Norwich City top 100 appearances: Roy McCrohan (6) - Infectious, enthusiastic, inspirational - that was Roy
PUBLISHED: 07:03 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:31 03 July 2017
In the latest in our series looking at Norwich City's top 100 appearance makers, we turn the spotlight on one of the legendary 59ers, Roy McCrohan.
426 appearances/20 goals
Roy McCrohan’s career ended in the best way possible – holding aloft a trophy.
McCrohan was a member of the famous 59ers FA Cup team, and, in 1962, the team which won the League Cup, over two legs, against Rochdale – in what proved to be his final appearance.
He had an 11-year career at Carrow Road which, amazingly, included a seven-year spell when he missed only 11 games for the first team. He also made 101 appearances for the reserves.
McCrohan played in a variety of positions, usually in defence, but was captain just once – for a 4-4 draw against his former club Reading (where he made four appearances before his move to Norwich) at Elm Park in March 1954.
McCrohan was born in Reading, and although he spent the majority of his career with City he went on to appear for Colchester United and Bristol Rovers.
His playing career with Rovers, for whom he signed in August 1964, took in 10 league games and one goal in the 1964/65 campaign and he was named as Rovers’ first appointed substitute in the Football League, on the opening day of the 1965/66 season but was unused and never appeared in the league after.
He later coached at Rovers, Aldershot, Fulham and Ipswich Town – the final two roles alongside Bobby Robson, and was assistant manager at Luton Town, having met their manager Harry Haslam during his time at Fulham.
When Haslam took over at Kenilworth Road in 1972 McCrohan became his head coach.
In December, 1977. He moved to the US and became an assistant coach for the Detroit Express for the 1978 NASL season.
He was made head coach of the Minnesota Kicks at the end of 1978. Much of his time in the US was spent living in Tallahassee, Florida, and in 1993 he brought a touring youth side from Tallahassee to Norwich.
McCrohan returned to Carrow Road in January, 2009, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 1958-59 Cup run – few will forget the huge smile he wore as he and his fellow team-mates walked around the pitch soaking up applause from the crowd.
He died, at the age of 84, in Exmouth after a long battle with illness.
After his death his widow Mary said: “Roy loved his time with Norwich and always spoke about the club and the people there, the players and of course the supporters, in the very fondest of terms.
“He came back for reunions when he could.
“Norwich City Football Club was just a massive part of his life.”
The contribution McCrohan made to the club was summed up in a letter to this newspaper by the late David Batley:
“The passing of former Norwich City star Roy McCrohan is very sad and revives vivid memories of a remarkable period in the rich history of our great football club.
“I recall standing on the terraces, open to the elements, which at times included heavy rain, hail and even snow, watching our struggling team in the third tier of English football.
“The future looked bleak when Archie Macaulay arrived and, with little money to spend, changed various players’ positions, which included switching McCrohan from a forward to a then wing-half.
“He introduced a classy brand of attacking football and a miracle was born.
“There followed the legendary Cup run which swept aside some of the country’s finest teams and ended only in an unlucky defeat after a replay in the semi-final.
“A star in this run, which captured the imagination of the entire country, was the effervescent Roy McCrohan, whose infectious enthusiasm was an inspiration.
“The wing-half also represented an era in English football when the administrators seemed to have more common sense than their modern counterparts.
“The many red cards which ruin matches, distort results and encourage cheating were nonexistent.
“Clubs had reserve teams playing weekly competitive football and massive crowds stood in perfect safety in grounds throughout the country (I stood in crowds of up to 44,000 at Carrow Road).
“The fresh, enthusiastic and disciplined approach of Roy McCrohan to the game encapsulated the spirit and enjoyment of those halcyon days. He will be sadly missed and my condolences go out to his wife and family.”