The Premier League dream is over. City find themselves back in familiar territory of The Championship and a new fixture list full of old friends and foes.
My weekly series ‘We Meet Again’ returns as part of MyFootballWriter’s pre-match preview, where I look back at previous clashes between Norwich City and our upcoming Championship opponents.
Big games, historic matches, significant milestones, and player connections. I’ll delve into moments in time where our respective clubs have meet, looking at trends, quirks, and key talking points, all of which have helped contribute towards Norwich’s rich and colourful history.
One to appeal to the nostalgic side in us, so enjoy the memories …….
Remember when Huddersfield was the dominant force in English football – The Liverpool or Manchester City of the day? No. Not surprising as it was shy on a century now when the Terriers completed a unique treble winning the 1st Division Championship in three consecutive seasons. Under the astute management of Herbert Chapman, Huddersfield were Champions in 1923/24, 24/25, and 25/26, and runners up the following two seasons, a feat, I believe, that has only been matched by Arsenal and Manchester United.
While Huddersfield was winning titles, Norwich was way down the football pyramid finishing 11th, 12th , and 16th in the old Division 3 South. The first meeting between the two came many years later in the 1960/61 season, Norwich winning 2-0 in the Division 2 fixture.
Those first run of games in the old 2nd Division produced an unusual sequence of results. After that victory in the first meeting, Norwich failed to beat Huddersfield in the next seven home games, finally ending that run with a 1.0 win on 7th April 1969. However away from home, there was a reversal in City’s fortunes, Norwich unbeaten in their first seven trips to Yorkshire before eventually losing on the 8th visit 2-0. In fact, Norwich’s first six trips to the old Leeds Road ground all ended in draws.
Huddersfield was promoted at the end of the 1969/70 season but was relegated the same season that Norwich was promoted 1971/72. The same occurred in 2018/19 and therefore the two have never met in the top flight.
Over the next 25 years, we found ourselves in the same league just once – Division 2 in 1985/86. A memorable campaign for the Canaries winning the title in style. There was a routine 4-1 win over Huddersfield on 12th March 1986. We had lost the previous home game versus Wimbledon so it was an important win to get promotion back on track.
Despite City’s promotion, we did actually play two games the following season. Both came in our only pairing in the FA Cup. Huddersfield earning a replay after a surprise draw at Carrow Road only for league placings to show in the replay, Norwich going through to the 4th round winning 4-2.
When we next returned to Huddersfield, it was to the brand new McAlpine Stadium. However, it was not a happy debut, Norwich losing 3-2 in League 1 (now The Championship).
With both clubs back competing at the 2nd level, Norwich enjoyed four consecutive home wins. The pick of the bunch came on 13th April 1998, Norwich winning 5-0. An emphatic but important win with Norwich hovering over the bottom three. The Huddersfield win was our first in 14 league games and proved to be enough to secure City’s place in the division (at Manchester City’s expense)!
Scoring a double that day was Norwich’s all-time 3rd highest goal-scorer Iwan Roberts. Roberts had struggled in his debut season and his two against Huddersfield proved vital for confidence as he kicked on the following year. Huddersfield was the club where he made his name, a tally of 50 in 142 games for the Terriers earned him his break in the Premier League with Leicester.
Talking player connections, another Hall of Famer signed from Huddersfield was goalkeeper Sandy Kennon. Kennon came into the 59’s cup side and made the number 1 position his own, including the promotion success in 1959/60, and was a regular in the 2nd Division until relinquishing the jersey to Norwich’s record appearance holder, Kevin Keelan.
The 2009/10 season was the only time Norwich and Huddersfield have played each other outside of Division 2. Norwich doubled their opponents during that successful League 1 campaign. The 3-1 away win on 13th March 2010 felt particularly big, coming at the home of one of our main challengers (it would end up being Huddersfield only home defeat that season). There were two goals scored by Stephen Elliot (his only Norwich goals during a brief loan spell) while the Huddersfield side that day included Jordan Rhodes and Anthony Pilkington, both would later become popular players at Carrow Road.
Huddersfield fell short eventually losing to Millwall in the play-off semis. The next clash would come four years later (both back in the 2nd tier). It was a pre-Christmas party helped by the combination of a 5-0 home win but more importantly, welcoming back home the ever-popular striker Grant Holt on his first return to Carrow Road since leaving the club.
5-0, and a hero returns, one of those perfect footballing days – Although it looked odd seeing the Norwich goal-scoring machine at Carrow Road in a blue and white jersey.
I’m now going to take an early international break as our next two opponents, Preston and Bournemouth, were both covered last season in series one.
I’ll also like to finish with a plug for a new ‘We Meet Again’ podcast which is now out and available for download. Based on the ‘We Meet Again’ articles published on this site, me and my friend, and NCFC season ticket holder, Val Tolhurst dissect and debate, in much more detail, the history and key talking points between Norwich and our upcoming Championship opponents.