City boss Bryan Gunn this afternoon appeared to all-but herald the exit of Northern Ireland international Sammy Clingan as he snapped up the services of Exeter City's playmaker Matt Gill on a free transfer.
The Grecians' Players' Player of the Year in their successful League Two promotion push becomes City's first fresh face of the summer as Gunn looks to rebuild his squad around a few, battle hardened lower league operatives.
He also, it appears, has yellow and green blood coursing through his veins having being born in Norwich.
Speaking this morning, the City chief recognised that his charges were now in the third tier of English football and needed to 'cut their cloth accordingly'.
All of which can be applied to both their financial status as well as their playing needs – on both counts, therefore, Gill would appear to fit the bill after the one-time Fakenham High School pupil headed home to East Anglia today after three, full seasons at St James' Park.
What is interesting, however, is the fact that Gill arrives in Norfolk on his way 'up' the league – in common with both Chrissy Martin and Michael Spillane, he has winners medals on his mantelpiece after guiding first guiding City back into the Football League and then seeing them promoted into League One as runners-up to Brentford.
And all with nine goals to his name, to boot.
Neither fact will have escaped Gunn's attention as he welcomed his first new arrival at Colney this afternoon with Gill fresh from having completed his medical last night and signed a two-year deal with the club of his boyhood dreams.
“The winning mentality of a player who has been with a club which has enjoyed success for the last two season was very important to me,” said the City chief.
The fact that Canary fans can welcome home 'one of their own' might also ease Gill's transition into his new surroundings.
After all-too many seasons being left to hope that someone else's loan player actually cared about the fate of their part-time employers, Gill has every incentive to do well – his name is, after all, on a two-year contract and there may be more than one or two of his old team-mates from Old Catton Juniors expecting much of the new playmaker in their midst.
“He's a Norwich lad born and bred and he is desperate to pull on the yellow and green jersey and do well for Norwich City,” the Canary chief told the club's official website this afternoon.
As ever with any new arrival, the first question that springs to mind is whose position does he threaten..?
Described by his new boss as a “very competitive player who likes to pass the ball”, the implication is obvious – that he is in to offer the kind of anchor midfield skills that Clingan brings to the party.
All of which, therefore, suggests he is either come as Clingan's understudy – or else Gunn has pre-empted the Northern Ireland international's expected move to pastures new this summer by snapping up a ready made replacement.
What is equally interesting is Gill's age – like Pools skipper Michael Nelson, he weighs in at 29-years-old as the City looks for a few, older heads to sprinkle through his young side.
Officially, Gill does not become a fully-fledged Canary until July 1 when his Grecians contract expires. At five foot 11 inches tall, he is also a decent height and with the Exeter's 'Players Player of the Season' gong to his name for 2008-2009, so he looks tailor-made for Norwich's new surroundings.
Leave a Reply