Adrian Forbes well aware of the challenges facing Norwich City academy prospects
Former Norwich City winger Adrian Forbes has revealed how he almost missed his big chance at Carrow Road, after being cheeky to club legend Dave Stringer as a youngster.
The electric pace of the Londoner almost never made it into the first team, Forbes has admitted, while talking about his work with the Canaries academy.
The 36-year-old, who scored eight goals in 122 appearances for City between 1996 and 2001, now works as a foundation phase coach with the academy’s under-nine to under-11 age groups.
Having emerged from the academy at Colney to make his debut in August 1996, Forbes knows all too well about the challenges faced by young players.
“The catalyst was my sixth and final warning, when I was on the brink of being kicked out of the club,” Forbes said. “That was when I was a first-year scholar – I was 16 and I was rude to Dave Stringer, and he told me straight that I was done.
“I got a letter sent home, but I intercepted it! There was no way my mum and dad were going to see a letter saying that I was going to be kicked out. They know about it now, I told them around five years ago and I think my dad still tried to ground me then!
“After that, I got a phone call from Mike Walker and he told me that basically I’d got pre-season to prove myself. At that moment, I felt that the club had recognised something in me. They stuck by me, and I soon got my debut in the first team.
“That was the point where I realised that I couldn’t let those people down.”
Forbes says he is relishing being back on the pitches at Colney and is also enjoying working as an MC at Carrow Road on match days – even getting to gee up the Canaries support when taking the microphone at Wembley ahead of last season’s play-off final.
As a player he went on to play for Luton, Swansea and Blackpool in the lower leagues but looks back on his time with Norwich with a degree of frustration.
“I could have done more and I should have done better. If I’m honest with myself, I know that I was fortunate to play the amount of games that I did, but I look back at two things,” Forbes continued, speaking to City’s official website.
“Firstly I should have stayed and fought for my place when Nigel Worthington brought Mark Rivers in, and secondly, if I look at Craig Bellamy who came through as an under-12 all the way through to the first team, when I was going home in the afternoon Craig would go back out on the pitch and work on his own.
“It’s no surprise that he went on to play for the biggest clubs. I’m still happy with my career, but I felt in my head that I’d made it before I actually had.”