Former City youth team boss Keith Webb says that the next generation of Canary wannabees can look to the second coming of Jamie Cureton as an example of why it's important to keep plugging away at your career, despite the roadblocks that might be placed in your way.
There must have been times last night when Webb was caught off guard, the inclination strong to urge the Jarvis brothers to beat their man, or to send Andrew Cave-Brown forward from his right-back station before the reality of his current position as manager of King's Lynn returned.
It was a night that ended disappointingly for the man who was yellow and green for 25 years and more as his former employers struck three late goals in a 4-0 victory but maybe there was a slice of consolation in the sight of Cureton, a one-time star of Webb's youth team, scoring twice to lay down a marker of intent for the coming campaign.
“Jamie looked really sharp and that's good to see,” said Webb.
“It's clear he has not lost that desire to score. He'll prove an asset to Norwich, there's no doubt about that. He's a goalscorer and any team with ambitions of going up has got to have that.”
Talking to Cureton before the game as old acquaintance was renewed, Webb encountered an older and wiser player compared to the one shown the Carrow Road exit all too prematurely 11 years ago.
“You have to earn your opportunities in professional football and I'm sure Jamie is the first to admit now that during his first spell at Norwich he was a little bit immature,” he added.
“Seeing how he's developed as a person more than anything it's clear he's a lot more mature. He knows what he wants and knows how to go about it and that's an important fact.
“Sometimes it does not happen. Sometimes players keep that immaturity and then when they're around, say, 45, they'll think, 'Christ almighty, I wish I would have done this or that'. For Jamie it came right for him at an age when he can still benefit from football and I wish him all the best.”
From the Comeback Kid, Webb's thoughts then turned to the Norwich youngsters, the Jarvis brothers and Cave-Brown who are flirting with those same first-team fringes as Cureton once did, when it was assumed he would go on to fill the Barclay End net for many years to come.
Although his focus now is trained on the Southern Premier League set-up 40 miles distant down the A47, he still takes a keen interest in the careers of his former charges and says the coming 10 months are an important time for some of those on view in The Walks' warm-up.
“It's a big year for the Jarvis brothers, especially for Ryan who's been around a bit longer. He really needs to stamp his authority and mark at the club and if he does that I'm sure Peter Grant will give him the opportunity – again it's down to him. Rossi has done well with England last year, he's a good character and he just needs that opportunity as well. It could come at Norwich or if he gets the chance to go on loan that might do him a bit of good as well.
“Andy Cave-Brown came here on loan last season after his injury and he's done well. It's an important year for him too, he needs to kick on and start challenging for the right-back spot.”
In among all the myriad factors – the skill, the fitness, the dedication, the determination ? necessary to become a player there's also the intangibles, including a huge helping of good fortune. And also the perseverance to keep going, a la Cureton, when it might appear that early dreams have been crushed beyond repair.
“It is a game of chance in many respects, your pathway also depends on something extra, an X factor that you can't quantify. For Jamie it's all come right at the back end of his career and that's got to be an example to the younger lads who might get frustrated if things don't work out early on.
“All players develop and mature at different times. You've just got to hope that you're lucky enough to still be in the game and around when it does finally happen for you.”
Luck is also a requirement for manager Grant in his desire to scheme a promotion campaign. There was an obvious positive sign at The Walks in Cureton's late entry onto the scoreboard and also in his partnership with Czech Republic signing David Strihavka.
The tall number nine, who came close to scoring with a first-half header and then saw an effort near the end ruled out for a push, has only been in his new environment for a week but is content with how things are working out. “The football is much quicker here and the training is harder than I have been used to but I am happy and enjoying it,” he said.
“I am in a nice hotel with Jamie Cureton and that's good. All my team-mates are good guys and that's helping me settle in. When we return from the trip to Holland I will be moving into a house and my girlfriend will come over from Prague to join me so that will be good.”