you might not be blamed for thinking that Phelan is taking a downward step in coming to us. A lesser role at a smaller club alongside an inexperienced and under pressure manager.
As supporters, we forever seem to be getting het up about something or other now. I feel for Rob Butler and whoever his guest is on Canary Call post-match because, whatever has happened during the game, those that call in will, more likely or not, have an axe to grind about something.
We didn’t just win the League One title during that first triumphant season under the new boys, pitch and boardroom – we bludgeoned our way to it, sweeping not only opponents aside but detractors and critics as well. We were a mad, bad runaway train with a massive snow plough at the front.
In today’s game it is not unknown for the leading clubs to loan out their most promising young players for a season at a time in order for them to get “playing time” and first team experience, courtesy of another club.
The final, played on a day of drizzle and gloom at Wembley, where the highlight of the pre-match entertainment was the sight of one of the RAF’s elite Red Devils parachute team miscalculating his trajectory and crashing into the stadiums roof (he was unhurt) was, for the main, as dour as the weather itself.
The Championship is not going to be the cakewalk many thought it would, the one that a few still think it should be. We’re not the only ‘big’ club down there and we’re not the only club that has a strong squad, numbers and quality wise.
Football fans tend to see the game in a very simplistic manner. Clubs, games, players are all the same – they’re either good or bad. There is rarely, if any, middle ground. Look at how that’s reflected with our club at the moment.
Our performances this season put me in mind of our having just bought a brand new car and driven out of the showroom and on to the open road for the first time. It looked so damned good, stood there, in the sunshine, surrounded by pot plants and posters of cars driving through parched deserts
Vasper was one of a cluster of hopefuls doomed to spend time at the club hoping upon hope that they would, one day, supplant the one and very only Kevin Keelan in both the side and the hearts and minds of Canary fans.
For Gunn it was the start of a long and glorious playing career at Carrow Road, the beginnings of a club legend. For Benstead, it was the beginning of the end of his Norwich career. He didn’t feature at all for the Canaries during the remainder of that season, going onto have a three month spell on loan at Colchester United
Ruddy is quality, the best keeper in the Championship by some considerable distance. But not only that, he was also, during our three year residency in the Premier League, one of the best goalkeepers in that division as well. But not as good as Ben Foster – then or now it would seem.
The howls and anguish at Darren Eadie’s departure to Leicester City for £3million in December 1999 weren’t reserved for the fans alone. Eadie didn’t want to go and has said so since on more than one occasion
If Redmond did have the “end product” that everyone is looking for he wouldn’t be playing for Norwich and more than likely would either never have signed for us in the first place!
“We did, we certainly didn’t go down 4-0 every time. We won 2-0 at Old Trafford on the night Gary Pallister made his debut, which was in 1989. We also won 2-1 there the previous season, Micky Phelan and Andy Townsend scored.”
“I didn’t really know where Norwich was at first! I was travelling down here with Ken Brown and Nigel Pleasants (club secretary at the time), we were going along the A47, and, well, that road – it just goes on forever, doesn’t it?”
It’s one of those fixtures where the game comes first. Two good clubs. No corporate gilding of the approach or the stadium, no stadium-encompassing murals, no excited footballing tourists taking selfies outside the ground at 2pm and no over-choreographed pre-match activities featuring a cast of thousands.
“But I’m part of the club’s history now, I’ve had the highs and the lows, and, ultimately, I look back, learn, and move on…I can relate both sides of the game to people, doing well at the top of the Premier League and being at the bottom of League One.”
“Fergie had said I was a top 6 keeper and I was. In my first season at Norwich we finished fifth in Division One, then, two seasons on from that, we finished fourth under Dave Stringer and then, of course, first season under Mike we ended up finishing third!
You have to give credit to Robert Chase for that.”
There is a great clip from the 1990 World Cup finals which features Robert wildly celebrating in the background after a Scotland goal – just as any member of the travelling Tartan Army would have done.
When we did meet up, Robert very much looked like the player I remembered from his on-pitch exploits. A common trait among ex-pros!