Former City goalkeeper Andy Marshall has set his sights on a possible reunion with the Canaries in the Championship after his recent release from Aston Villa.
After successful spells at Ipswich, Millwall and Coventry after he left Norfolk in 2001, Marshall has not had any first-team opportunities at Villa Park. But at the age of 35, the ex-Norwich trainee feels he has a few more years left. After all, ‘keepers, like a fine wine, get better with age.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Villa but I’ve been released now and I’m looking for a new club – I still think I’ve got a few years left in me. I’m keeping my options open but I want to stay at a high level and it would be nice to be in the Championship,” said Marshall, speaking exclusively to MFW yesterday before hosting a goalkeeping academy in the county; more on that later.
“I keep an eye on all my old clubs and Norwich have done well to get back up at the first time of asking. The Championship is the minimum level the club should be playing at.
“They should never have been in League One and I’m really pleased that they have got back up. It was a great season for them and they’ve played exceptionally well. I saw a couple of games and heard a lot of reports and I’m so pleased for them.”
And if he gets his wish for a gig in the second tier, Marshall could come face to face with four of his former clubs, with Town, Millwall and Coventry all joining the Canaries in 2010/11.
Another former City goalkeeper, Robert Green, has his sights set slightly higher as England prepare for the World Cup in South Africa and that opening contest on June 12. And Marshall, who once kept Green at bay when both battled for the Norwich No.1 spot, is thrilled for his former Canary pal.
Only time will tell if the West Ham ‘stopper manages to secure his place in the England XI for that opener against the US in just over a week’s time. But to be recognised as one of the top three in the country is some achievement.
“Hand on heart, I’m absolutely delighted for him,” Marshall added. “He’s a good friend of mine and I’ve known him for a long time.
“We’re old sparring partners, he was my understudy at Norwich and he has gone on to do phenomenally well. I hope he starts all the games and has a great World Cup.
“David James has got the experience but Greeny has been playing exceptionally well and he has hardly made a mistake. James has also got the vulnerability but he rises to the big occasions. Also, you can’t discount Joe Hart. It’s such a tough one.
“Hart’s a phenomenal goalkeeper but saying that, this World Cup might be a bit too soon for him. He might have to wait for the next one to become No.1.”
Marshall’s own future, however, is already being mapped out after becoming a shareholder in Sells Goalkeeping Products. He’s now running goalie academies under the Sells name and it’s a venture which could keep the Bury-born man busy for a good few years, as he explains.
“I’m coming towards the end of my career and I want to look towards doing something beyond football now,” he said, making his way to Easton College on the outskirts of Norwich to host another taster course.
“Sells Goalkeeping Products is a well established company and I went to the owner to see if I can run academies off the back of it. We’ve done seven so far and although we run them in East Anglia and the Midlands, we’ll be heading down into London soon.
“Come September, we will be looking to push them out across the country and within two years or so, we’re looking to have 52 academies across the country.
“It’s proving extremely popular so far and the concept is that the coaches and everyone behind it are from a professional football background. The majority of our coaches are ex-professionals, the medical team are working at professional clubs and the same goes for our PR and media team.
“There is not that professional element of training for young goalkeepers out there and you find that the ones that aspire to be professional ‘keepers have more grit and determination as they know it’s that bit harder to make it.
“We’ve realised that young goalkeepers find it difficult to get specialist coaching and that was certainly the case when I was coming through. I didn’t get any proper coaching until I was 21 or 22 and it made the world of difference when I did.
“The idea is that we’re a professional outfit and we want to bring that level to grass roots football and show the kids what it’s like to be a professional.”
For more information on the Sells Goalkeeping Academy, please visit http://www.sellsgoalkeepingacademy.co.uk/ or give them a call on 01487 832390.