'The atmosphere was great for a charity game' - Legendary City boss loved his Carrow Road return
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:17 21 May 2018
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
It may have been a charity exhibition but you can't take the competitive streak out of a football manager's personality.
Former boss Mike Walker made his return to the Carrow Road dugout on Sunday but admitted he was disappointed his Norwich City Legends were edged out 2-1 by Inter Forever.
“It was great, okay it was for charity but it was pleasant to be here because it was a tremendous crowd, I couldn’t believe it, the atmosphere was great for a charity game,” said Walker.
“Both teams gave it their best and made it value for money, the players gave everything on a hot day. Obviously there were one or two that were a bit older so were a bit unfit – but I’m just a bit disappointed we lost to be honest.
“I thought we could easily have drawn at least, so a good day.”
An impressive crowd of almost 18,000 packed in to Carrow Road to roll back the years and help raise funds for the Community Sports Foundation’s new hub, The Nest.
They saw Inter take the lead through a fantastic free-kick from World Cup winner Marco Materazzi and a John Polston own goal but enjoyed Paul McVeigh reducing the deficit in the second half, with Darren Eadie, Darren Huckerby and Iwan Roberts in the thick of the build-up play.
“There was a bit of pride,” Walker continued. “I said to the boys before we came out, okay it’s for charity and they’ve got a good team so it’s a test, but we were professional footballers and we don’t want to be getting beaten 4-0 or 5-0, or anything.
“So they all wanted to have a go, and they did, I was pleased with the way we passed the ball about and certainly the second half when we got some younger legs on we caused them problems and it could easily have been 2-2.”
The exhibition also marked the approaching 25-year anniversary of Walker’s team going on their famous Uefa Cup run.
He added: “I was sceptical of coming across at first, in the sense of it’s 25 years, it’s a long time and I wondered if there would be that enthusiasm for it.
“But once all the players met up the camaraderie was there to see straight away and it was well worth coming back, very good. We had a good group at that time and those that managed to come, from all over the place, I thought it was fantastic and the spirit was still there from those days.”
The nostalgic fun and games were all in aid of CSF’s Build The Nest campaign, raising £2.5million towards the overall £10.9m project, which is bring constructed on the former Anglian Windows Sports & Social Club site off Holt Road, near Norwich Airport.
“At the end of the day that was the main thing, okay it was a celebration of 25 years since that team, but the main thing was for the charitable good and I’ve seen it, it’s going to be a fantastic place if they can get the money to get it done,” concluded Walker, who flew in from Cyprus for the game.
“So that’s the bonus, which was great and I’m grateful to the people who turned up to contribute towards it and hopefully see an entertaining game.”
• For more about the Build The Nest campaign see thenest.org.uk
• If you would like to support CSF, donations can be made at communitysportsfoundation.org.uk or you can text ‘NEST11£5’ to 70070 to donate £5