MFW’s very own Alex Bain is back, this time with a whistle-stop history lesson on how our club came into being and then gives us a few of his favourite City players…
Norwich City F.C. was formed, as an amateur club, at a meeting at the Criterion Café in Norwich on 17 June 1902 .
In 1905 the club was deemed a professional organisation by the FA commission and was ousted from the amateur game. Later that year they were elected to play in Southern League
With ever-increasing crowds, they were forced to leave their Newmarket Road ground in 1908 and moved to The Nest, a disused chalk pit.
The club’s original nickname was the Citizens, but in 1907 this was superseded by a more familiar name after the club’s chairman – a keen breeder of canaries – dubbed his boys “The Canaries” and changed their strip to yellow and green.
During WW1, with football suspended and the club facing spiraling debts, City went into voluntary liquidation on 10 December 1917.
The club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919. A key figure in the event was Charles Frederick Watling, future Lord Mayor of Norwich and the father of future club chairman, Geoffrey Watling.
When, in May 1920, the Football League formed a third division, Norwich joined. Their first league fixture, against Plymouth Argyle on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw.
The club went on to have a mediocre decade on the pitch, finishing no higher than eighth but no lower than 18th, but the following decade proved more successful for the club, with a club-record victory – 10–2, over Coventry City – and promotion as Division Three (South) champions in the 1933–34 season under the management of Tom Parker.
With crowds continuing to rise, and with the FA raising concerns over the suitability of The Nest, the club considered renovation of the ground but ultimately decided on a move to Carrow Road.
The inaugural match, on 31 August 1935 against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory for the home team. The new ground took just 82 days to complete.
The rest is (literally) history.
Now, for some of my favourite players to have graced Carrow Road…
Born: 22 July 1925. Died: 14th December 2007
Ken began his career as an amateur with Cardiff City before signing a professional contract with City in 1947.
He stayed at Carrow Road for 12 years, making 416 appearances for the Canaries, 378 of which were in the league.
On 14 December 2007, the club announced Ken’s death at the age of 82.
Born: 30 December 1948
Other than City, Colin played for Sunderland, WBA and Newcastle.
He signed for us for £70,000 from West Brom, played 203 games and scored 21 goals in all competitions.
He was voted City’s player of the year in 1975.
Born: Manchester, 24 August 1950. Died: Scatby, Norfolk, 19 November 2007
Graham played for City over two spells and also played for Coventry and West Ham.
His first spell here was between 1969 to 1973 – 162 games 19 goals – and his second from 1976 to 1981, when he played 128 games and scored six goals.
Born: Holywell Flintshire, 25 May 1942. Died: Albuquerque, New Mexico, 24 May 2013.
Ron signed for City from Luton Town for £35,000, playing 113 games and scoring 58 goals. He was sold to Southampton for £55,000.
Born: Saltash, 24 June 1951.
Colin was a left-back who signed for City from Plymouth Argyle for £70,000. He 157 games, scored 3 goals, and was sold to Cardiff in 1979.
Born: 8 May 1934, Mulbarton, Norfolk.
Maurice played 35 games for City between 1952 to 1955 and was then sold to Spurs where he played until his career was cut short by injury.
His transfer fee included £10,000 for the return of Johnny Gavin to Norwich
He was Bill Nicholson’s first-choice centre-back in the double-winning side of 1961/62. He was also part of the team that retained the FA Cup and won the Cup Winners Cup in 1963, and was in the England World Cup squads in 1958 and 1962.
Born: 11 February 1952
David signed for Norwich in September 1975, and went on to play 132 games, scoring five goals. He retired from professional football in 1980 due to injury.
Born: 18 June 1960, Grimsby.
He signed for City from Grimsby in 1985 for £90,000, played 150 games, and scoring 57 goals.
Won the Golden Boot 1985 for being the Second Division’s top scorer, and in 1987 scored the goal – in a 2-1 City win – that ended Ian Rush’s record for Liverpool not losing a game in which he had scored.
He was sold to Glasgow Rangers in 1988 for £600,000.
Born: 2 March 1950, Aylsham, Norfolk.
Clive played 150 games for City – and was part of the team that won the Second Division Championship in1972 – before transferring to Bournemouth in November 1973. His career ended prematurely due to injury.
Born: 8 December 1950, Heywood, Lancashire.
He signed from Rochdale in 1971 won the Second Division title with City that season. He played 84 games and scored 21 goals before being sold to Coventry for £150,000 in 1973.
Born: 7 November 1943, Perth, Scotland.
Kenny signed for Norwich in 1967 from West Brom and played 185 games, scoring 54 goals. He left the club in 1973 when he signed for Portsmouth.
Born: 1 March 1939, Greenock, Scotland. Died 22: January 2016, Ayrshire. Scotland.
Tommy signed for Norwich from St Mirren in 1962 and played 254 games and scored 49 goals before leaving for St Mirren in 1969.
There are many more players from my time watching City play, local lads like Max Briggs and Dave Stringer from Gorleston were among my favourites.
Other favourites… Peter Silvester, who we signed from Reading, David Phillips (from Coventry), Doug Livermore (from Liverpool), Duncan Forbes (from Colchester), Hugh Curran (from Millwall) Phil Boyer, who we signed from Bournemouth along with Ted Macdougall, and, of course, not forgetting Martin Peters, Jimmy Neighbour, Ian Crook, Ian Culverhouse, Roger Gibbons, Mark Bowen who all arrived here from Spurs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a quick trawl through my memories of great City players from the past. The only one I didn’t see play in a yellow and green shirt at Carrow Road was Maurice Norman, but I did see him play in the white and navy of Spurs. What a player. In his autobiography, he said his dream had been to finish his playing career back at Carrow Road.
Onwards and upwards. OTBC.
Keep safe and well.