The irony will be lost on no-one north of the Waveney. But as Canary legend Darren Huckerby sits down and ponders ''Where next?', so a former Town favourite is desperately hoping that a drop of California livin' can entice the 32-year-old to the West Coast of America.
Speaking exclusively to MyFootballWriter, ex-Portman Road star Frank Yallop – now managing Major League Soccer outfit San Jose Earthquake – confirmed that they were firmly in the queue for Huckerby's services after the two-time Canary Player of the Year became a free agent this week.
But with the MLS operating the same, complicated draft and salary cap system that operates in other major US professional sports, so Earthquake find themselves stood in an orderly queue – one, for now apparently, headed by Mo Johnston's Toronto FC.
“The league rules say that Toronto have first refusal on Darren, but I am sure he will be aware of our interest via his agent,” said Yallop, speaking from his California home to MFW overnight.
Huckerby's 'Mr 10 Per Cent' – Phil Smith – has already confirmed that his client has been inundated with others since news of his Carrow Road release first broke.
The player's determination to stick to his long-held promise of not joining another English club out of his respect for both the Norfolk club and, in particular, its supporters clearly limits Smith's room for manoeuvre – hence the speculation that Huckerby will be bound for a new life across the Pond.
It was a vow he repeated in his farewell Press conference at Carrow Road on Tuesday afternoon.
“I can't see myself ever playing for another team over here,” he said, with the word 'over here' leaping out. The other destination, of course, is Scotland where his long-time pal Gordon Strachan might await at Celtic. But given the fact that Mrs H and the kids might have a say, enjoying an Indian summer in the United States or, indeed, Canada look the favourite.
“I've got to earn a living – let's not beat around the bush,” added Huckerby, whose whole footballing style would be tailor-made for the fast-developing North American market. As Yallop himself acknowledged.
“I'd obviously loved to have stayed here until I'm 35, but that's how things go in football. And there's going to be avenues open to me, but I don't see them as being against Norwich City.”
Toronto was always an obvious destination given that it is the home to two of Huckerby's ex-City team-mates, Jim Brennan and Carl Robinson.
Yallop – the former Canadian national boss – is well aware that he will have to wait on Toronto. But having followed Huckerby's form in detail of late is convinced that he will be a smash hit on the West Coast of the States – if the appeal of a new life in Canada does not win his signature first.
“I must stress, however, that we will only be able to do something if Toronto decide, for whatever reason, not to pursue their interest in signing him or if Darren turns down the chance to go there,” said Yallop.
“We are next in line and I can't deny I would love to have Darren here. He is a player I have admired for a number of years and I have always liked the way he plays the game.
“Darren is pacy, he goes straight at opponents and usually past them, plus he has a number of tricks and a decent scoring record. He's exciting, a potential match-winner and the fans over here would love his style of play.”
It is certainly clear that Yallop has been doing his homework – he knows exactly what the Canary favourite could bring to the MLS party. If Huckerby does his home-work on Yallop his cv is none too shabby either.
Having played 385 games for the Suffolk clubs, he returned to his native North America to first play and then manage – taking Earthquake to two MLS title. From there it was to become Jim Brennan's boss as the Canadian national coach, before becoming the head coach at LA Galaxy where he was duly joined by a certain D Beckham.
Last November the club bought him out of the final year of his Galaxy contract to allow Ruud Gullit to take charge – Yallop moving up the road and back to San Jose where he settled down down in front of the TV to watch his Hucks DVDs.
“I have been looking at DVDs of him playing for Norwich in the season just ended and I can see he still has plenty to offer, but I cannot say any more than that at this stage,” said Yallop.
“I think Darren intends to come out here, visit Toronto and then depending on how he feels he might come and give us a look in San Jose. I suppose things should be a lot clearer in a week or two.”
Earthquake are certainly in need of additional fire-power having only scored twice in the opening five games of the new MLS season. The club have just revamped the Buck Shaw Stadium and do play in front of sell-out crowds – 10,500-strong.
Which is where Toronto may score more highly with the Canadian outfit – now entering the second year of their MLS lives – being one of the league's real success stories.
Their newly-built home ground, the BMO Field, will also play host to the Canadian national team; the have 14,000 season ticket holders and average home gates of 20,000.
As well as Robinson and club skipper Brennan, Toronto also have a familiar face in the shape of ex-QPR striker Danny Dichio who will, it seems, be centre stage later this month when the club celebrates the start of the new MLS season with a 'Kick-Off' fund-raising dinner.
To be held at Maro – 'one of Toronto's hot-spots', according to the club's official website – it promises to be an 'unforgettable' night with Dichio donning his DJ's hat and 'demonstrating his spinning skills'.
And all while 'the rest of the team strut their stuff on the runway in Toronto FC's first-ever fashion show…'
The event is due to be held on May 28 and right now the smart money might be on one long-time Canary hero joining the party down the Maro…
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