Well, it’s matchday and I’m getting ready to go to the Carra to watch us take on the quieter side of Merseyside, aka Everton. Enter Mrs P stage left who slaps me round the kisser with a Yarmouth bloater and reminds me that I’m not doing that at all.
Being rudely shocked into reality I thought that instead, I’d take a look over my shoulder at some of the Hispanic players who have graced the Carrow Road turf over the years.
I’ll start at what I believe to be the beginning with Victor Segura.
He was picked up on a free by Mike Walker during his “second coming” in 1997. I’m sorry to say that my only abiding memory of Victor is his being carted off against Ipswich with a bandage around a bloodstained forehead during the first half of a long-forgotten game.
Javier Garrido was with us from 2012-2015. He was initially signed on a 12-month loan from Lazio with an option to buy which we promptly took up. He was the master of the overlap and his crossing and dead-ball delivery from wide was pretty sharp too.
A very popular player, he earned his own song which he admitted he liked very much:
“He likes to eat paella and now he is a yella”.
Quite what Alfred, Lord Tennyson would have made of that couplet is anybody’s guess but Javi appreciated it for sure.
Most folks would say that Martin Olsson was an improvement on him but I remain unconvinced. I think Javi’s currently playing lower-level professional football in his native Basque country as his career winds down.
Dani Ayala was one who simply didn’t fit for one reason or another. A physically imposing centre-back who was prone to the odd error and when he did stuff up it could sometimes be in spectacular fashion. He was also terribly injury-prone.
He came to us in 2011 on a permanent from Liverpool during the Lambert incumbency and stuck around for a couple of seasons before being sold on to Middlesbrough. Yes, he did feature against us on that glorious day at Wembley, but true to form chose to have an off-day. He’s still with them as I write.
There was certainly a generous side to Dani as one of the first things he did on his arrival in Norfolk was to offer to go into local schools to provide some free Spanish lessons.
Here cometh the enigma that was [and still is] Sergi Canos. He joined us from Liverpool in 2016 after a hugely successful loan season at Brentford. We paid quite a bit for him [dunno how much exactly] on a lengthy contract but Alex Neil refused to play him in anything but Cup games.
A Barcelona academy product, I feel he was a highly skilled wide player we never really got to see enough of. As the wheel turned we sold him on to Brentford, where he is currently experiencing mixed fortunes.
If anybody is wondering why I chose the word Hispanic over Spanish, the final three will surely explain my reasoning.
Jonas Guttierez was an Argentinian that we loaned from Newcastle in 2014. The man with the Spiderman mask if you recall.
He had survived testicular cancer [which was kept pretty quiet at the time] and then manager Chris Hughton used his Newcastle connections to get him on board as a January loan. He only played a few times for us before Hughton was sacked and that basically was that. A brave guy who was actually very much braver than most of us realised at the time.
Onel Hernandez is Cuban-German and therefore just about creeps into this article under the umbrella term of Hispanic.
We all love him, despite his ability to trip upstairs and knacker himself for a large part of the season. He’s speedy, direct and is the first Cuban ever to play in the Premier League, just as Kei Kamara was the first Sierra Leonian. Kai scored a couple in the Prem but Onel has yet to do so.
He is well-known as Mr Argos, which is really quite genuinely endearing.
Who provides the finale? I think you’ve already worked that one out.
Yes, it’s Emiliano Buendia as we all knew all along anyway.
The diminutive, flamboyant and often tetchy Argentinian-Spanish playmaker is a joy to watch, he simply is. There’s no point in my praising his skills as we all know what he can do. As it stands he has the most assists by slip-ins [through balls] in the Premier League.
He very quickly got his own song and there is this charming clip of him singing it himself.
It’s surely a case of let’s enjoy watching him while we can.
When I recently did a round-up of our Welsh lads I deliberately left a few out to see what you good folks might come back with.
This time I’d be really grateful to anybody who can expand the list.
Muchisimos gracias los todos, as they say in Old Costessey.
And if someone thinks Nelson Oliveira is technically Hispanic, fair play to you – but keep it to yourself.