In the end City boss Glenn Roeder fell one short of the double-figure total that he had suggested in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's 4-1 defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
In the end, it was only nine players that became free agents this morning, not the ten he threatened.
It was, however, the one name that was on that list which – inevitably – drew the biggest headlines as two-time Canary Player of the Year Darren Huckerby joined his big pal Dion Dublin in heading for the exit door.
Sunday's game against Sheffield Wednesday was, indeed, his last. Unlike Dublin, there will be no time now for big farewells and standing ovations from 4,500 travelling City supporters. He did, at least, go out with a bang and that trade-mark curling effort away and beyond Lee Grant – and all from a wonderful dummy from his one-time Coventry City striker partner.
For the record, it was Huckerby's 48th and final goal for the Carrow Road club. Having fallen just two goals short of his 50-goal target, he did at least make it through the 200-game mark – finishing on 203 appearances for the Norfolk club.
“I have talked it over with Darren and told him we will not be offering him a contract for next season,” Roeder told the club's official website this morning.
“I am looking to overhaul the squad for next season and beyond and a number of players, including Darren, are not part of those plans,” added the City chief, who also ushered the Jarvis' brothers, Rossi and Ryan, Bally Smart, Patrick Bexfield, Andrew Cave-Brown, Steven Arnold, Matthew Halliday and Juan Velasco out of the door at Colney this morning.
It will, of course, be Huckerby's exit that causes the most ripples with the player himself due to meet the Press later this afternoon. Roeder added that the 32-year-old went with everyone's best wishes as his new broom – granted its first full summer at Colney – swept through the building.
“I'd like to place on record my recognition for what he has achieved during his time at Norwich City, particularly in the promotion season.
“Myself and all the staff at Colney and Carrow Road wish him all the very best for the future.”
There had long been an element of resignation to Huckerby's tone of voice – a 'That's life, I've had some good times…' to his comments. The most recent of which were delivered on a charity visit to Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston.
“I'm not worried either way,” he said in the run-up to that crucial home win over Queen's Park Rangers. At that stage still firmly in the dark as to where his future lay, the long-time City favourite was ill-placed to know whether or not it was the time to say his full 'Farewells…' – to share the good-bye stage with Dublin or wait on events.
As it has now transpired, the time for the big farewells came and went – in large part down to Roeder's determination to see City secure their Championship future first before committing himself to handing out new contracts left, right and centre.
“If it was my last game then it would have been nice so that I could say 'Bye-bye!' to the fans,” added Huckerby, admitting that Mrs Huckerby was more unsettled than he was as the question of the kids' school cropped up. The family have long bought into the whole Norfolk life-style thing.
“It is a big time for my wife and kids – they don't know what's going on,” he said at that time. “But it's not a big problem – let's just get the games out of the way and let's see what happens.”
If it were to be the final curtain, it would, he readily admitted, be an emotional occasion. “I've been here for five years and I've got a lot of friends, all my team-mates, the kids… But it would be nice to finish off by making sure that we're still in this league and then we'll worry about the rest of it after.”
He wasn't, he insisted, going far. Or at least not in the long-term. “Hopefully, we're going to live here and be watching as many games as I can when I do finish playing and, hopefully, I can be involved with the club in some shape or form.”
There was, he said, still life in the old dog yet. He wouldn't, however, be following Dublin's lead and playing beyond his 39th birthday. “I think I will be playing somewhere – I'm only 32 tomorrow, so it's not like I'm finished just yet.” Long-term, back in Norfolk? “Yes, definitely. I don't see myself playing for more than one or two seasons.”
He has, of course, made one promise – that out of respect for Norwich City he wouldn't play for another English club again – a commitment that Eagles boss Neil Warnock might still be tempted to test having already found himself linked to the Canary favourite. Warnock might not exactly be Huckerby's cup of tea – that would be the longest of long shots.
More likely is an Indian summer in the United States where Huckerby's crowd-pleasing style would go down a storm across the Pond – just as it always has on this side of the Atlantic.
Already linked to LA Galaxy, Huckerby has, of course, two big pals at Toronto in the shape of Jim Brennan and Carl Robinson. He will not be short of US admirers; how much cash they have to splash is another matter given the complications of the MSL's salary cap system.
Norwich chairman Roger Munby added the board's thanks to a player whose place in the club's all-time Hall Of Fame has long been assured.
“When Nigel Worthington pulled off the coup of signing Darren, Peter Crouch and Kevin Harper on loan in the autumn of 2003, the football world sat up and took notice,” Munby told the club's official site.
“They were right to do so,” added Munby. “Darren, in particular, had a galvanising effect on the club on and off the pitch and was an integral factor in our promotion success the following May.
“The fans have always had a special relationship with Darren, illustrated from the start when they helped us to make the calculated gamble of signing him from Manchester City for ?750,000 by supporting our share issue in the winter of 2003.
“He rightly occupies a place in our Hall of Fame and our heartfelt and sincere best wishes go with him as the club moves into a new era.”
One in which Roeder is firmly the master. Not for the first time – nor the last – the new City chief has proved completely his own man. He takes his destiny into his own hands and does what he – and no-one else – sees fit.
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