Celtic continue to win hearts and minds
Celtic fans 'huddling' at Carrow Road.

Celtic continue to win hearts and minds

They sang. They chanted. They danced. They conga' d. They huddled. They entertained...

John Girvan

Yesterday, the good people of Norwich witnessed the type of invasion that even the greatest generals throughout history could scarcely dream of as the green and white clad Celtic brigade came to visit their fair Norfolk city. And, for a single day at least, they entertained and astounded the locals with some of their famed, good natured and all inclusive brand of unique and joyous revelry.

By bus and train and car - and even a few by plane - the first of the Hoops fans started arriving in the city not long after dawn had broken on what was to be a beautifully warm and sunny day.  One last away-day 'hurrah' to bring the curtain down on a truly momentous season for club and support alike.

The reason they were there was not only to support their club but also to honour a Norwich City stalwart, Adam Drury, in his testimonial match.

I followed events on Twitter, and what had initially started out as numerous and frequent updates and pics from Celtic fans - documenting their own and their friends experiences of the day - suddenly started to be sporadically interspersed with updates and pics of the Celtic fans from the people of Norwich themselves.

Then, as  morning turned to afternoon, and afternoon into evening, the tweets and the pics and the praise of the Celtic throngs rapidly increased from the sporadic to a veritable crescendo. But, even that crescendo was to later pale almost into insignificance as Carrow Road and the Norwich City fans themselves got to sample their first sights and sounds of a Celtic support in full and unceasing voice and in full-on, celebratory party mode.

As a good natured and fairly competitive game was played out by both teams on the pitch - which the Canaries eventually won by a margin of two goals to nil - the real action and spectacle was to be found in the Carrow Road stands. And in particular the stands which housed the Celtic supporters.

They sang. They chanted. They danced. They conga' d. They huddled. They entertained.
They joined in when the Canary fans started a Mexican Wave. And they later cheered and applauded them when the Canaries started to do a huddle of their own.  

The Norwich fans lapped it up and soaked it all in as they took Celtic and their 'amazing' supporters into in their hearts and minds. And it was a mutual love-in which was fully reciprocated by the Celtic support in attendance and all those on Twitter, too.

The sheer number of personal testimonies from Canary fans on twitter - and 'astonished' and 'stunned' ranked high in their list of buzzwords - was both profoundly heartening and, dare I say it - pretty astonishing to behold.

It's probably wrong to single out just one tweet from the Canaries' fans, but this one from. Tom Shaw, perhaps encapsulates the essence of the night from a NCFC fans perspective:

          Tom Shaw @Tommy__Shaw

          Biggest and best support at Carrow Road in living memory.

Former Celt and current manager of Norwich City, Paul Lambert, said of the Celtic support:
 "You can see what a special set of fans they are"

Whilst the man of the evening, Adam Drury, added: "It's hard to put into words to be honest."
"Obviously I've heard what an atmosphere Celtic fans create, the gaffer had told me and the Scottish lads, but until you actually see it... from start to finish they are non-stop."

I mean, who in their right minds would deliberately go out of their way to make enemies and cause trouble rather than make new friends? Only those with a predetermined "No one likes us, we don't care" attitude and belief system. That's who!

The Norwich City fans must also be congratulated for their own kindness and generosity of spirit. They too are a great credit to their club. We must cherish and encourage the clubs who are blessed with good supporters because they are in increasingly short supply in the modern game.

What happened last night at Carrow Road is what sport in general, and football - as the peoples game - in particular, is supposed to be all about. It was also good for the soul.

Assistant Chief Constable of the Norfolk Constabulary , Sarah Hamlin,  was in full agreement, saying:

“The Celtic fans at tonight’s testimonial fixture, for Adam Drury, were a credit to their club. Their excellent behaviour greatly added to the event, making it a fantastic occasion for all those involved, and in attendance.”

As the late and much loved former Celtic player and manager, Tommy Burns, once famously said of his beloved Celtic support:

"That's what's so special about them." "They're there and they're always there. And god bless every one of them."

Well, Tommy. They are still doing you and the club proud,