In life, Johnny Gavin always had an impeccable sense of timing. It's what all great goal-scorers have. Timing.
And with 132 goals from his 338 City appearances, Johnny Gavin was a great goal-scorer.
In death, he stayed true to that tradition – the timing of his passing was impeccable, coming on the day that City boss Peter Grant pointed an accusing finger at the ?15,000 a week Premiership footballers who will play maybe only twice this autumn.
“Do I think I would have done alright?” he asked me, as we sat in his small Cambridge flat three years ago and pondered whether or not the young man from the back streets of Limerick would have made the grade in this century as opposed to the middle of the last.
“Yes, I do,” was his simple answer. “I think so. I had pace, determination – that's the whole thing, yes. And appetite and attitude. Yes, attitude. That's it.
“I found it very easy to knock a few in. I wasn't in any way lacking,” he added.
As each year passes, so the number of people in any position to judge dwindles.
Gavin's last game for the Canaries was in April, 1958 – the better part of 50 years ago. A starry-eyed teenager then would now be picking up his or her pension, so it is next to nigh-on impossible to find a second opinion as to whether he could have stepped up a level – or two – from Division Three South.
All that you sensed was a quick-witted, quick-footed player that had this sinewy strength and purpose to him. And he was quick. Half a century later and anyone of that pace still has more than half a chance.
So you have to go back to opinions at the time – that of one Arthur Rowe, in particular. He was the man from Tottenham Hotspur who signed Gavin in October, 1954 and took City's leading goal-scorer to White Hart Lane.
Money was talking. “Of course he offered a couple of more pounds in wages – which was ?20 in those days – and I said I'd chance it,” recalled Johnny, as I interviewed him for the book, '12 Canary Greats'.
It wasn't the easiest of interviews. He was quietly spoken, would cough loudly and longly and was very conscious of the wheelchair in which he sat uncomfortably. An electric buggy, provided by the Professional Footballers' Association benevolent fund, filled the hall-way.
He didn't, he said, settle at Spurs. He was, you sensed, a small city boy at heart; a Limerick or a Norwich was far more to his liking. He was more than happy to be the make-weight in the deal that took one-time Mulbarton farm-hand Maurice Norman down to London and on to lasting, Double-winning glory.
But for a player that didn't settle, he still scored 15 goals from his 32 Spurs appearances. For the record, Dimitar Berbatov has 13 goals from 38 Premiership appearances for the North London gaints, Robbie Keane 65 from 167, Jermain Defoe 39 from 125.
When he returned to Norwich, he remained on ?20 a week. Though he had to fight for that.
“Twenty pounds was the highest that I got,” he said. “That was at Tottenham – that was the first time I got ?20.
“And when I went back to Norwich, they were still on ?18. But I said: 'No, I'm not coming back for lower wages!' So they then paid me ?20 at Norwich.”
Two years after Gavin played his last game for the Canaries, then PFA chairman Jimmy Hill would lead a winter of discontent to abolish the maximum wage in football.
It was why Gavin was paid ?20 by Spurs, ?20 by Norwich. It is why he was more than happy to come back to East Anglia for a second spell – because there was no difference money wise. Whether he was playing in Division Three South or the old First Division – the money wasn't an issue.
Playing in a Fine City was.
Hill's campaign was, of course, successful. In 1961 Hill's Fulham team-mate Johnny Haynes became the first player to earn ?100 a week and the genie was well and truly out of the bottle.
Gavin was 33 that year; his playing days were fast coming to a close. He'd run a pub – The Rock Hotel in Cambridge. There he would break records too – for the number of barrels of beer he'd sell in a week, much to Greene King's delight.
But as we talked, so the conversation invariably returned to the difference between players then and now. You couldn't help but forgive an old man few 'If only's…'
“When you see what they're getting today, my God above, you wouldn't believe it,” he mused.
“It's impossible to believe. If I scored the goals I did now… Oh my God, you'd be made….”
Towards the end of the interview, he tired and we went our seperate ways. Me to write up the chapter on one of the most remarkable men to play for the Carrow Road club, Johnny Gavin to head for the local working men's club where he would gently enjoy a quiet pint every lunchtime.
It was one of the little luxuries life still afforded him. Football had been very, very good to him in many ways; in others, it did him a complete disservice.
But his goal-scoring record is never likely to be broken now. Not in this day and age; not at a club of Norwich's size.
A Chrissy Martin steps up to the plate and he'll be long gone before he gets to the 50-mark – Premiership money having long since spoken.
And could the Canaries go out and buy a 130-goal striker – someone who would get 25-plus goals a season for five seasons? Even if they did, they'd go too. Two, maybe three, seasons in.
No. Johnny Gavin's record will never be broken. And in that fact, he can be at peace.