How very sad that at a time when Norwich City is at its lowest ebb for many years, the club should lose one of its finest ever players.
The death of Graham Paddon at the age of just 57 is a huge blow to those Canary fans for whom the early 70s was a golden era at Carrow Road.
A golden era in which he was the golden boy.
Sudden departures sometimes cloud judgements and inspire exaggerated and unworthy testimonials. But in the case of Paddon, every word of praise is fully deserved.
How the current Norwich side could do with someone of his stature ? a flair player with an eye for goal who proved one of the most astute ever signings by a City manager.
In today's market Paddon would have been worth millions. With his film star looks and extraordinary ability at free-kicks, all the glitz and the glamour of the Premiership stage would have been his. If ever a player was born 30 years too soon?.
And if ever a player seemed out of step with his contemporaries and his surroundings, that was Graham Paddon.
Yet it was to the enormous credit of the then manager Ron Saunders that he saw in the young Mancunian the very essence of what was needed for Norwich City to finally break into the big time.
Without being unkind to Saunders, he'd instilled in the Canaries the very traits so obvious in himself. They were hard working, but dour. Getting Paddon – an artist among artisans – was the master stroke.
If not quite the final piece of his promotion jigsaw, the capture of Paddon from Coventry City offered Norwich so many more options.
Here was a midfield player who could score goals. Spectacular goals from any distance. His corner kicks were meat and drink for Forbes and Stringer. He could launch long throws onto the penalty spot.
You would never have imagined he was Sgt Major Saunders' type. Too showy by far; too flash.
Yet for all his talent and charisma, Paddon could also graft. That's what persuaded Saunders to prise him away from Coventry City, and the ?25,000 shelled out in 1969 provided a springboard for Norwich's first ever promotion to top flight football.
Adding the likes of Doug Livermore in midfield and then strikers David Cross and Jimmy Bone confirmed Saunders' place in Carrow Road's Hall of Fame.
1971/72 was an extraordinary season. Mainly because it was so unexpected. What had gone before very much mirrors the current state of Norwich City. They were a poor side for whom relegation always seemed a more likely outcome than a flirtation with the big time.
Those of us who watched the Canaries in the mid and late-60s will smile at suggestions on websites that today's team is the worst in the club's history. Poor maybe, but not nearly as bad as the side before Saunders came in and created his Carrow Road revolution.
Which came to fruition in 1972 – 35 years ago, and yet it seems like yesterday. So many of those goals sit vividly in the memory. Forbes' winner against Swindon which convinced us we were virtually there; Stringer's header that clinched the championship on the final day at Watford.
Yet it was Paddon who began it all with an equaliser at Luton on the opening day of the season. Throughout the campaign he decorated Norwich's performances with a series of significant strikes; perhaps the most vital being the penalty that guaranteed promotion on an emotional night at Orient's Brisbane Road on April 24th. It remains my favourite match in 45 years of watching City.
Yes, Europe was good and the 1985 Milk Cup Final takes some beating. But for those who'd suffered through the 60s, to see Norwich finally reach the top was a never to be forgotten experience.
Paddon was in his pomp and turned in a masterful performance as goals from Cross and Bone earned City a 2-0 win at Charlton on Easter Saturday and took them another significant step towards the big time.
I've still got the Pink Un from that day. A great performance deserved its great headline. 'Hot Cross Bone Day for City!'
Paddon left Norwich in 1973, joining West Ham in a swap deal that took Ted MacDougall to Carrow Road. Many of us were sorry to see him go, although Supermac certainly prospered here after failing to make the grade with Manchester United and the Hammers.
It was no surprise that Paddon also flourished at Upton Park, winning an FA Cup medal and then playing in a European cup final against Anderlecht. His range of passing and cultured left foot was appreciated just as much in the East End as it had been at Norwich.
He returned to Carrow Road, but only provided ammunition for those who say players shouldn't go back to former clubs.
Unlucky to break his leg in a match at Sunderland, Paddon was never the same again. He carried a pound or two more than he should have done and with his long hair and white boots, he became an obvious target for opposition fans.
It was a bit like watching Muhammad Ali take on one too many fights. Far better to remember him when he was at his peak.
Saturday promises to be an emotional day, and how ironic that his first club provide the opposition at Carrow Road.
A lot of younger fans will inevitably ask how good was Graham Paddon. Those of us fortunate enough to see him will tell them he was one of the best.
The most fitting tribute will be a performance from the current Norwich side to match the spirit and passion of the Saunders generation.