New City boss Chris Hughton today started to re-shape his Canary squad ahead of the 2012-2013 season – handing Andrew Surman a new, three-year deal, while bidding long-serving full-back Adam Drury a fulsome farewell.
Drury, 33, has been offered a two-year deal with Leeds United and after 11 years of sterling service in the Yellow and Green, few would begrudge him this opportunity – two year deals at 33 years of age don’t grow on trees.
He has, after all, more than served his time in Norfolk. Come the summer of 2014 and most would expect Drury to return to his adopted Norfolk home after – ideally – enjoying a couple of Indian summers at Elland Road.
It also makes a change for a City player to be heading to Yorkshire; of late the Canaries have snapped up the services of both Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson, both of whom have proved their worth in the Premier League.
“I’ve had 11 great years, but it had to come to an end at some point,” the former Canary skipper told the club’s official website today.
He will head north with a clutch of never-to-be-forgotten memories – not least this summer’s Testimonial Match against Celtic witnessed by 20,000 appreciative supporters.
It is, therefore, an ideal time to bid his fond farewells as Hughton arrives with his own plans for the future.
“Having a Testimonial was a fantastic way to end things at Norwich City – I could think of no better way to finish,” he said.
Hughton was well-versed in Drury’s achievements long before he arrived at the helm of the Canaries. His holiday DVD collection will have merely underlined the fact that Drury has been a remarkable servant for the Norfolk club.
“I was very aware of what he had done for the club before I arrived here,” said the City chief, now clearly back in the thick of things and ramping up his preparations for his first season in charge.
“For a player to be at a club for 11 years and to play so many games in that time is a very rare thing and a truly outstanding achievement.”
This afternoon and Leeds boss Neil Warnock was making his delight clear at snapping up Drury’s services on a free.
“I’ve been after him for a while,” said Warnock, who made his move once Paul Lambert made his switch to Villa Park.
Word was that Lambert was about to offer Drury a new, one-year deal with various coaching options attached. A full, two-year playing deal at Elland Road clearly had distinct appeal.
“I thought Paul (Lambert) might look to keep him on, even if only for another season. He’s got plenty to offer still,” Warnock told the Yorkshire Post.
“And I’ve always liked him and I honestly think he’s as good a left-back as you’ll get in the Championship, certainly defensively,” added the Whites’ boss, revealing that he had had a nibble earlier in Drury’s lengthy Canary career.
“I tried to sign him when I was at Sheffield United and he knows I’m an admirer of his. As a defender in one-on-one situations I don’t think you’ll find better at this level,” said Warnock.
“He’s someone I know I can trust. He’s got masses of experience and it’s clear that to a certain extent we’ve been lacking in that area. You couldn’t fail to notice it last season. It’s an excellent deal for us.”
Back at Carrow Road and Surman was following the lead set by Russell Martin and signing a new, three-year deal with the club.
It will tie the 25-year-old to the Canaries until 2015 and is due reward for his mid-season purple patch that did so much to keep the wind firmly in City’s survival sails.
Again, it didn’t go unnoticed by the new manager.
“Andrew did really well for Norwich last season and as manager I am pleased that he has accepted our offer of a new, three-year deal,” Hughton told the official site.
For his part, Surman was clearly relishing the prospect of kicking off another season in the top flight under the former Newcastle and Blues boss; his reputation had preceeded him, clearly.
“Everything I’ve heard about the new manager is really good,” he said.
“He’s a football man – and a good man manager, too. I haven’t met him just yet, but I’m looking forward to it as all the lads are. It’s going to be an exciting time next season.”