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Home   /   Grabban’s goals, Derby day delight and Wembley jubilation: An honest review on CITY360

The first three minutes of episode one of CITY360 set the scene for a season with such high expectations for Norwich City under Neil Adams in the 2014-15 season.

The Canaries had just been relegated, were winless in six matches and hadn’t registered an away win since 2014. Almost straight away you’re greeted with a miserable Adams doing an interview after a 2-0 loss to Wolves and expressing how Norwich are instantly under pressure to go back up.

Throughout the documentary, his words do seem quite filtered, and the levels of authenticity aren’t quite there. The interviews have the same cliche responses we’re used to after games – so much so – they are actually used in this episode after recaps of their games rather than behind-the-scenes shots in the dressing room we’re used to seeing in more recent football documentaries.

Episode two is very similar in its layout. Context before a game is provided, players and the manager give their answers about the game, fans are shown celebrating the goals, rinse and repeat.

Again it feels somewhat hard to believe what the players are saying is genuine, as they yet again give cliche answers that you’d hear in a post-match interview, apart from Cameron Jerome.

Before their game against Charlton, he says: “For me, these are the games I hate you know.

“If we was in the Premier League we’d be doing exactly what Charlton would be doing, let’s be honest, you know what I mean?”

One part that annoyed me as a viewer was the lack of player comments on a tweet put out by Charlton saying “IT’S DAYLIGHT ROBBERY AT NORWICH! GET IN!” It almost seems pointless to me that it’s mentioned in the episode and the documentary doesn’t have the players talk about it.

Imagine the responses you’d get from them! It certainly wouldn’t be these blank and unoriginal ones you get for the whole episode.

But we do get the first taste of what happens outside of games. Russel Martin is recorded driving to the game and we get slight scenes of what a player goes through before a game.

But then it suddenly cuts off once he enters the ground. The tagline for this documentary is ‘every angle on the Norwich City season’ – talk about false advertising.

Episode three changes this, however. We see the Norwich squad board their plane to travel to Wigan for an upcoming fixture, and we are greeted by Martin Olsson giving one of the best quotes of the entire documentary.

He states: “It really doesn’t matter if we are away, we are here to do something we love, which for me it’s still a great feeling just going to the hotel and getting ready for the game”. From that quote, we get see the individual behind the footballer, and how they know how important the sport is to them and their teammates.

Then the arrival of Alex Neil comes – but despite it being such a significant event in the documentary and Norwich’s season, there is again so little originality in the comments provided, he only gives the typical comments of how he thinks Norwich is a big club and he knows how big his expectations are.

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We also get a beautiful scene involving Nathan Redmond.

We get to see him talking about the personal racist abuse he suffered online at a local school on behalf of the charity Kick It Out.

The fact that was included really pleased me, especially the scene of what he had to say to the pupils. For the first time in this documentary, you feel like you are seeing the human behind the footballer and not just hearing the same media-trained responses that have become so common in recent years.

To start episode four, we’re introduced to an East Anglian Derby, and Bradley Johnson provides arguably the quote of the whole documentary so far: “If you can’t motivate yourself for these games then you shouldn’t be playing football basically”. Talk about speaking your mind.

Straight after this, BBC Radio Norfolk commentator Chris Goreham gives a brief insight into how he covers the pre-match build-up. He even makes himself sound like a fan by discussing team form, the fixture list and Norwich going for four straight derby wins.

We also get Norwich’s technical director, Ricky Martin, discussing how important loan deals are for the development of players. We see Harry Toffolo (then on loan at Swindon Town) training for the England U20 team and Martin discusses how the Youth Premier League game with Tottenham which was hosted at Carrow Road was vital in helping his development and aiding his loan move.

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Episode Five provides the finale for the documentary. Before their game with Leeds, we get an interview of Russel Martin in his hotel room and he even jokes about Steven Whittaker “running his bath at a good temperature” and him joking with the cameraman.

Norwich end up being promoted through the playoffs, including a semi-final East Anglian Derby with Ipswich Town. This time there’s nowhere near as much content for the two legs, which is quite strange considering this is regarded as the biggest Derby game between the two bitter rivals.

The only real scene that encapsulates the feeling of joy is where Norwich fans invade the pitch after winning the second leg 3-1 at Carrow Road, confirming the final at Wembley with Middlesborough.

Norwich went on to win 2-0, getting promoted back to the Premier League just one season after being relegated.

As the documentary comes to a close, we see the Norwich dressing room in jubilation chanting “we are going up, say we are going up” and John Ruddy proclaiming his desire to stay in the Premier League.

Although this documentary covers the season well and some of the players’ emotions – we as viewers are given so little behind-the-scenes action that has become so common in comparison to more recent entries. Despite the lack of authenticity throughout the majority of episodes, this was a good watch and gave a decent insight into the expectations at Norwich, and how the players rose above challenges and kept battling to get straight back to the Premier League.

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