It would only be right and proper – given today’s news – to mark the passing of a legend with a few, fond words of farewell.
All of which sounds like the start of an obituary, as opposed to the start of a new chapter in the lives of the Gunn family, who are about to re-locate to the North-West after 25 years at the very heart of the ‘Norfolk Nation’.
The one-time Sheriff of Norwich is hitching up his wagon and riding out of town – all of which explains the ‘For Sale’ sign outside the family home en route to Loddon.
Given the huge emotional ties that the family – Bryan, Sue, Melissa and Angus – enjoy with their adopted county, it is something of a momentous day.
For very obvious reasons, there is no doubt that Norfolk and Norwich will always be in their hearts; one, small corner of this footballing parish will, certainly, never leave them.
But, it appears, football has come a-calling again for the 47-year-old former Canary keeper and manager in the shape of a talent-spotting role with a leading sports agency. To be based in the North-West; hence the switch to Cheshire this summer.
“This is a good opportunity to get back into the sporting arena,” Bryan told The Eastern Daily Press today, with each and every one of the famed clan having good reason to look forward to the new start.
“For Susan it is also an opportunity to extend her art work to Manchester, where she has exhibited in the past.
“Our daughter Melissa is also going to Manchester University. Angus, as a 15-year-old, will hopefully come and we’ll find a good school where he can finish off his GCSEs and a football club which can further help develop his skills.”
Angus made his England Under-16 goalkeeping debut earlier this spring – keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Slovenia. He was one of the youngest players to travel with Kenny Swain’s international party.
All of which followed hard on the heels of his debut for City’s Academy Under-18 side little more than a couple of weeks earlier. At the distinctly tender age of 15 years and just 16 days. And in a side that also featured one Remy Gordon; son of Dale.
Which, one can only surmise, might together make the strapping Gunn Jnr one of the hottest, young goalkeeping properties in the country.
Working that fact out is hardly rocket science; nor might be the fact that the Canaries – for their part – probably had young Angus down as the next one to follow the likes of Robert Green, Joe Lewis, Declan Rudd and Jed Steer off their famed, goalkeeping production line.
All of whom have travelled a well-worn, Canary path up through the England youth ranks and beyond.
Likewise, it will hardly come as any surprise if a clutch of North-West Premiership clubs offer the six-foot-plus teenager a chance to help ‘develop his skills’. With a Mum from Bolton and a Dad who used to baby-sit the Ferguson clan, opportunity will be swift to knock on the young man’s door.
Where next for Angus Gunn is, tonight, for the future.
For now, however, it is the exit of Bryan from a Norfolk stage that he has loomed so large over for the last 25 years that is the story.
The stories themselves are legend, but its the legacy of the family’s charity work following the death of daughter Francesca in 1992 – in association with both the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital – which will, in certain ways, out-live his footballing repute.
Certainly for those individual families that find themselves following a similar path to the Gunns, the £1 million-plus that the Francesca Gunn Leukaemia Appeal has raised in the last 19 years could make the world of difference to those immediately concerned.
In amongst it all – and, most recently, his exit as Canary manager following that 7-1 reverse at home to Colchester United – the quality that has shone out time and again was the man’s dignity and grace.
Football management can be a very, very lonely place when you’re staring down the barrel of a gun; particularly when it all plays out in front of 26,000 passionate supporters.
Given the extraordinary events that then followed the arrival of Paul Lambert, Gunn’s brief managerial reign may well become little more than a foot-note to his illustrious playing career for his beloved Canaries.
And, lest anyone forget, he did leave the in-coming manager one, very large legacy – the signature of Grant Holt, who he dug out of Shrewsbury Town that summer.
For that – and so much more besides – Norfolk has much to thank the Gunn family for.
Dominick Okamoto says
Thanks, for everything. A total legend and such a great bloke – will be missed; hope he is a regular returnee to the area and should always be welcome with open arms. Gunny – total legend…
Andrew Gillie says
Well said. Good luck to the Gunn family.
Steve M says
Always a Norwich legend in my eyes, best wishes to the Gunn’s.
Dave Backham says
Thanks for the great footballing memories you created over the years. You’ll always be Bryan Gunn, #1 to the fans.
Steve Ives says
God bless the Gunn’s and thanks for everything, amazing people I hope you never forget us