Norwich City will roll back the years next summer when Carrow Road celebrates the 25th anniversary of the club’s glorious UEFA Cup run with a charity match against ‘Inter Forever’.
“At the moment it’s three v three – but we’re looking to add more players as we go,” laughed City hero Bryan Gunn, who returned to Norfolk yesterday to help launch the event in aid of the club’s Community Sports Foundation.
Fellow Canary legends Adam Drury and Darren Huckerby have already signed up to play as Gunn begins to trawl the four corners of the globe in the hope of re-uniting the Class of 93.
Inter have already promised to field keeper Fransesco Toldo, Argentinian international Javier Zanetti and Italian World Cup hero Nicola Berti.
“We’ve played a few local community games as Canary Legends, but never one of this ilk,” said Gunn, with the Inter Forever team enjoying regular fixtures on the European charity match circuit.
Certainly it keeps his opposite number Toldo in shape – as the ex-Canary boss noted.
“Yes – he’s tall, slim and immaculately dressed as Italian men tend to be,” Gunn joked, well aware that he might have a little work to do before returning to grace the Carrow Road turf again next summer.
“I’ve actually got my 54th birthday coming up in December, so I’ll make a pact with you all now – from January 1 I’ll be on a diet to make sure I look as good as Mr Toldo.”
The Italians are keen to make it a proper contest which is why the Canary Legends squad has been extended to include not just those that competed in the San Siro, but also Hall of Fame members, those that have made 100-plus appearances for the club, past players of the year and full internationals.
Which is why the City ‘Dream Team’ could yet find the likes of Iwan Roberts partnering Grant Holt up front – though Norfolk-based Chris Sutton is reported to be keen to play.
Rather further afield lies Ian Crook and Spencer Prior – both now earning their footballing living Down Under.
Rob Newman, Jeremy Goss and Darren Eadie are all still local; Gunn will be working his contacts book hard over the forthcoming months as the club looks to celebrate its historic UEFA Cup run in style.
“Its going to be a great game – and it’s just great that we’re going to be raising funds for the Community Sports Foundation at the same time.”
Jackie Thornton from the CSF was on hand to update everyone on their plans for ‘The Nest’ – the state of the art community sports facility being built on the former Anglian Windows sports ground just beyond Norwich Airport.
Phase One – a £1.1 million project to renovate the pitches and refurbish the dressing room faciltities – is well under way. Phase Two, Thornton promised, would be more ambitious and costly. But would create an “iconic” set-up for generations to come.
“It will be a nurturing place where people can learn, develop and grow,” she said. “But this is going to be fantastic event to not only help us raise funds, but also to celebrate the history of the football club.”
The significance of that cup run has not been lost on later generations of City players – Drury included.
“As a player here you’re aware of what that squad achieved and its a big honour for some of us more recent players to get involved in the 25th anniversary celebrations with the legends of 93,” said the former City full-back, who made a career out of tackling for Darren Huckerby. The two best mates will, no doubt, thoroughly enjoy being reunited once more on such an occasion.
City’s Community Partner Aviva were equally delighted to sign up for the event.
Tom Daniell, marketing director at Aviva, said: “We are hugely excited by the prospect of celebrating City’s illustrious 93 European campaign and the bringing together of legends from both these great clubs.”
The Norwich City Legends v Inter Forever match will be on Sunday, May 20th, 2018, kick-off 2pm.
Standard tickets are priced at £9.93 for adults and £1.93 for Under-18s.
Tickets went on sale today to City season ticket holders and members; they will go on general sale from 9am on Monday.