Long-term and the Huckerbys will be part of the furniture. Short-term? Anyone's guess…Tue 22 Apr 08 by Latest News
Canary favourite Darren Huckerby this afternoon again confirmed that he saw his family's long-term future as lying in Norfolk – even if his short-term whereabouts next season remained more of a mystery.
Out of a contract this summer, Huckerby suggested on Saturday that this weekend's monster home clash with Queen's Park Rangers looked like being his last ever game at Carrow Road.
Three days later and that position remained unchanged – albeit this time with the proviso that there was still ample time to talk as and when this sorry season was finally put out of its many miseries.
For now the heavy air of uncertainty surrounding the two-time Canary Player of the Year was something he could live with – even if Mrs H would quite like to know where the boys were going to school next August.
“I'm not really bothered either way,” said Huckerby, quizzed as to whether he would like his contract position resolved either way before Saturday. The reality is, of course, that for as long as Norwich's own league position remains in the balance, Canary chief Glenn Roeder has put all contract talks on hold.
It is not an unreasonable position to hold given that the Norfolk club could yet be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Colchester United and Scunthorpe United again next season. But it doesn't deliver any sense of certainty be it for Huckerby, Gary Doherty or Mark Fotheringham – or, indeed, their respective partners.
“I know the wife's not too happy, to be truthful with you. She would like to know either way, but it's not a big problem to me,” said the Canary favourite, who celebrates his 32nd birthday tomorrow. Today it was Dion Dublin's turn to celebrate – Norwich's Player of the Season elect was 39 today. He definitely bows out on Saturday; a Sky Sports sofa awaits.
For now, Huckerby remained firmly in the dark over his future. “You know what I'm like – I'll tell you if I knew,” said Huckerby, always one to wear his feelings on his sleeve – particularly when it came to a club that he has clearly come to love.
“But I'm not worried either way. If it was my last game then it would have been nice so that I could say 'Bye-bye!' to the fans. And it is a big time for my wife and kids – they don't know what's going on.
“But it's not a big problem – let's just get the games out of the way and let's see what happens.”
If it were to be the final curtain, it would, he readily admitted, be an emotional occasion. “I've been here for five years and I've got a lot of friends, all my team-mates, the kids…
“But it would be nice to finish off by making sure that we're still in this league and then we'll worry about the rest of it after.”
Long-term, he isn't going far. Short-term and Huckerby has been dogged by stories linking him with an Indian summer in the United States – following a path to the MLS beaten by a certain D Beckham and, closer to home, his old Carrow Road team-mate, Carl Robinson.
“Hopefully, we're going to live here and be watching as many games as I can when I do finish playing and, hopefully, I can be involved with the club in some shape or form.”
There was, he said, still life in the old dog yet. He wouldn't, however, be following Dublin's lead and playing beyond his 39th birthday.
“I think I will be playing somewhere – I'm only 32 tomorrow, so it's not like I'm finished just yet.”
Long-term, back in Norfolk? “Yes, definitely. I don't see myself playing for more than one or two seasons. So after that, it'll be feet up and watching Adam..!”
Huckerby was speaking at the Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston today – where he joined said team-mate Adam Drury and Stephanie Moore, the widow of England World Cup skipper Bobby, in promoting awareness of cancer within a sporting setting.
The Bobby Moore Fund is the chosen charity of the school's head teacher, Steve Carter, who retires at the end of this term after ten years as head of the school. City physio Neal Reynolds and sports science chief Dave Carolan were also on hand to promote health, diet and general well-being amongst the Harleston youngsters.
It was all a welcome – and worthy – distraction from this Saturday's home clash with QPR. One contest upon which so many fates and fortunes hang.
“It's probably the most important week since I've been here,” said Huckerby. “I suppose when we won the league that was pretty important as well, but this is a big week.”
Winning the league at least gave the Canaries a year with their noses firmly in the Premiership trough; and two years of parachute payment money to boot on the back of that fateful afternoon on the bank of the Thames.
League One offers no such financial cushion. “If we end up getting relegated, I think the club will be in deep trouble,” said the Canary star. “So in that perspective, it's very important.”
Time for everyone to gird their loins both mentally and physically and simply get the job done. Survival remains firmly in Norwich's own hands.
“We know what we've got to do,” said Huckerby. “It's down to us. We're not relying on other teams at the minute, so we've still got an aim – and our aim is to win the game on Saturday.”
Can the players get too wound up? Too caught up in the headlights of a full-blown relegation fight. “I honestly won't be approaching it any differently to any other game,” he said.
“It's a big game, but we've played a lot of big games over the years. It's a big day for Dion, it's a big day for myself and it's also a big day for the rest of the players, so we'll be ready…”