Gary Gowers, My Football Writer - Norwich City
In mid-December, off the back of an underwhelming run of form, City headed down the A140 to re-engage with our nearest and dearest who, at that time, were ripping up the Championship and appeared destined for an automatic promotion spot.
Our unbeaten derby run of 14 years seemed certain to end. They knew it. We feared it. The bookies predicted it. But somehow, from somewhere, thanks mainly to a Jonny Rowe brace, we conjured up a 2-2 draw.
Yet, for all the reasons above, it felt like a win and was celebrated as such.
In that moment, it felt good. We had avoided the stuffing we feared most of all, had maintained the daft-but-still-fun 14-year run, and felt proud – not an emotion that’s been this season’s most prevalent.
We were roundly ridiculed for it but it was a collective involuntary act. Because football is about moments.
Unless you are Man City, Man Utd or Liverpool, trophies don’t come along often, so why wouldn’t you enjoy said moments? If you’re only allowed to celebrate the lifting of a trophy then it becomes a grim old existence for most.
And that’s why Messrs Carragher and Neville got it wrong when they ridiculed Arsenal for “over-celebrating” their fine win over Liverpool. The Gunners may not end up winning the title – they probably won’t – but if that win and that moment felt worth celebrating, which it clearly did, then why not?
And, for balance, that was also why it was perfectly fine for Ipswich players and fans to celebrate some of those early-season wins, which confirmed to them that their return to the Championship, following their League One sabbatical, was going to be a competitive one. No problem with that.
That’s also why it was also perfectly fine for a spiky young Spaniard to give it the big‘un at the weekend for winning – wait for it – a throw-in.
The spiky Spaniard in question was Borja Sainz - most recently seen curling a stunning right-foot winner into the corner of the Coventry net - but it was midway through the first half of Saturday’s game when he tangled with Cov’s Milan van Ewijk.
A proper battle ensued between two of the smallest players on the pitch and ended with Sainz’s sheer tenacity winning him a throw. And (cover your ears Jamie and Gary) he spontaneously celebrated with a fist pump – one that could just as easily have been saved for his winning goal.
(You can see the tussle here).
In its own way, it was perfect. And Carrow Road lapped it up.
So let’s ignore the Carraghers, the Nevilles, and their fellow killjoys. For most football supporters it is all about the moments, and if we are not allowed to celebrate them, what’s the point?