It's a picture that I've seen on countless occasions throughout the years since my Norwich City exit - but all is not what it may seem when it comes to the story behind it. 

It was 1994 and speculation surrounding my departure from Norwich had reached a fever pitch following the 93/94 campaign that saw me score 25 Premier League goals. 

That season was special for me as an individual but ended in frustrating fashion after manager Mike Walker departed to Everton in January and Ruel Fox left to join Newcastle in February. 

What gets forgotten a lot is that I signed a new contract at Norwich in the December of that season - part of those negotiations included reassurance that Mike would remain at the club and there be a suitable amount of ambition to push on and achieve after two really successful seasons that saw us challenge for the title and then compete in Europe. 

Upon putting pen to paper on that deal, I thought, perhaps naively, that I would stay at Norwich City forever. I had such an affinity with the club and love for the area that it was difficult to think of living and playing football anywhere else. 

But losing Mike was a major blow. He was similar to my dad in that he was firm but fair and masterminded one of the best periods in the club's history. 

Ruel's departure felt like I'd lost my right arm. He was my best friend and is still severely underrated for what he achieved at Norwich - that made my mind up that I wanted to leave the football club. 

It wasn't an act of disrespect but of ambition. At that time, I felt Norwich lacked both the resources and willpower to establish themselves at the top of the Premier League. I wanted to win things. 

As is the case with football, informal contact was made from clubs towards the end of that season. 

Manchester United managed by Sir Alex Ferguson, Roy Evans' Liverpool and Tottenham all displayed strong interest but it came down to two clubs - Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal. 

When Kenny Dalglish picked up the phone to make his interest clear, I was like a nodding dog.

Anyone who loves football is aware of the awe he possesses - add in the prospect of playing alongside Alan Shearer and they finished behind Manchester United in the table that season, so it was a really appealing move. 

I quickly made my mind up to sign for Blackburn and travelled up to the North West. I met the chairman, Robert Coar, at his house and signed terms on a five-year contract there and then. Norwich had agreed a fee with Blackburn and they gave me permission to talk to the club.

But I wasn't allowed to tell anyone; I was sworn to secrecy by Robert Chase and told not to divulge to anyone that I was a Blackburn Rovers player.

At that press conference, he spoke about the club being willing to 'test the waters' over my potential exit providing the fee was a British record. 

The Pink Un: Chris Sutton joined Blackburn from Norwich in a £5m deal - a British record. Chris Sutton joined Blackburn from Norwich in a £5m deal - a British record. (Image: PA Images)

But when I sat down alongside Chase, I wasn't just close to leaving Norwich, I was already a Blackburn player. The ink had dried on the contract and the deal was done. 

Chase briefed me on what his message was going to be. I agreed to go along with it and knew I had to put on a poker face - after all, I wasn't certain how many people knew that I was no longer a Norwich player. 

To my knowledge, the only people who were aware of that was Chase, both club secretaries, Coar, Dalglish, my dad and a representative from the PFA. It was a really tight circle. 

Everything about the deal was done by the book. The press conference was an attempt by Chase to message my departure to the Norwich fans after his comment: 'If Chris Sutton is not here at the start of next season, neither will I be'. 

He was trying to dig himself out of that hole through that press conference. It was an act of escapology that Houdini would have been proud of - whether Norwich fans bought it, or not, is another matter. 

There was also a comment made by Chase about 'loosening the pursestrings'. But what did that mean? Norwich nor he had the finances to do that. 

He got absolutely hammered after the deal was finally made official. Football fans aren't forgiving when it comes to things like that - it was a lesson in why words matter and why you have to be careful how you use them. 

But I wasn't leaving against my will. It was what I wanted. I was ambitious and, in hindsight, it was a move that benefitted both parties.

I went on to lift the Premier League with Blackburn the following season, Norwich were unfortunately relegated in the same year.

Upon my return to Carrow Road the following season, I actually met with Chase and got a nice reception from Norwich fans that I will always be grateful for, although they weren't as generous when I slotted past Bryan Gunn early on during that contest. 

I always found Chase to be pleasant to deal with - he is a typical Norfolk man with a really dry sense of humour. He was a wily chairman and always put the interests of the club first. His spell at the club was not perfect, but nobody is. 

He was key to the construction of the new training ground at Colney, which was paid for by my transfer fee, and the development of Carrow Road. He oversaw one of the most successful periods in the club's history. 

Chase left himself open to criticism and although plenty can be disputed, it is hard to argue against the fact that he did a lot of good during his time at Norwich. 

The night before I left Norwich for Blackburn, a leaving party ended up getting out of hand and I found myself, much to my regret, getting arrested. Chase actually let me stay at his house that night before I flew up to my new club the next day - I'll always be grateful for that. 

He will always be a much-maligned figure at Norwich City - but I hope supporters are grateful for the positive work he did at the club, something which built the foundations for Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones to take on subsequently. 

The Pink Un: Kenny McLean has signed a new contract at Norwich City.Kenny McLean has signed a new contract at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)


I was delighted to hear the news that Kenny McLean had signed a new contract at Norwich City. 

Kenny is somebody I know from his time up in Scotland and we spoke on numerous occasions during his time at Aberdeen. It was clear to me then what a great character he is to have around a dressing room. 

Dean Smith described him recently as being a 'players player' and he is right. McLean is committed, experienced and dedicated to the cause at hand. It's easy to see why he is so respected inside the walls at Colney. 

This season, he has been asked to play in unfamiliar roles for the sake of the team. 

I have real sympathy with him on that front - it was something that I had to endure throughout my career and playing unfamiliar roles is incredibly difficult, It's just about performing them to the best of your ability whilst knowing that some criticism will come your way. 

Even when he has found himself at left-back, he has never complained and has also put the interests of the team ahead of his own. Fans shouldn't underestimate that, especially at Championship level. 

Like every player he has his limitations but he is still an incredibly valuable midfield option. The fact he was so prominent under both Daniel Farke and Smith should speak volumes. 

His value becomes clear when you look at the youthful nature of Norwich's squad and the fact they have recruited two players in Gabriel Sara and Marcelino Nunez from South America - who better to learn the rigours of the English game from? 

McLean always offers a level of consistency. That is so important for any manager - those are the players who, although not match-winners, you can rely upon to carry the team when others are having dips in their performance levels. 

In many ways, it could have been easier for McLean to leave in the summer and return to Scotland. The fact he hasn't taken that option displays how much affection he has for the football club and the area. 

Norwich have always enjoyed a special affinity with Scottish players - I believe when McLean's exit does come in the future, he will be remembered fondly for his contribution. 

The club still have a number of players - most noticeably Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell - out of contract this summer, I'm sure Stuart Webber has utilised this period to begin negotiations to extend their stays in Norfolk.