Norwich City’s top 100 appearances: John Deehan (71) – Free-scoring Dixie is not only truly woven into Canaries folklore, he did it despite turning out for Ipswich Town
199 appearances/70 goals
Not many players have made the switch from yellow and green to blue and white, who could still call on a fondness from those they left behind – but John Deehan managed it.
There are a fair few players who have made more Norwich City appearances than the former striker, but his goalscoring record is a very different matter.
Notching almost a goal every other game – and some of those later appearances came in either midfield or defence – only seven other players in the club’s history can claim to have broken the 70 goals mark.
Indeed, no City player has scored more top-flight goals than Dixie’s tally of 48 in three seasons.
His goals mattered too. They sent City to a remarkable top-flight promotion in 1981-82, as well as playing a big part in the last piece of major silverware collected by Norwich – their 1985 League Cup success at Wembley.
It all re-enforced Ken Brown’s decision to sign the 24-year-old in the December of 1981, initially on loan – when four goals in a friendly against Ipswich secured a permanent switch.
Just a few months later and 10 goals from 22 league appearances as part of a prolific strike partnership with Keith Bertschin, Norwich City were back in the top tier of English football.
Injury arguably played its part in Deehan failing to break 200 appearances. The season following that Milk Cup success, an ankle knock left Deehan fighting a losing battle to regain his striker role ahead of Wayne Biggins and Kevin Drinkell – which pushed Deehan to do the unthinkable.
Trevor Putney went to Norwich as part of Deehan’s Ipswich deal, and arguably the Canaries got the better end of the bargain; certainly Deehan was unable to replicate his Norfolk success.
Deehan’s involvement at Carrow Road didn’t end with his playing days of course. He returned as assistant to Mike Walker during the halcyon days of a Premier League title challenge and an Uefa Cup adventure.
He also took charge himself amidst the tumultuous fallout from Walker’s departure, as City’s success unravelled at an alarming rate. And there was a consultant role that failed to prop up Bryan Gunn’s spell as boss.
But none of that took the shine off a man who remains as fondly thought of by Norwich City supporters now, as when he was wearing the famous number nine shirt at his prolific best.