Norwich City have upset Arsenal in the League Cup before...
Ahead of Norwich City’s clash with Arsenal tonight, DAVID FREEZER delves into the archives to look back on a famous cup quarter-final triumph which left Arsenal shell-shocked at Highbury.
League Cup glory at Arsenal may look a big ask of Norwich City tonight but Daniel Farke’s squad can take inspiration from the history books.
Back in November 1972 it was a League Cup quarter-final that was being contested and, as you can see from our coverage, it was a memorable night for a number of reasons.
Not only did the Canaries pull off an unexpected 3-0 victory over one of the country’s best teams at the time but there was also a worrying injury scare for captain Duncan Forbes.
The legendary Scottish defender finished the night in hospital after suffering a slightly punctured lung when challenging for a header at a corner at Highbury, coming off shortly before half-time.
Graham Paddon was the hero of the night, in front of a crowd of over 37,000, scoring a hat-trick which secured another fantastic cup success over the Gunners for City.
Norwich teams throughout the years managed just four wins in 28 attempts at the famous former home of the north London giants.
The first was a notable giant-killing in 1952, when Norman Low’s team won 2-1 in the FA Cup fourth round. Two headers from Tom Johnstone were enough for the win, after Bobby Brennan had missed a penalty in the second minute for the visitors.
Alex Forbes and Brennan were sent off for fighting in the 33rd minute but it was still the Third Division South side who came out on top of their First Division opponents, with the likes of Ron Ashman, Johnny Gavin and Roy McCrohan in the City team.
Wednesday, November 21, 1972 was less of a giant-killing due to Ron Saunders’ team having just become the first Norwich side to be promoted to the top flight.
Arsenal, on the other hand, had reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup the previous season and went on to narrowly miss out on the title to Liverpool later in the campaign.
The Gunners team included big names including Pat Rice, John Radford, Frank McLintock, Charlie George and World Cup winner Alan Ball.
Eastern Evening News reporter Keith Skipper wrote: “This was no fresh chapter in the story of an unfashionable club with a flair for cup shocks. The Canaries went to Highbury to tackle Arsenal on equal terms, and left them ragged, unrecognisable as challengers to the First Division pacemakers.”
The three goals came from popular striker Paddon, who possessed a fearsome left foot and scored 37 goals in 340 games across two spells with City – who passed away unexpectedly aged 57 at his Norfolk home in November 2007.
Victory at Highbury kept City on course for their first ever Wembley final, beating Chelsea 3-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals before losing 1-0 to Tottenham at the national stadium.
Tonight it is a quarter-final place up for grabs for Farke’s men, who go into the match on the back of five successive away wins and looking to become the first Canaries team to win at the Gunners’ new home, the Emirates Stadium.
The other wins at Highbury came on the final day of 1986-87, when goals from Ian Crook and Trevor Putney secured a 2-1 win for Ken Brown’s team in the First Division, and the opening day of the Premiership era.
The Canaries famously hit back from 2-0 down at half-time on that day, when a Mark Robins brace was sandwiched by goals from David Phillips and Ruel Fox, as Mike Walker’s side began their march to third place in the top flight.
The closest City have come to winning since Arsenal moved to the Emirates in 2006, in four attempts, was a 3-3 draw in May 2012, sealed by a fine 85th-minute strike by Steve Morison.
Arsenal 0 Norwich City 3 – Weds, Nov 21, 1972
Arsenal: Barnett, Rice, McNab, Storey, McLintock, Simpson, Marinello, Ball, Radford, George, Kelly. Sub: Kennedy
Norwich: Keelan, Butler, Black, Stringer, Forbes, Briggs, Livermore, Bone, Cross, Paddon, Anderson. Sub: Howard
Why cup clash will live long in the memory for one City fan...
For lifelong fan Richard Durrant, City’s 3-0 League Cup win at Arsenal will always be a highlight. Here, Mr Durrant paints a vivid picture of an historic day in his early love affair with the Canaries.
“November 21, 1972 holds treasured memories for me. My father was a very busy man, a self-employed wholesaler of plants and shrubs and never really had time to come with me to watch the Canaries. I was 16 at the time and studying for my A levels. Yet on this day we ended up going together to Covent Garden market from our Lowestoft base and only on the way there did he tell me he had a surprise – we were going to Highbury to watch Arsenal versus City in the League Cup quarter-final. I used to watch most home games and a few away, usually hitch-hiking to Carrow Road from Lowestoft, or if I could afford it come on the bus or train.
“I always had my City scarf with me and so was pleased to have it then and looked forward to an exciting night ahead. We unloaded his lorry and made our way to Highbury.
“I proudly wore my scarf and the Arsenal fans were quite cocky and patronising, saying how brilliant Charlie George was and that we were in for a thrashing. I did tell some of them that we too had our starlet in Graham Paddon, but little did I know that he was to play the game of his life.
“As we got to the ground I realised that the tickets Dad had acquired were for the North Stand, the main Arsenal end. I decided it might be prudent to hide my scarf as we made our way into this stand, putting it under my jacket. That was probably a wise decision as I don’t know if I would be hear to tell the tale if I had not. I was disappointed not to be with the 1,400 or so Canaries fans at the other end but thrilled to be there, for what turned out to be an historic occasion.
“I can’t remember too many details, except Paddon played his heart out and scored a hat trick in a brilliant 3-0 victory for the Canaries. When the first goal was scored I did manage a small celebration but when two and three were scored, dad and I merely exchanged a cheerful smirk as the Arsenal fans around us were getting increasingly frustrated. As the third went in many Arsenal fans made their exit, though Dad and I stayed to the very end of course.
“We were able to applaud the team along with some of the more gracious Arsenal fans after the final whistle.
“This will always be a treasured memory for me, not just because of the wonderful result, but also this was the only time Dad accompanied me to a City match.
“I’m not sure how exactly this came about but I think a business contact may have given him the tickets and he knew how much I would have enjoyed the experience.
“A few years later Dad died rather suddenly, aged just 51 (I was only 22 at the time) and so this will always remain very special for me.
“We of course got all the way to Wembley in the competition that season and I was pleased to go to Chelsea in the semi-final, when the chorus of ‘On the ball, City’ was sung for the first time in many years. I also went to Wembley itself for the final against Tottenham, when I actually organised a coach from Lowestoft.
“This was quite an event as on the way to Wembley the coach made a toilet stop at Tottenham Hale bus station, Around 40 or so school mates on the bus couldn’t resist donning their scarves and marching around this part of Tottenham chanting ‘City, City’ to the bemused look on the faces of the locals. That was quite a highlight, even if we did go on to lose the final 1-0.”