David Freezer: Plenty of effort but Husband just couldn’t kick on at City
PUBLISHED: 14:41 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 26 July 2019
Sometimes transfers just don’t work out and James Husband has become the latest player to join a lengthy list of players who didn’t quite fit the Norwich City mould.
That's nothing specific to the Canaries of course, it's the same at every football club in the world. Players are always brought in with the best of intentions but sometimes it just doesn't click.
"I've come here to be Norwich's number three," Husband told us soon after signing from Middlesbrough. "I believe in myself and hopefully I'll do the job to show everybody that I'm more than capable of doing it."
Unfortunately for Husband, it didn't take long for Canaries fans to start questioning his suitability to Daniel Farke's system and once the energy and athleticism of Jamal Lewis returned from injury, it seemed his left-back hopes at City were already in trouble.
On paper Husband's arrival looked a decent bit of business during the first transfer window of Stuart Webber's reign, as the club's new sporting director set about a total rejuvenation on and off the pitch.
An outlay of just £500,000, potentially rising to £1million, looked reasonable for a player who had started playing Championship football as an 18-year-old with Doncaster Rovers.
The Leeds-born defender helped Donny bounce straight back as League One champions in 2013 but was unable to prevent relegation a year later, leading to a reported £500,000 move to Boro.
Just five appearances followed as he started on the fringes of Aitor Karanka's team at the Riverside and he finished the 2014-15 campaign with five games on loan at Fulham.
Again he was surplus to requirements at Boro and after the first half of 2015-16 back at Fulham, it was with Huddersfield that Husband's career started moving in the right direction - where Webber was working with David Wagner to make the Terriers upwardly mobile.
However, a serious shoulder injury wiped out 2016-17 and just one senior appearance during that campaign meant City's new sporting director was giving Husband a fresh start.
After missing the first pre-season run-outs under Farke, the full-back was able to get four friendly appearances under his belt and then started the opening five leagues games of the 2017-18 campaign.
Here's where a rather familiar and unwelcome reminder rears its ugly head though: the 4-0 loss at Millwall.
That humiliating day told Webber and Farke that they had a great deal of work to do if they were to start reversing City's fortunes, restricting Husband to appearances from the bench, as Marco Stiepermann was preferred in an unfamiliar position.
The high point of his Canaries career followed though, returning to the starting line-up and keeping the terrifying pace of Adama Traore quiet as he returned to former club Boro - with James Maddison spectacularly earning a 1-0 win on Teesside.
Again things tailed off though, as Husband struggled to find the defensive solidity or attacking edge to persuade Farke to persevere with him. A fifth yellow card, in just his 14th appearance, earned a one-game ban but he wasn't included in the five games which followed either.
By the time he was back on the bench, at Birmingham on Boxing Day, Lewis was making his first professional start and playing an impressive part in a much-needed 2-0 victory. All of a sudden Husband's prospects looked bleak. An academy star was emerging.
That fate was seemingly sealed in a dreadful 0-0 draw at Burton two days later, deemed too much for Lewis as he was returning from a knee injury. His most notable moment that day was a rollicking from Wes Hoolahan for appearing to go down easily in an attempt to win a penalty, rather than having a shot at goal.
Just four further appearances would follow for the Yorkshireman and even though one of those was a start at Birmingham on the first day of last season, that was due to Lewis being injured and even then he was replaced after an hour.
His loan to Fleetwood followed and fortunately for the 25-year-old he got 35 appearances under his belt to help Joey Barton's team finish mid-table in League One.
As he heads off to spend the new season at that level a few miles down the coast at Blackpool, his fresh loan effectively ends his time at Norwich, with his contract due to expire next summer.
With praise from Webber for his "hard work and professionalism" as he leaves, most City fans will wish him well in trying to build fresh personal momentum in League One. There will always be casualties of success and promotion means Husband now almost certainly won't get the chance to prove himself as a Canaries player.