In the early 1990s at the time of manager Dave Stringer’s squad transitioning into the tenure of Mike Walker, NCFC boasted a rare gift. We had a trio of Welsh internationals, all first-team regulars at the same time and truly amongst the very heartbeat of that famous squad.
All wore the “egg ‘n’ cress” with pride and great efficiency.
Of course, two of them were about as Welsh as I am so I’ll start with a real valley boy and my favourite City player of all time as stated on my MFW biog.
Mark Rosslyn Bowen was born in Neath South Wales in 1963. He started out playing rugby union, but being my height of 5′ 9″ and not really a scrum-half he turned his attentions to the round ball. Wise move, Mark.
We snapped him up from Tottenham in 1987 for something like £100,000 and he went on to make 399 appearances for the Canaries.
How did we get him from Spurs? Well, he was originally a midfielder who couldn’t force his way past Glenn Hoddle and Micky Hazard. He wanted regular first-team balling and we provided it for him at left-back.
And left midfield. And right-back. And striker. And even in goal at Coventry when Gunny was sent off for consistently badmouthing the ref.
The coolest dude I’ve ever seen and it was a tragedy when an intransigent Gary Megson left him adrift on 399 appearances.
Personals I guess.
Oh, he did score for us in the Olympic Stadium in Munich by the way. But we all know that, don’t we?
What can we say about Jeremy [Jed] Goss that hasn’t been said before?
That volley against Bayern, immortalised by one of Paul Chesterton’s predecessors on non-digital camera is the most iconic image of Norwich City football club that we have. And will probably never be matched.
Oh, he also scored the last goal at Anfield’s standing Kop end. Another spectacular effort.
I think he was born in Cyprus so mainly slightly less genuinely Welsh than Mark Bowen.
I’ve only met Gossy once and that was only through his work with the NNAB, but a thoroughly nicer guy you would never meet.
I’m sure several MFW readers and writers have met him many more times than I have.
To complete my initial trio is the German-born David Phillips, signed from Coventry for around £500k.
He had a shot on him like a rocket and when it came to slinging over a cross he was mustard.
He was extremely popular – particularly with female supporters of all ages, largely due to his floppy blond mop and what seemed like a permatan I’d guess.
As almost always there was a big fall-out and he was sold to Forest. He later quipped that his sale directly paid for the undersoil heating we still enjoy at Carrow Road today.
With the holy trinity completed, I thought I’d briefly consider a second trio.
I’ll start with Mark Walton, who was Gunny’s deputy between 1989-93 and ended up with more clubs than Jack Nicklaus.
I have no solid memories of him as a player [I do remember him saving a penalty once] but when I still could bear listening to CanaryCall I found him probably the kindest and most articulate guest that Chris Goreham has ever had.
I liked Rivo too but Mark Walton was something else.
Rob Earnshaw – the Dean Ashton replacement as I recall and I think he cost something north of £3million. He just came into the club at the wrong time. An instinctive and hard-working little striker but he didn’t hang around with us for too long.
And then there was the legendary Ron Davies, who averaged over a goal every other game for us between 1963-65.
A renowned “header-in” of crosses, I never saw him play so to me he must remain just that. A legend.
I’m sure I must have left a few out and I’d be delighted to hear from any readers who could put me right.
For once I did Google a [tiny] bit but only for the last three.
And just in case you thought I’d forgotten [which I might have done without a prod from Editor Gary G] there’s our little and large duo of Craig Bellamy and Iwan Roberts from the later 1990s.
Iwan is up there with Hucks. A true City legend. Welsh-speaking, highly articulate and his book All I Want for Christmas is a must-read for all Canary fans. I’ve still got a copy which the great man signed for me – I can’t remember where and when but it wasn’t at the book launch because I wasn’t there. Maybe Colney when we were still allowed in? I think so.
All I Want for Christmas obviously refers to Iwan’s missing two front teeth and he had to take the bridge out before every game he played.
He didn’t start that well at Norwich but when he got in the groove he was invaluable to us for a few seasons. That goal against Birmingham at Cardiff and the retaken penalty against Crewe [when we were already promoted] will always remain with me. There were many others of course. I was at both the games I’ve referenced.
So now on to Bellers.
He was like a little electric eel and linked really well with Iwan. They understood each other and became a primitive version of a target man and a number 10 when the soubriquet of number 10 didn’t really exist.
Craig B wasn’t a quiet man and well-substantiated rumour has it that on a long matchday journey oop North a few of our players conspired to lock him in the coach bog as it was the only way to shut him up. He stayed there for over half the journey apparently.
You, dear readers, know what’s coming next. MUSCAT.
The most disgraceful tackle many had ever seen ensued. By Muscat on Bellamy. It broke a part of Craig B’s leg.
Subsequent visits to Carrow Road were eventful for Mr Muscat. The entire crowd – Jarrolders included – would spark up with Muscat Muscat you’re a c***, Muscat you’re a c***.
I doubt even Wolvers supporters were proud of Mr Kevin Muscat either but it’s why we haven’t really got along with them too well until relatively recently when Nuno took over and they started to play beautiful, effective football. Pax Canaria seems to have been created after some 25 years and I’m glad of that.
Back to Iwan. I won’t spoil the story if you don’t know it but it’s in his book and often spoken about – check it out.
Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.
Muscat reaped a typhoon courtesy of our Iwan. I can’t remember if Iwan was even booked for his stamp but anybody in the RMC or the SAS would have been proud of it as a bit of covert action.
Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold.
Keep good y’all.