Norwich City’s top 100 appearances: Daryl Sutch (16) – The local lad that covered all bases
352 appearances/9 goals
Some might feel Daryl Sutch cost Norwich City a small fortune. The reality is he saved them one.
A Lowestoft lad that came through the youth ranks of his home-town club, whose effort levels never dropped below 100pc. Sutch’s 13 years at Carrow Road effectively spanned an entire professional career.
Yet in all that time, over so many bursting runs and inside passes, his final kick for the first team still sticks in the memory. There’s no way it wouldn’t.
“We all practiced penalties leading up to the final, then certain players who said they were going to be the named players didn’t step forward at the time,” said Sutch, recalling City’s 2002 Championship play-off final shoot-out defeat to Birmingham at Cardiff.
“So it went round to, well, who is going to take them then? I guess I’d say some people bottled it, I went up and felt confident – and then didn’t connect very well.”
Phil Mulryne had already missed his spot kick. Sutch did likewise. The rest is history.
“There was a huge amount of pressure in front of 70,000 people and it was a heartbreaking thing. But I’m not the only person who’s missed a penalty in a high-pressure situation – a lot better players than me have done it. I’m in esteemed company!”
Slotting numerous penalties in training ahead of the final proved Sutch could do it – but there’s no substitute for taking on that huge moment, when a club’s history for the next decade can be defined.
Sutch never kicked the ball again for City’s first team – but that episode should not overshadow an under-appreciated presence that filled in so many times, various managers could focus on strengthening other areas of the squad.
“I know every time I pulled on the shirt, I gave 100pc and tried my best – that’s all I could do and all I ever wanted to try to do on the pitch,” said Sutch.
“I know I wasn’t one of the most talented of players, but I knew I had to apply myself in the right way every time – and that’s probably why I had the number of appearances I did at the club.”
From winger to midfielder to full-back to wing-back, Sutch’s versatility even took him in goal where he wore the gloves for 82 minutes as City took a 1-1 draw away from Huddersfield following Andy Marshall’s early sending off.
“It was in the times before having 15,000 subs on the bench and Bruce Rioch wanted us to be ready if we didn’t have a keeper on the bench, so I nominated myself and spent an afternoon at training just being pelted with balls by the lads. It wasn’t the most constructive training – then two weeks later I’m in goal for basically a whole game, and we conceded an own goal in the last few minutes.”
Sutch can recall his goals and headline stats in double-quick time. He remains the last City player to score a winning goal at Villa Park, back in 1992. But most of all, he appreciates what he had.
“I’m really proud. I played in some great teams and it was just a fantastic place to be. I thorough enjoyed it and wouldn’t change a single thing for all the world.”