Norwich City debuts - from scoring at Ipswich, to keeping the old enemy out
PUBLISHED: 16:42 19 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:42 19 April 2020
They are the days that footballers will treasure forever – when their debuts go like a dream. Chris Lakey took at some of the best
December 21, 2003
Ipswich 0 Norwich City 2
Two goals on your first full day at work. At Ipswich. In a hugely vital game. What could be better? McKenzie scored after 37 and 76 minutes, the first a right-footed strike after Town failed to clear Phil Mulryne’s cross from the left, the second a fine header from Gary Holt’s cross on the right. McKenzie missed the best of the post-match celebrations with the fans - he was trying to ‘produce’ for a random drugs test post-match.
“I think I was in there about 40 minutes, but I’m cool,” said McKenzie, signed a week earlier from Peterborough United. I haven’t done one for a few years and it’s a bit of a downer really because you’re buzzing after your debut and then that comes.”
August 18, 2001
Norwich City 2 Manchester City 0
The Frenchman had sat patiently on the subs’ bench for 74 minutes when he was called on to replace Iwan Roberts. It was 0-0 – 11 seconds later it was 1-0, Libbra turning in the area and smashing a left-foot volley past keeper Carlo Nash. It was the quickest goal by any Canaries debutant since the war. Paul McVeigh added a second near the end. A week later Libbra scored a late winner at Wimbledon, but he couldn’t maintain that sort of form.
“My father-in-law died this week and I would like to dedicate this goal to him,” said Libbra. “It was a very good goal as well – one of the best I have ever scored. I was extremely happy with it.
“Last week was very hard for me – one of the worst times of my life. But that is all behind me now and I just want to give 100 per cent to the team.”
January 4, 2020
Preston 2 Norwich 4
Not many players can boast a hat-trick on the first ever appearance in the FA Cup – but the now 19-year-old can, and it was a stylish one as well. Idah’s only first team experience had been an EFL Cup game and a minute in the top flight. An hour into his FA Cup debut he had made his mark. His first came after two minutes, the second on 38 – the pick of the bunch as he curled in a 35-yard effort after a goalkeeping error. A 61st-minute penalty completed the set and made him City’s youngest ever hat-trick scorer.
“Obviously it’s a great start to the year for me, just over the moon really to get a hat-trick,” said Idah. “Even to start the game was unbelievable so it’s been great. To get an early goal was unbelievable and brings up my confidence, to get off the mark and get another two goals is great for me.”
September 13, 2008
Plymouth 1 Norwich City 2
The Frenchman was a favourite of Glenn Roeder, who signed him for Newcastle on summer deadline in 2006 and for City on the same day two years later, on loan from Wigan. Sibierski was involved in the lead-up to Arturo Lupoli’s opener and then on 59 minutes did what he had been threatening to do and made it 2-0, hammering home Mark Fotheringham’s short free-kick from all of 30 yards.
“I think with Sibierski in the team now it gives us the dimension we’ve been missing in the previous four games and we have totally dominated and missed chances today,” said Roeder. “I thought he was impressive.”
Sibierski was reputedly costing City a fair chunk in loan salary, and Roeder was left to defend his number of temporary signings: on this day, he had some good evidence, thanks to both of his goal scorers.
April 11, 1999
Norwich City 0 Ipswich Town 0
Green was called in to replace the suspended Andy Marshall was coolness personified. A good performance by the then 19-year-old was capped by a spectacular injury-time save from David Johnson’s header. His only error was perhaps the 52nd-minute clash of heads with skipper Matt Jackson, whose suffered a broken nose. Post-match, Green was already showing the signs of confidence and assuredness that had served him well on the pitch.
“Matt had a few things to say to me in the dressing room,” said Green. “He’s got a bit of a big nose at the moment but I think he’s just worried about his good looks – he’ll be all right when he calms down.”
Come the end of the season, Marshall departed for Ipswich – and Green became City’s regular number one.
Tomorrow: The worst of debuts...