‘If the truth was known I knew nothing about the goal!’ - Simeon Jackson on THAT goal against Derby County
EDP pics © 2011
Ahead of the visit of Derby County this weekend, deputy sports editor, Mark Armstrong, speaks to the man responsible for producing one of the greatest moments in the club’s recent history against the Rams
There has been talk about a special bond returning between Norwich City fans and players.
There is a sense amongst the Canaries fanbase that something special is building and coming so close to upsetting Arsenal in the Carabao Cup only strengthened that feeling.
It’s been a while since City fans felt like this.
The Wembley play-off final will live long in the memory for every supporter – securing promotion at the home of English football is a tough one to beat.
But the visit of Derby this weekend provokes memories of the kind of euphoric moment that football fans dream about.
It was April 2011 and City needed to win to stay in pole position for that second automatic Championship promotion place and it looked like Paul Lambert’s men had blown it.
Derby’s Alberto Bueno had pegged City back once more to make it 2-2 after a Simeon Jackson double and, going into added time, it looked like Norwich would have to settle for a point.
With two games to go Cardiff would have the initiative after Peter Whittingham’s goal had given them victory at Preston
Then City won a corner.
Henri Lansbury’s centre was met by Wes Hoolahan’s extravagant miscued flick and it somehow found its way to Russell Martin at the back post. The defender’s driven effort was flicked off the line thanks to a combination of Bueno and the post before rebounding to the seemingly magnetic Jackson, who knew very little about it as the ball struck him and trickled across the line.
Cue pandemonium, or ‘scenes’ as it’s now become fashionable to describe a moment of significant importance.
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The Snakepit swarmed towards their heroes – proud of this never-say-die Canaries vintage.
“I just remember the energy around the place,” said Jackson – the man who personified City’s final kick to the promotion line, scoring nine goals in eight games during the run-in.
“I remember the run we were on and that we just had to keep winning,” he said. “But there was a brief moment when we didn’t think it was going to be our day (against Derby).
“But I was in a real purple patch at the time and when that happens you get lucky.
“If the truth was known I knew nothing about the goal! I think Russ had a shot and I was waiting for the net to bulge. All of a sudden it’s come off the post, hit me and gone in!
“It was amazing to be a part of and something that I’ll always remember.”
City of course went on to secure promotion the following week, Jackson’s winner at Portsmouth securing second spot behind QPR.
There were arguably better squads with better players but the whole of that Lambert side was so much greater than the sum of its parts.
“In any team that’s going for promotion you have to have an amazing team spirit – it’s a big part,” said Jackson. “You want to have that connection between the fans and the players.
“We came back with a lot of late goals during that time and that builds trust between the players and the fans.
“As you do that through the season the fans naturally gravitate towards you.”
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Winning on the road at places like Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and of course Ipswich Town this season has meant the trust between players and supporters is being rebuilt.
Nothing gives a fan more pleasure than seeing their team straining every sinew to get a result – Lambert’s did it and it feels like Daniel Farke is instilling something similar.
“I still keep tabs on Norwich – I’ll never forget that season,” said Jackson, who is now plying his trade with League One side, Walsall. “They have made a lot of changes and sometimes that needs a bit of time to settle down.
“But it seems to be going great and I think as time goes on they will get even better. It’s looking promising for them.
“I actually spoke to Russ (Martin) the other day and it’s great to see any guys from that side.
“When you’ve been in a successful side like that you have a natural connection with all your team-mates.”