City boss Glenn Roeder may, after all, be tempted to give veteran marksman Kevin Phillips “a moment's thought” as D-day looms over the striker's future and the summer transfer merry-go-round begins to spin into life.
The feared Baggies hitman – snapped up out of non-league obscurity with Baldock by then Watford boss Roeder – is due to decide this week whether or not to give the Premiership one last go with newly-promoted West Bromwich Albion.
The fact that he is out of contract and on the look-out for one, last two-year deal has already alerted a host of clubs to his potential availability this summer should Baggies boss Tony Mowbray have only a one-year deal up his sleeve.
Stoke City, Derby County and Leeds United have already been mentioned in despatches. And while Roeder has long been working on the assumption that Phillips will sign on again at The Hawthorns and not move from his Midlands base, he will be a more than interested spectator should the two parties fail to reach an agreement.
Even if Phillips opts to stay, it could have an impact on Roeder's own planning with Leeds United reported to be willing to turn their attentions to Andrew Cole should Phillips stay at The Hawthorns. Norwich have already found their name linked with Lee Clark's former Newcastle and Fulham team-mate after Cole was released by Sunderland this summer.
And with the whole Shola Ameobi saga still firmly up in the air with reports in the North-East suggesting that the in-demand 26-year-old was waiting on Norwich's response to Ipswich's ?3.5 million bid for his services, the summer transfer market was starting to grind into life.
Phillips, Cole and Ameobi – three players who would certainly fit Roeder's 'in-betweeny' billing; the former pair would also fill Dion Dublin's shoes in terms of age and experience.
Roeder is certainly a big Phillips fan – as he revealed in the run-up to last season's home clash with the champions elect.
“He had a great attitude – and I've seen him quite a lot since and he's still the same man that I signed from non-league,” said Roeder, speaking this spring.
“No airs and graces; no big ego. A super man – and human being. I can't speak highly enough of him.”
As for putting a little call in, at the time Roeder thought the whole issue was dead and buried. A no-go.
“As far as I understand, West Brom have offered him a new contract; he's happily settled in the Midlands as far as I'm aware, so I haven't even given that a moment's thought,” said the City chief.
Having already watched Zoltan Gera turn down a new Baggies deal to join last season's Premiership strugglers Fulham, Mowbray appeared confident that Phillips' signature would be his. But, he warned, not at any price.
“It should never be about money for me. They know where we are as a club and will be offered the best contract this club can offer,” said Mowbray, with the 34-year-old striker reported to be very keen on a two-year package – one last big pay-day.
“If they want to ply their trade elsewhere for more money then good luck to them,” Mowbray told the Birmingham Evening Mail earlier this month.
“Their agents know that and if they want to hawk them around and get a better price and salary package, we won't be budging. The squad is what everybody has got to respect – we will not be bursting the bank for any single player. I've seen it happen before and it can be bad for a dressing room.
“We won't be breaking structures and it's that simple because I want to be fair to the squad and the other players. If they get better packages that are out of our ball park then good luck to them.”
The clock, said Mowbray, was ticking. He had to know where he stood. “Our offers will stay the same as they are but they can only remain on the table for a certain length of time because we've got to start knowing if we need to fill places,” he said.
The smart money would still be on Phillips staying put; Cole then having Leeds on his case enabling him to stay in the North-West – all of which would leave just the Ameobi story to play out one way or the other.
In the meantime, Canary chiefs were celebrating another remarkable example of supporter loyalty when City revealed that they had, once again, sold out their season ticket allocation with 20,000 supporters destined for Carrow Road next season – 286 more than last year's 19,714 season ticket holders.
The 20,000-strong total includes over 1,400 'new recruits' and 2,300 under-16 season ticket holders – evidence that the club's quest to re-engage with what it described as 'the lost generation' of teenage supporters had borne fruit.
“I do believe the sell-out of 20,000 season tickets for 2008-09 underlines the unique nature of the relationship between Norwich City Football Club and its supporters,” said the club's director of sales and marketing, Andrew Cullen.
“Perhaps that relationship might be considered even more special after recent media reports have suggested that several Premier League and Football League clubs are experiencing a serious decline in season ticket sales for 2008-09,” he added.
“Norwich City's ability to buck that trend reflects both the outstanding loyalty we are fortunate to enjoy from so many of our supporters as well as the Club's commitment to affordable, accessible family football. The net result is to deliver strong foundations for the Club for next season and beyond.”
As a result of the season ticket sell-out, the waiting list comes back into operation. A fee of ?10 applies with under-12s able to register free of charge. For more information, either visit the ticket office or call 0870 444 1902.
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