I often talk about the importance of hobbies, the impact they have on our lives, our well-being, our #LIFEworkbalance, so I thought I would write a blog about one of mine, one of my big loves and passions… football, but in particular Norwich City FC.

Sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon, listening to the game, I wanted to share my thoughts about what I believe football really means, because for me it is more than just the football, let me explain.

I initially wrote this and offered it to a local fan’s groups before the start of the new season.  A lot has happened since then, however the message is still the same and if you support a different team, just change the name and I am sure for you it will still ring true.

We now find ourselves a few months into the season, having put last season behind us, the mighty yellows are flying high and we are adapting to football in its current form… which is slowly becoming strangely familiar…

Us football fans all have something in common, we all love seeing our team win, enjoying the fun filled seasons and treasured moments that success brings, that over whelming sense of joy when things are going well.  We also love moaning about the games and seasons which don’t go quite so well… carefully dissecting game by game the reasons we believe things are not quite going our way, the changes we would make if we were the manager.

But for me supporting Norwich City FC has always been far more than those 90 minutes each week on the pitch and I think Covid-19 has highlighted this for many of us.

For me supporting Norwich is about being part of a community, it has been the only constant thing in my life since the early 90’s.  Being a Norwich fan for me, is about being part of a wider, bigger yellow and green football family.  We have good times, we have bad times, we celebrate and commiserate together, but we stick together no matter what.  We share common hopes and dreams of what the future may hold, of what could be and sometimes, just sometimes, those dreams come true.

Football to me, is the meeting up every few weeks, seeing friends, the togetherness, the shared experiences.  The memories created over years of pain, hurt and joy, the long journeys to away games and on many occasions, what feels like the even longer journeys home.  Those journeys create special memories, shared rituals, landmarks, games to pass the time, sharing music, jokes, stories… but most of all they create connection, a special bond.

It is meeting someone new, finding out they are a football fan and feeling that instant bond, that common ground, even better if they are a fellow canary!  Football breaks down barriers and connects generations, it gives us a common language.  Football teaches us love, commitment, resilience, forgiveness and joy.  It teaches us that everything is temporary, the highs and the lows, it teaches us that connection is important and that regardless of who we are and where we come from, that we have more in common than that which divides us, it teaches us that together we are stronger!

I‘ve partly built my business over a joint love of the beautiful game, creating long lasting business relationships which have turned into friendships, because the trust comes quicker when you have common ground and a shared passion, we understand the emotional rollercoaster of really supporting your team.  When I travel, football is a great conversation starter, a way to connect with people from all around the world, I often receive messages from people I’ve met on my travels, just because they see or hear something about Norwich City FC and it reminds them of me!

Football is something we look forward to each week, a common focus, a reason to stay in touch, a reason to reconnect.  Feeling a part of a wider community is important for us as human beings, to feel that real connection, to feel like we belong.

Whether we are at home listening to Rob and Chris on BBC Radio Norfolk or watching on TV, whether we are at the home of football in our favourite seat, our own little piece of Carrow Road, or we are squashed into a random away stand, we feel connected, we feel united, we feel a part of something bigger.

So while we are stuck in this current situation of, being together but apart, let’s make sure we stay connected, we find a way to remember the good times, to do the things which make football the special game it is.

I cannot wait for the day when we are finally allowed back into the stands and I don’t think I will be the only one with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye when I hear those famous words ring out once more… ‘Kick it off…’

So for these reasons, whether we win or lose, regardless what league we play in, for me football is more than just football.

Until next time,