Andrew Crofts reveals how City defied the PL odds before

Andrew Crofts is now part of Brighton's backroom team Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Andrew Crofts is now part of Brighton's backroom team Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Former Norwich City midfielder Andrew Crofts knows what it takes to be part of a Canaries' squad who defied the odds to stay up in the Premier League.

Crofts is now with the development coaching set-up at Brighton, and was at the Amex to watch the Seagulls' 2-0 top flight win over his old club.

The ex-Welsh international was a key member of a City squad who earned promotion from the Championship and then comfortably stayed up in their first season back in the big time.

Paul Lambert's underdogs proved the doubters wrong touting them for the drop.

"As a team we slowly got into our stride and although we never took it for granted, we felt like we belonged," he said. "We ended up in 12th, which was a fantastic achievement. You dream about it (playing in the Premier League) as a child, and that feeling stays with you when you turn professional, so to have the opportunity was a bit surreal really.

"In fact that feeling stayed with me for the first part of the season when you're playing all these great teams, in these amazing stadiums and against some of the best players in the world."

Crofts, speaking in the Brighton matchday programme, admitted he did not expect to be joining a Premier League-bound outfit when he originally moved in 2010.

"I remember the first squad meeting when we came in for pre-season," he said. "The team had just come up but weren't happy to consolidate in the Championship. They wanted to go straight up again and felt they were good enough to do it.

"I was like, 'wow, that is some statement,' but I was well up for the challenge and ready to give it a right good go. As I said, the momentum was there and we had some very good players. It was a great team with a great spirit."

The one-time all-action midfielder is fondly remembered by Norwich fans for a brace at Barnsley on the march to Championship promotion - including a stunning finish.

"My second goal won the goal of the season award," he said. "The fans were saying it was reminiscent of the famous goal Justin Fashanu scored back in the day against Liverpool.

"We also won both derby games against Ipswich, and the city was buzzing after that, but the best was when we won at Portsmouth to clinch promotion. It was an amazing feeling to know we'd be playing in the Premier League."

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