Huckerby decision 'tough call' - Roeder

PUBLISHED: 16:41 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:34 10 September 2010

David Cuffley

City boss Glenn Roeder today described the decision to release Darren Huckerby as a “tough call” - but said he would not have been a regular first team player had he stayed next season.

City boss Glenn Roeder today described the decision to release Darren Huckerby as a “tough call” - but said he would not have been a regular first team player next season.

The 32-year-old star forward was told on Tuesday he would not be offered a new contract after four and a half years at Carrow Road.

“Don't let anyone think that the decision to let Darren Huckerby go was taken quickly or without great thought,” said Roeder.

Roeder said Huckerby had done “amazing” things for the Canaries and was rightly a hero with supporters, but he had already targeted two players in the same position for next season.

He also rejected criticism of the timing of the announcement, two days after the final match of the season at Sheffield Wednesday, saying: “I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about. When the season's finished, most other clubs let you know, or the supporters know, which players are being retained or not. Anyone who looks on that as a slight against Darren is completely wrong. They've got their angles all cock-eyed. It's nonsense.

“I'm not a fence-sitter and I don't let other people make decisions for me. I listen to people I respect and then I make the decision myself. I'll take the pats on the back and I'll take a slap as well.

“They come and they go. The man is a hero at this football club and rightly so and will always be welcome and I look forward to seeing him.”

Huckerby played 203 times for City, scoring 48 goals, and was player of the season twice. Roeder said the decision to release him had not been easy.

“It was a tough call. It wasn't a decision that was made easily or quickly,” he said.

“I've seen by the reaction of our supporters at the last game against QPR how dear Darren is to them and rightly so. The things that he did here were quite amazing for the club, but Darren Huckerby would never ever be - and I wouldn't expect him to be - a player that was in the team, out of the team. He's earned the right to be a first team player wherever he goes, week in, week out.

“And I've targeted one or two players that are a lot younger I think I can bring to the club that play in that position and hopefully give us good service, so I could never have imagined Darren Huckerby in the role of not being guaranteed a place.

“I think there comes a time for certain players - and Darren would be one of those - that if you're not going to be one of the first couple on the teamsheet, maybe it's time to move on.”

Roeder said he had encouraged Huckerby to pursue his ambition of playing overseas, with the player linked more than once with moves to the USA or Canada.

“He's always had an ambition to play abroad, he's told me that a number of times,” said Roeder.

“Terry Venables would always say to us 'If you're going to have regrets in life, regret doing it. Don't regret not doing it'. And I said to Darren, 'If that is your ambition, to play abroad, do it. Don't become an old man and regret not doing it and saying to yourself, if only I'd have gone abroad and played'.

“If he's got this opportunity, that he keeps telling me he has, he should take it with both hands.”

Roeder again rubbished suggestions that he and Huckerby did not see eye to eye.

“Contrary to popular belief, we never had a bad day of any consequence whatever. We had plenty of good days. Every single player here occasionally gets a little bit of that temper I've got, but he's a fantastic professional,” he said.

“You couldn't make him have a day off. You nearly had to lock the gates to stop him coming in on a day off, because I actually think a day off is at times part of the training schedule. It's important to rest your body. But he always liked to come in and make his body as strong as it possibly could be.

“I haven't got anything other to say to Darren than 'Well done for the career you've had at Norwich, and for me, personally, thank you for what you've done in the short time that I've been here. I wish you and your family all the luck in the world'.

“I've told him if he does go abroad and the seasons, the playing times, are different and he's back in this country, don't stay at home and get under your wife's feet, come up here and use our facilities - and he said thank you.

“I'm sure we're going to see him around the place next year. The only difference is he won't be wearing the Norwich shirt, but I've had a couple of targets in mind for three or four months now that I hope will be coming here, as I've spoken about last month, new heroes. You can't spend your life in the past and I don't want to.

“We move on with really a new team next year and I feel pretty confident that I will land at least one or two of those players I'm talking about that I can't tell you about at this moment in time. If I get one in particular that I'm talking about, it will be lovely, a real pleasant surprise. Maybe the landing will be a bit softer than people are trying to make out it is at the moment.”

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