to such a fine city has proved to be something of an annual nostalgia trip over the past few years.
This season was no different and a premature arrival in the city permitted a stroll round some forgotten haunts such as The Mustard Shop where, bizarrely, a foreign visitor was explaining to an assistant that he was from The Canaries looking for something spicy. Inevitably, thoughts turned to Wayne Biggins and it was interesting to note a feature on the former Burnley, Norwich, Celtic, Barnsley (etc. etc ) frontman in City's excellent programme.
Walking down Prince of Wales Road I popped into the Premier Inn or, as it used to be known to locals, the Hotel Nelson, and supped the first outdoor pint of the year in what were proving to be balmy conditions.
Things quickly turned from balmy to barmy when, on arrival at the ground, the pie of the day was announced as being ' spinach and mozzarella'. This odd combination of pie bed-fellows appeared to bemuse most Clarets who, in the absence of any Baxenden based pastry products, opted for the ' meat ' selection of the day - aka Steak and Kidney - whilst watching Chelsea narrowly beat the Wrong Clarets at Villa Park.
Taking up seats toward the front of the reasonably sized away following had the added benefit of obscuring some of the City fans who, as usual, appeared to wake up only for the predictable rendition of On The Ball City before returning to their slumber immediately afterwards. However, the pay-off to that was that the seats appeared to have been positioned over the waste outlet downstairs and the malodorous stench became steadily worse as the game progressed.
Which is certainly saying something. Others have and will cover the game in greater detail but truly was the first half one to forget. Incredibly it featured two goals with Norwich taking the lead through the well-travelled Jamie Cureton before a Steve Tommo strike restored parity before the break.
Most of the second half passed by in a blur with only three points - if only - worthy of mention. Firstly, the referee, who was certainly a Friend by name but not by nature, appeared to blow his whistle every time a Burnley player went near a Canary. When, finally, he did give us a free-kick in a dangerous position he recalled play to the half-way line for a previous incident and earned himself a stern rebuke in the process from Mr Coyle.
By then the little lad in front of me - excitable at the best of times - was overcome with rage and launched himself with Fawltyesque aplomb into a tirade of 10 year old's abuse directed at his seat, the linesman and long-suffering granddad. Things had taken a turn for the worse when City had brought on Ryan Bertrand. Clearly no philosopher, the littl'un turned to me, an ex philosophy student, and said ' what a funny name '. ' Not sure' I replied , 'I think Ryan's quite a good name for a footballer.' He didn't speak to me again after that and he was last seen, somewhat ruddy-faced, being given his own talking to by his Grandpa.
Finally, after Burnley's only real spell of pressure very late on Chris Eagles should really have nicked the points for Burnley when, with minutes remaining, his shot ballooned over the bar.
Had it gone in it would have been unfair on City and, while neither side really deserved to win, the bonus for this Claret is that Carrow Road should, with a bit of luck, still be on the menu next season.
Hopefully, by then they'll have some decent pies on.