It’s the 20th anniversary this weekend of the class of 2004 clinching promotion to the Premier League, my last season with Norwich City.

We were a team that had a bit of everything. We had a bit of flair, we had loads of pace, we had good passers of the football in that team, but we could dig in when we needed to, we could mix it up, we could scrap, battle, compete, but we could play as well.

The back five never changed – Steady (Marc Edworthy), Malky (Mackay), Flem (Craig Fleming), Adam (Drury), Greeno (Robert Green) - and I think any successful team needs a defensive line that doesn't change too much. And they never got tired, they wanted to play every game.

We had two massive characters in the heart of the defence in Flem and Malky. Adam was quiet, Eddie was a quiet lad, but a good lad. Gary Holt in midfield. People say, sitting midfielder, attacking midfielder - he could do both. He could play two games in a row as well, in the space of 24 hours, that's how fit he was. He had a bit of a tough time when he first came in, but he soon won people over. Tall and strong - he had a military background and you could tell that. I think he appreciated everything that football gave him after he'd been in the forces.

We had pace with Mark Rivers and Darren Huckerby - when you see Hucks and Peter Crouch and Kevin Harper, but mainly when you see Hucks, walking through the door on loan in September, you think ‘absolute game changer’. And we had a magnificent dressing room. We were a tight group, there were no cliques. We had fallings out, as everybody dressing room does, but we were a unit. There was no ‘four in that corner. two in that corner, three in the other corner’. We would go out together, we’d socialise together. We were one big group really. And that goes a long way.

And in Nigel Worthington, we had a manager who'd been given a chance because obviously Bryan Hamilton left and Nigel took over. Did well when he was caretaker manager, he was desperate for the job and we all thought he was the right man. What I liked about Nigel was he had a serious side to him, which you would never advantage of. But he'd have a laugh and a joke at the right times as well. Plus, he played at a high level, I'm not saying it's the be all and end all, but I think the lads looked up to the standard. And even at that age he was still fit.

If we were doing a running session - and the lads hated it - he would join in. Every now and then we’d walk out to start training and he’d asked the question, ‘right, which way do you want to go, left or right’. And we'd say, ‘what do you mean? Ok, well, we’ll go right’ and we’d have to do the 3,000 metres around Colney – and no one was allowed to finish behind him.

Nigel was a good distance runner and he used to do that most Mondays, because he will have known if we’d won at the weekend some of the lads would have been out, probably had a few drinks. He wasn’t punishing us, just keeping us on our toes. The 3,000m run was a horrible thing to do, especially if you were still hungover a little bit, but he would do it himself. He wouldn't just stand there with a watch, he would join in. Dougie Livermore and Steve Foley would be there – watching!

We were a really solid tight unit.

Who wins – the 2024 team of the class of 2004?

I’m always going to say us – we won the league, didn’t we! And I'm not being funny, but the class of 2004 got 94 points.

I have liked what the current team has become. The two main centre halves remind me to a degree of Flem and Malky, although neither possesses the pace that Flem had,

I don’t think the full-backs are as good as what we had back then. I think Angus Gunn has come on leaps and bounds as a goalkeeper – but Greeno was top class. If I have to pick one, I’d have to pick Robert Green. You look at what he achieved after he left Norwich. Angus had a bit of a hard time when he first got into the team, but he's proved himself to be a very, very good goalkeeper.

Midfield – I think Kenny Mclean's got similar attributes to Holty. I don’t think he's as fit as Holty. He is probably a better footballer than Gary, but I don't think he's got the energy or the strength of Gary. Gabriel Sara walks into the team – proven with him being chosen for the EFL team of the season. The goals that he has scored, the goals that he's created, he's been top notch so I think he could get into any team in that division now. And he will be a wanted man come the end of the season. There will be plenty of teams knocking on the door wanting his services.

Hucks was a game changer – that first season he was unbelievable. We were a decent side, but we knew as soon as we saw Hucks walk through the door, we thought ‘wow, our season has just completely turned on its head’. We went from where the club is now, sixth with a chance of a play-off place. But that one signing elevated us to having a great chance of top two or winning it.

Everyone knew what Hucks had done and the teams he’d played for, they knew what he brought to the table with his pace, and his assists. He was a game changer for us.

We had the likes of Paul McVeigh, who’d been brought up at Spurs, he was a clever, intelligent player, with two great feet, not the quickest, but good movement. And then obviously you get Leon McKenzie and Matty Svensson. Matty had played in the Premier League for Charlton and Leon had scored plenty of goals for Peterborough and it just gave Nigel something that David Wagner hasn't really got - three or four forwards, and he knew he could call upon one and he would do a job. I don't think David has got that down here. I think Nigel was spoilt for choice in forward areas back then.

The spine of the team was good – Greeno, the two centre-halves, Damien Francis, a powerful boy, and Holty, Hucks, myself, Leon, Matty Svensson, who was a nasty so and so when he wanted to be, Leon could look after himself. Peter Crouch was only a young boy then.

They were all good characters – we didn't have that one bad egg that can spoil all that goodness in the dressing room.


Deepdale delight

I thought Saturday was a magnificent win, up at Preston. That's as good, if not the best, away win they've had all season.

I thought that was a really, really good away win, to go up there and keep a clean sheet as well. They’d had 16 games without a clean sheet away from home until they won 3-0 at Stoke. They’ve gone from not being able to buy a win away from home to winning two of their last four.

If you carry that on with your home form of eight wins on the spin with two home games coming up against Bristol City and Swansea, two teams looking at it now, I would expect them to get maximum points from - if you can do that and go to Birmingham on the last day of the season, and I would think Birmingham will be safe by then, wow, you're going into those play-offs with unbelievable momentum and confidence, and I don't care who you play.

City have got players with experience. There is a massive difference between going up as champions and that lottery of the play-offs.

Kenny McLean’s won it twice under Daniel Farke, Ashley Barnes cruised the league with Burnley. We know the players are a complete lottery but you need your experienced old heads just to calm the nerves – although they've not shown any nerves, to be fair. The second half of the season has been unbelievable.

I think there was a lot said in the first half of the season about the team, about the manager, writing them off, and you don't forget that – you don't forget that as a player and as a manager. I'd be delighted for the manager, really, because he's taken a load of stick and he's taken it on the chin and he's not really responded or said anything to the criticism that he's had. He's just sort of galvanised everybody, kept their heads down and got on with the job - and look at where they are.

Ruthless streak

City must be ruthless over the final three games.

Look at all the best teams – Man Utd under Fergie, Liverpool in the late 70s and 80s - they were ruthless,” he said. “If they had you by the throat they weren't letting go. And that's what I want to see in these last three games because I want Norwich to show those other teams in and around the play-offs that they mean business and I want those other teams to think, ‘I want to avoid them at all costs’.

“If you look at the goals they’ve scored at home since the turn of the year, it's been unbelievable – fours, fives, threes. One against Ipswich, but that was that was good enough, it didn't really matter.

People speak about making your home ground a fortress - this is a proper fortress now. Not lost in 13 - 11 wins in that 13. Haven't conceded in seven of those 13 - that's an unbelievable home record.

And the atmosphere is good - I don't think there are any supporters now who turning up and waiting for the mistake so they can get on certain individuals’ backs or so they can have a go at the manager. They are turning up, they're really positive, they're looking forward to the performance, they're enjoying what they're being provided with the performances and entertainment down at Carrow Road - maybe that hasn't been the case from towards the end of last season, when they lost four of their last five without scoring at Carrow Road.

Go and win these last three and make a massive statement. Go and put a seed of doubt in those teams that finish from third to sixth.