Never let it be said that the MFW team doesn’t take its readers’ comments on board (or should that be to heart?).
The club’s current situation has rightly dominated the discussions within our community, but it has been pointed out that something other than the regular club pile-ons would make a refreshing change.
So, let’s put on our thinking caps and take a trip down memory lane with the good, the bad and the ugly from Norwich City’s history with some nominations for a series of awards.
I’ve offered my selections but I’m sure you can do better:
The ‘Where’s VAR When You Need It?’ Award – Worst Refereeing Decision
You know the scene in Escape to Victory when Pele beats the Nazis with an overhead kick, despite the best efforts of a biased referee? Well, Hitler’s boys would have won it, if Simon Hooper had been officiating instead. On his top-flight debut, Hooper disallowed Cameron Jerome’s acrobatic and deserved equaliser for dangerous play and, to this day, he remains one of the most compelling arguments for VAR.
The ‘Never Fall in Love’ Award – Best Loan Signing
I’m going to discount our Hucks on the basis that he actually became ‘our’ Hucks. Despite never seeing him play in the flesh, my nomination is Oliver Skipp. While the attacking players received most of the credit for the promotion campaign, Skipp provided the perfect platform for them by doing all the unglamorous stuff. He was the Makélélé to our cut-price Galacticos.
The ‘Return to Sender’ Award – Worst Loan Signing
If you’re struggling for inspiration, search Google for Glenn Roeder signings. However, my selection is based on what this player did for us compared to what he has done since. Harry Kane is England’s captain and record goalscorer, and second in the list of all-time Premier League goal scorers. He even out-Beckham’d, David Beckham for Bayern Munich the other day. In three appearances for Norwich, the abiding memory is a fluffed chance to win a game against West Ham. Signing Harry could, and should, have been a masterstroke.
The ‘Unbelievable Jeff’ Award – For WTF Just Happened
It takes something special to trump Jonny Howson carrying a pigeon off the pitch but step forward Delia. “Where are you?”, she asked. Most people were in the bar trying to get warm but those of us who remained in the stands, who were discussing how we had managed to blow a two-goal lead and whether we could still feel our toes in sub-zero temperatures, bore witness to an iconic rallying call. There was some laughter, a few cheers but the overwhelming sound was of jaws hitting the floor.
“Let’s be having you” indeed.
The ‘Agony and Ecstasy’ Award Part One – Worst Moment
The most intense emotions are felt in the heat of a moment, more specifically moments that determine a result. When Kenny headed us in front against Manchester City, it was amazing but the feeling was tempered by the fear that it would probably only be a footnote in a thumping. Last-minute winners, for or against, tend to live longest in the memory. January 23, 2016. City were losing 4-3 to Liverpool having blown a 3-1 lead but Seb Bassong looked to have salvaged a point with a strike deep into injury time. Moments later, Adam Lallana broke our hearts and Klopp’s glasses with the latest of winners and wild celebrations.
The ‘Agony and Ecstasy’ Award Part Two – Best Moment
So many late City winners to choose from, especially under Lambert and Farke. But for me, one stands out. We will let Chris Goreham take it from here…
The ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes’ Award – Childhood Idol
Things change as soon as someone younger than you plays for Norwich. It signals the end of the ‘when I grow up, I want to be a footballer’ chapter of your life. As a child, you can ‘be’ your favourite player in the back garden and have their name on your shirt without being seen as some sort of stalker. For me, that player was Justin Fashanu. With hindsight, my childhood attempts to recreate his volley against Liverpool really should have signalled the end of my ‘when I grow up, I want to be a footballer’ chapter.
The ‘Worth His Weight in Gold’ Award – Best value
Teemu Pukki was a free signing. Emi Buendia signed for a reported figure of £1.5 million. What they did for us was nothing short of phenomenal. Throw in the record fee received from Villa and there’s a compelling case for the five-feet-seven piece of football heaven. However, I’m going to nominate another diminutive midfield wizard on the basis that we got ten years of magic from him. The £400K we paid Blackpool for Wessi was repaid a million times over on the pitch by one of the greatest talents ever to play at Carrow Road.
The ‘Track and Trace’ Award – Biggest Waste of Money
Don’t believe the hype. I did, but it turned out that nobody was afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, because he was toothless. Did Hughton play to Ricky Van Wolfswinkel’s strengths? It’s hard to say because we never saw any. However, he was considered to be one of Europe’s hottest striking prospects until ‘along came Norwich’ with our club-record bid. What a shame. What a waste.
The ‘Kevin Muscat’ Award – Most Unlikeable Opposition Player
Controversially, I won’t be nominating the Aussie thug who tried to end Craig Bellamy’s career. Muscat was someone whose talents were limited to crunching more skilful players. It doesn’t excuse it but it wasn’t done to wind us up. That’s why I’ve shortlisted two perennial ear-cuppers and shushers. Players whose first instinct is to stick it to the opposition supporters rather than celebrate with their own. Jamie Vardy almost nicks it for shushing an imaginary crowd during lockdown but David Nugent gets my nomination on the basis that I had to endure that wind-up merchant’s celebrations on more occasions.
Now over to you…