Never go back, they say (whoever 'they' are), but are they right?
Probably, in the case of a lit firework. Then again, what about Take That, who have reformed after a break of several years and are once again bringing their particular brand of music to millions and millions of people?
Actually, they're still right.
And the same goes for two other groups who have recently reformed: the ironically-named Verve and the Spice Girls, although the latter at least have some comedy value. (Sample gag from their recent press conference: 'We're not doing this for the money'. Hilarious!)
But there must be some people who have returned to a job and enjoyed as much success, if not more, than the first time round.
Come to think of it, there's me.
I'm currently working for an advertising agency which unceremoniously 'let me go' 12 years ago, after only three months in the job. The present stint has lasted for almost three years, so it's clearly been a greater success in terms of longevity ? though the lack of a bootprint on my backside is admittedly a pretty negative way to measure it.
Funnily enough, the bloke who fired me the first time is still at the agency, but he doesn't appear to remember me or the incident at all. I'm not sure whether this is because I am merely one of hundreds he's disposed of over the years or because I'm wearing my hair differently these days.
Of course, the reason I've recently been pondering the wisdom or otherwise of going back is a certain Jamie Cureton.
How will he fare on his return to Carrow Road? Will he cut the mustard ? or will he cut the cheese? (It's an American expression. Look it up.)
There have been a few precedents over the years. Seven players since 1945, if I'm not mistaken ? and if we don't include the likes of Adam Drury and Dion Dublin, who started at the club as youngsters, but moved away before making the first team.
Marvellously-named right-winger who played three games for City in 1938 (no, I wasn't at them) before moving briefly to Wolves. Returned to score a tin hat full of goals in wartime friendlies and hit 7 goals in 31 games when the league resumed in 1946.
Good return? Yes.
Another outside-right who scored 79 goals in 221 matches, moved to Spurs for a year and came back to find the net even more frequently than before, if my sums are correct (53 goals in 117, if you want to double-check it). One reason for the improved strike rate was that he scored only once in his first 19 games for Norwich ? and yet he went on to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer. There must be a moral about patience in there somewhere.
Good return? Absolutely.
During his second spell with the club ? a brief period at Yarmouth Town coming between his two spells with City ? he played in every game of the 1958/59 FA Cup run. Enough said.
Good return? Definitely.
His return to the club in 1976 got off to a terrible start. He broke his leg only three games in and was out of action for almost a year. Though he didn't enjoy the same level of success as in his first spell, when he was a key member of the sides which won Division 2 in 1972 and reached the League Cup Final the following year, he topped the club's appearances lists in both the 1979/80 and 1980/81 seasons.
Good return? Eventually, yes.
His first spell as a Norwich player lasted only 11 games in 1981, before a release clause in his contract was activated… as if such a thing would be allowed to happen now. What? Oh. On his return the following year, he was part of the team which made that fantastic late surge to promotion. The season after, he chalked up 43 appearances and scored a fantastic goal in a memorable 2-0 win at Anfield.
Good return? Indubitably.
If memory serves, he ended up rejoining City after asking to come along to training just to keep fit. Made six appearances and scored one goal ? a scruffy effort away at QPR, when he surprisingly started at the expense of the final person on our list, who had to make do with a place on the bench?
Good return? The fact that he came back at all was extraordinary.
Never really recaptured the brilliant spark of his first period at City, but then that was always going to be a tall order ? especially in a lower division, surrounded by lesser players and in the poisonous atmosphere which existed in his first season back. Seeing him in a yellow shirt again was one of the few things to bring a smile that year.
Good return? Not great, but certainly good enough.
So there you have it ? an overwhelmingly positive history of Carrow Road comebacks. Indeed, four of the above are in City's Hall of Fame.
Admittedly, the two managerial comebacks were less glorious. Mike Walker's second spell in charge was never going to live up to the first ? although I don't think it was as poor as many others seem to ? and simple maths proves Gary Megson's second attempt at the job to have been far worse.
His first spell lasted five games, his second 27. The second spell was therefore 5.4 times worse.
But Jamie can certainly consider the past to be on his side as a player.
Encouraging reports about his fitness and attitude, and the fact that he evidently feels he has something to prove also bode well for the new season.
And it doesn't look as though he'll be weighed down by a burden of expectation from the fans. I don't get the impression that everyone is anticipating a repeat of last season's Golden Boot-winning haul, which could well work to his advantage.
Go get 'em, Jamie.
And finally? in a frankly pathetic attempt at one-upmanship, Ipswich have followed City's move for Cureton by re-signing two of their former strikers ? Pablo Counago and Tommy Miller.
Now there's a place to which the phrase 'never go back' definitely applies.
Leave a Reply