Canary striker Simeon Jackson was truly living the Premier League dream this weekend as City’s latest, last-gasp leveller pulled another big point out of the bag against visitors Fulham.
It was, in fairness, all that Norwich deserved for their second-half efforts against the recent Europa Cup finalists.
But once again they left it till the very last minute before finally finding a way beyond Cottagers keeper David Stockdale.
And for that they had at least four people to thank – Elliott Bennett for a peach of an inviting, 94th minute cross, Grant Holt and Zak Whitbread for the six-yard box runs that pulled Fulham’s centre-halves wholly out of position and, finally, the young lad from McDonald’s whose perfect, far post header took Norwich back into the top half of the Premier League table.
“It’s amazing – it’s where you want to be as a player,” said the 24-year-old Canadian, whose later teenage years were spent with his grandmother in Croydon – by when he had set his heart on being a pro footballer.
Chasing that dream as opposed to chasing orders in a south London Maccy Ds.
“I could write a book on it, to be honest,” he laughed, when quizzed further about the story of his footballing life. He ‘fits’ the Norwich model to a ‘T’. Grant Holt, the tyre-fitter. Clinton Morison, the paper shredder.
“Looking back on it, it is amazing to think of when I first came over here and all the hard work that I’ve put in. The steady progression – and now, I guess, I’ve just got to keep going to stay at this level.”
The Canadian FA came out with an interesting stat in the wake of Jackson’s first Premier League strike in the 2-2 away draw at Wolves.
He was, they discovered, one of a rare breed of player to have scored in each and every division in five, successive seasons – first via Dulwich Hamlet and Rushden & Diamonds and then on and on up the leagues, first with Gillingham and now, of course, with Norwich.
His goal at Portsmouth that took the Canaries back into the top flight is already part of club folklore. Both manager Paul Lambert and keeper John Ruddy named that night at Fratton Park as their foremost highlight of 2011.
“It was tough, but when you have a dream you’ve got to keep going – keep plugging away. And to now actually do it is amazing.”
His life has taken some remarkable turns. The business studies course at Croydon College lasted a little less than a day.
“I can remember going into college, registering and after sitting there for about hours thinking: ‘You know what? I just don’t want to do this. I just want to play football…’
“So I left. I walked out. Half an hour into the lesson. I decided that I wanted to make it.”
At which point he was working at McDonald’s and playing non-league.
Now he is reaping rich reward for his efforts; a grateful Norfolk nation were delighted to find him deep in the Fulham box with little more than 30 seconds left of stoppage time.
“To come on, get a goal and help us get a point is really rewarding,” he said, with the Canadian international striker hoping his second goal of the season will give Lambert pause for thought ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Loftus Road.
He has had to bide his time this autumn as the City boss toys with the two big men up front or, as in the first 45 minutes of yesterday’s game against Fulham, dropping Wes Hoolahan in the hole behind a solo striker.
“It’s like every footballer in the country,” said Jackson. “When you’re not playing, you do want to get on there and play but you’ve got to keep working hard and wait for your chance.
“We have a great squad with great players which has been doing well, so you just have to keep going.
“And you’re going to get chances – you’ve just got to try and get yourself on the end of it and be ready.”
These days, of course, Carrow Road is always ready for a late strike; most punters have lost count of the number of times under Lambert’s watch that the Canaries have dug something out at the death.
It is a spirit and a tenacity that – ideally – should serve them well in the testing months ahead.
“At home we’re just one of those sides that keep going. It’s paid off really well for us – we just have to keep that going in the New Year now,” said Jackson.