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Norwich Live to Die Another Day – by Rob Atkinson

Recovery is unlikely

Recovery is unlikely

So, it didn’t quite happen yesterday. The outcome so many Leeds United fans have been craving, after so many annoyingly chirpy Canaries have taken so much mick over the past few seasons, failed – for the moment – to transpire.

Norwich City, though, remain doomed to the drop, and our two clubs will meet again in the Championship next season. All that remains to be confirmed is the arithmetic of it. Norwich produced a fine, stubborn defensive display at Stamford Bridge to deny Chelsea and achieve a stalemate which is of little use to either side.

Norwich showed almost no attacking ambition at all – curiously slapdash going forward for a team desperately in need of the full three points. Their hard-won but ultimately pointless point will serve only to delay the death notices. For make no mistake – this Premier League Canary is no more. It has ceased to be. This is an ex-Premier League Canary.

Norwich now find themselves in the hopeless position of wishing and trusting that Sunderland will gain not one single point more in their remaining two fixtures. This, let us not forget, is a reinvigorated Mackem force, inspired of late by former Leeds “winger” Connor Wickham – a player that Sunderland inexplicably insist on deploying in his natural position. Go figure.

Sunderland play West Brom in midweek, and a draw would put both clubs beyond poor Norwich City’s reach. I wonder if that might be just what happens? Only a West Brom win would gain the doomed Canaries a further mathematical reprieve – and even then they’d have to beat Arsenal and hope that Sunderland lose again on the final day. It’s an unlikely set of circumstances and, basically, it ain’t gonna happen.

So we Leeds fans will eventually get our vindictive wish – just not today. But we will see Norwich dragged down again, within our vengeful reach, after three years of cockiness from these Johnny-come-lately types from the back of beyond. Three years of transfer plunder, seemingly in an effort to prove that the midfield which hauled Leeds out of the third tier could actually prosper at the highest level. Would they, could they?? Erm, no – it would seem not.

The Norwich fans must expect little sympathy from their counterparts at Elland Road. They have lived by the sword of banter, snickering unmercifully at their club’s transfer depredations, growing happier and more unbearably bumptious bumpkins with each successive raid on LS11. Now they must be prepared to die by that same Schadenfreude sword, as their delusions of belonging in the Premier League come crashing down around their ears. It’s sweet – I have to admit it.

See you next season, Norwich. It’ll be a tasty atmosphere at Elland Road, I imagine. I wonder if any of our former heroes will remain in the Canaries shirt as you venture back to Leeds? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it’ll be a pleasure to meet, greet and – hopefully – beat you.

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