Iwan Roberts: Visit to Colney brought back memories of Norwich City training days
PUBLISHED: 22:48 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 22:48 03 October 2019
I had a lovely morning on Thursday at Norwich City’s training ground at Colney.
Director of football Stuart Webber invited me to present young Adam Idah with his debut shirt after his first appearance for the Norwich - in the League Cup away to Crawley.
Since I left the club in 2004 I can count on one hand how many times I've been back to the training ground. I went a couple of occasions to see my good friend Terry Postle, the former kit man, but since he left a good few years ago I've rarely ventured there - I got the feeling that as a former player certain past managers didn't want you anywhere near the place and, if I'm honest, I have no idea why, as I was never a threat to any of them.
Since Stuart took over I've been asked to go there twice and it's great going back and seeing how much the training ground has changed over the years; it is now unrecognisable and very impressive. I think it's a great idea to get former players to go to Colney and present players with their debut shirts - I've never seen or heard of it happening at any other club.
What is a breath of fresh air is the kind welcome you get from Stuart, Daniel and the players - they seem to have a respect and an appreciation for what you did for Norwich City and treat you accordingly.
After presenting Adam with his shirt I was asked if I wanted to stay and watch the lads train and have some lunch with Stuart, which I gladly accepted. The standard and the tempo of training was excellent and if the lads replicate what I saw on Thursday then I'm convinced they can make it three consecutive home wins against Villa.
Back in the day, Friday sessions were the ones we all looked forward to as it was a relatively short one, but it was always high intensity and the quality was top class and there was a good reason for it! Fridays was young versus old day and believe you me, no one held back - you didn't want to be on the losing side.
I swear if us oldies lost you wouldn't hear the last of it from the likes of Craig Bellamy and Phil Mulryne, who were never short of something to pipe up about; you'd have thought they'd just won the Premier League the way they celebrated and went on and on about it.
Luckily them beating us didn't happen that often. How we did not pick up bad injuries in these games I'll never know as nobody held back - it was full blood and guts commitment from everyone and Nigel Worthington loved every second of it. It's how he wanted training every day. It was a matter of you trained like you would play a game and I agreed wholeheartedly with his way of thinking.
I guess with Norwich's record against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park over the past 23 years, the struggles they've had in their previous three away games and given the club's shocking injury crisis it wasn't a real shock that Norwich returned empty-handed from South-East London.
That makes it four consecutive away defeats, with just one goal scored, which has to be a big concern for all involved. It is a complete contrast to the lads' home form where they simply can't stop finding the back of the net and winning games - let's hope for more of the same on Saturday afternoon at Carrow Road when Aston Villa make the journey down the M6, A14 and A11.
Villa's away record this season is nearly as poor as Norwich's - they've lost their three away games, including a 1-0 defeat at Selhurst Park, and if their recent record at Carrow Road carries on and if Norwich play like they did against Newcastle and Manchester City then I can only see a fifth consecutive defeat for Villa down here and we will all put those Burnley and Palace defeats behind us.