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Thursday, May 24, 2012
Norwich fans in their thousands, approximately 3,000 Celtic fans, and stars past present and future from both clubs turned out on Tuesday at Carrow Road to honour Adam Drury. Players from both sides and a pipe band formed a guard of honour as Drury came on to the pitch with his two children in appreciation of his great service to our club.
Drury joined the Canaries from Peterborough United in March 2001, since when he has clocked up eleven years’ service and played 328 senior games for the club. He was Player of the Year in 2002-3 and club captain from 2003-4 and 2006-7. As captain, he lifted the Division 1 championship trophy in 2003. Whether as club captain, Player of the Year, on the substitute’s bench, or suited and booted on the non playing players bench, he has been a great servant of the club, a model professional, and a model of loyalty, reliability, and stability. Never prone to histrionics, Drury has always been there when his club needed him.
He richly deserved the honour of a testimonial match against the Scottish champions in his eleventh season with the club. When he left Peterborough to join Norwich, the then Posh manager, Barry Fry, described him as the best full back outside the Premier League. For once, Fry was not exaggerating.
The match was played in a great spirit. Celtic put out a young side, and were roared on by 3,000 fans who had made the long journey down from Glasgow. The Celtic fans enjoyed themselves in the balmy Norfolk sunshine. Several of them had consumed at least a couple of drinks and at least one brave soul was seen swimming in the river. I do not know if the local pike, perch and rudd were impressed by his tackle. But the Celtic fans were peaceful and good humoured and I heard of no reports of trouble.
The Celtic fans joined with the City fans in paying tribute to Paul Lambert, who has served both clubs with such distinction, albeit in different capacities. I suspect that many fans on both sides were secretly disappointed that Lambert did not grace the occasion by playing in the game for at least a few minutes. Maybe he could not decide which team to turn out for.
Norwich put out a different team in each half. Almost all of our first team squad appeared at some stage, as did George Francomb, and there were cameo appearances for former City players Michael Nelson, Henri Lansbury, and Daniel Pacheco, as well as Darren Huckerby who was there to support his great pal Adam. Former Canaries John Hartson and Dion Dublin were also in attendance - in the stands but not on the pitch.
For the record the result was a 2-0 win for Norwich. Vaughan and Lansbury scored the goals. But the result did not really matter. What did matter on Tuesday night was that a modest and great servant of Norwich City Football Club received recognition for his 11 years of unselfish service and contribution to the success and history of our club. Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of the evening, but above all: Thank you Ads and well done.
Given the changing nature of football, it may be many years before another player clocks up 11 years continuous service for our club. Most Norwich fans are just hoping and praying that Grant Holt is still at Carrow Road for a fourth successive season, and that Paul Lambert is too. There has been much speculation in the press about both of them. I suppose the speculation about the manager will only go away when new managers are appointed at Villa, Liverpool, and Chelski. Personally I do not think Lambert is maybe not sufficiently well established nor sufficiently media savvy to be a contender for the jobs at Anfield or Stamford Bridge. And Villa not only finished below City in the Premier League last year, but are currently looking for their third manager in just over a year. Given their recent comical history my money is on Jasper Carrott to take that poisoned chalice.
As for Holty there are many unanswered questions about the real reason for his transfer request. Does he want more money? Does he want a guarantee that he will start every game and not be substituted? Does he want to be the highest earner at the club? Does he want to move back up north? Does he want guarantees about Lambert still being at the helm next year?
I have heard all these theories but I do not know which one (if any) to believe.
He seems to have been dissatisfied about something “personal”. At least he and his agent have had an early meeting with the chief executive of the club to try and resolve the matter, which to my mind suggests that the problem is relatively minor and can be sorted out soon. Let us hope so. The bond between the fans and our hero centre-forward is deep, and vital to the success of our club next season.
Whatever happens there will certainly be players coming into our squad next season and players leaving. Thanks to Adam for a great finale to the season. Roll on summer. Let us get the Olympics and jubilee over as quickly as possible. I am interested in neither gold, nor silver, nor bronze. I care not one jot or tittle for diamond. I care only for Yellows, Yellows, Yellows. I cannot wait till our next adventure in the Premier League begins next season.