Norwich City Season Guide
Nickname: The Canaries
Ground: Carrow Road, Norwich NR1 1JE
Ticket Office: 0870 444 1902 or email@example.com
Home - Yellow shirts with green panels, green shorts and yellow socks
Away - Dark and light green striped shirts, green socks and shorts
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|Last Season - Premiership return||Position: Div One champions|
The Canaries had flirted with a return to the Premiership in recent years, though they inevitably retreated to mid-table by spring, except for one memorable Play-off final defeat to Birmingham City. But last season, under the expert guidance of Nigel Worthington, Norwich earned an automatic place, lifting the title in the process. Celebrity director, and largest shareholder, Delia Smith took a calculated gamble in December, sanctioning the signings of Premiership duo Darren Huckerby and Matthias Svensson, following early season loan spells for both Huckerby and Aston Villa's Peter Crouch. Huckerby, in particular, came with a considerable wage burden but he repaid the Canaries' faith with some excellent match winning performances, netting 14 goals, and creating numerous others, in 36 games as Norwich won the championship by eight points.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Youssef Safri (Coventry) - £500,000
Simon Charlton (Bolton) - £250,000
Gary Doherty (Tottenham) - Undisc.
Mattias Jonson (Brondby) - Undisclosed
Darren Ward (Nottm Forest) - Undisclosed
Paul Gallacher (Dundee U) - Free
Thomas Helveg (Inter Milan) - Free
David Bentley (Arsenal) - Loan
Clint Easton (Wycombe) - Free
Mark Rivers (Crewe) - Free
Iwan Roberts (Gillingham) - Free
Dean Sinclair (Barnet) - Free
Keith Briggs (Crewe) - Loan
Paul Crichton - Released
|First Choice XI|
GK Robert Green; RB Thomas Helveg, CB Malky Mackay, CB Craig Fleming, LB Adam Drury; RM Mattias Jonson, CM Youssef Safri, CM Gary Holt, LM Darren Huckerby; CF Mathias Svensson, CF David Bentley.
|The Gaffer - Nigel Worthington|
Former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United defender Worthington was not the fans' first choice when appointed as Bryan Hamilton's successor in December 2000, but since he has earned a reputation as one of the best young managers in the game, putting behind him a disappointing spell as Blackpool boss. Big things are now expected of the former Northern Ireland international, and should he make a good impression in the Premiership he may get the chance to manage a more established top-flight club. This season, however, is all about survival and he is more likely to follow in Gary Megson's footsteps - planning another promotion season in 2005/06. While realists in the club fully expect to be relegated, the Canaries will attempt to do it playing attractive and attacking football.
|Player to Watch - Robert Green|
Goalkeeper Green shot to prominence in March when Sven Goran Eriksson selected him in the England squad to face Sweden. He travelled to Gothenberg as the fourth choice stopper, but Eriksson was keen to have a look at a player who had been receiving rave reviews in the Nationwide League. The 24-year-old was strongly linked with a move to Manchester City last season, and over the summer there was also talk of him becoming Jens Lehmann's understudy at Arsenal. If Norwich are to have any chance of avoiding the drop he will have to be in top form, but most supporters believe this will be his swansong with the Norfolk club. If Norwich are relegated there will be no shortage of suitors The local lad has a healthy attitude to the game (always a smile and a wave for the fans) who has excelled at lower levels and has every chance (and opportunity) to get to the very top.
|Young Gun - Ian Henderson|
This talented young forward broke into the first team as a 17-year-old in 2002/03, scoring on only his second appearance against Wimbledon. Henderson came into the side at the same time as the younger Ryan Jarvis who, as a central striker, has gained more attention. However, it could be Henderson that shines in the Premiership, and he is capable of winning a place on the flank as well as up front. He has the pace and skill to embarrass some big names. Other young players on the verge of making an impression in the first team are Jason Shackell, a young central defender, and Joe Lewis, tipped to take over from Robert Green between the sticks.
|From the terraces|
Norwich City's return to the Premiership following a nine-year absence has been greeted with great joy and anticipation by all City fans. After City's success last season, everyone concerned with the club are now looking forward to the challenge of remaining in the Premiership.
A few shrewd signings from manager Nigel Worthington, including Arsenal's rising star, David Bentley, on a season long loan, Youssef Safri from Coventry, Simon Charlton from Bolton (or is that Simon Bolton from Charlton?), Scottish international goalkeeper Paul Gallacher, and most recently the excellent signing of Danish international Thomas Helveg, has led many fans to believe that survival is a realistic prospect.
In a tough league, avoiding relegation will be difficult, but City could surprise a number of people this season. With a number of quality players, including England keeper Robert Green, left-back Adam Drury and Darren Huckerby up-front, a good team spirit and a great determination could see City remaining in the Premiership for the foreseeable future.
As City are the Premiership new boys, many fans may not be that familiar with the club, so check out Green and Yellow's Beginner's Guide to Norwich City FC.
Following a remarkable 2003/04 the whole of Norfolk wait with anticipation for start of our first Premiership season in nine long years.
With the national press already preparing their usual feast of cookery related puns in expectation of our abject failure, Norwich might just leave some journalists with egg on their face come May.
The exciting Darren Huckerby is joined in attack by Arsenal starlet David Bentley, ex-Charlton striker Matt Svensson and Leon McKenzie who managed nine goals in just 12 starts last season.
Norwich have been handed a tricky start but if players like Huckerby, Drury and McKenzie can stay fit Norwich might just prove their doubters wrong
Last season I said that we would struggle to even make the play offs and this was a club on the downward spiral. Maybe this season I should predict the same, just so Worthington and the players can prove me wrong again.
However, there's been enough negative stuff written about the canaries, from all the so called experts. They say we havent a hope, yet I'm strangely confident. The team is better than the other two promoted sides and arguably better than Man City, Everton and Pompey.
With a future England goalkeeper, a solid defence, a tight midfield and the pace of Bentley and Huckerby, the club will surprise a few in not just staying up, but maybe staying up before April. All we need is that goalscoring striker and we might be worth a bet on the handicap.
Someone's got to say it: Norwich will be relegated from the Premiership this season. We won't play very well, we won't score very many goals and we won't scare anybody with our skillful, unthreatening brand of football. (On the other hand, we will scare young children and animals with our kit.)
This is not news. It's not controversial. It's not our fault. In fact, this whole Premiership business has nothing to do with us. The greatest years in our wonderful, happy club's history were only a decade ago - leading the Premiership with six weeks to go in '92, beating Bayern in the UEFA Cup, FA Cup semis - but we lost the plot at the wrong time. Money got in the way.
The whole game has changed utterly and there is No Way Whatsoever that a club on our resources can compete over the season with clubs that have stockpiled their filthy Premiership lucre.
Chelsea spend more on prawn cocktails than we do on transfers. Our record signing - remember Jon Newsome? - arrived ten years ago! Our squad is small. (It's short, too. At least we'll never resort to the long-ball game.) Let's face it: we are cannon fodder and if they could change the rules, the Premiership wouldn't let us in in the first place.
But - who cares? Roll on next year. One flight down is our level: we win more games than we lose; we can play our attractive, inventive football; we don't get laughed at (or worse, pitied) by opposing fans.
And, outside the Premiership, we remain unaffected by the ugly and vicious pursuit of cash and celebrity which is killing the game. It's not a lack of ambition, rather a mark of honour, that means we're better off out of the Premiership. Which we will be, by about the second week in March...
|Best - Safety||Worst - Relegation|
Although Norwich are one of the hot favourites for relegation, they have made some very astute signings which should enable them to cause a few upsets this season. Simon Charlton had a fine 2003/04 with Bolton and will add vital experience, while the signings of Danish international skipper Helveg and Swedish winger Jonson could prove to be a masterstroke. Arsenal forward David Bentley also looks to be a shrewd acquisition. Not since Nottingham Forest 1998/99 have the First Division champions failed to stay in the Premiership - giving the Canaries hope of extending their stay in the top flight.