City top-flight years: Selling Sutton, Gunn injury and freefall
- Credit: Archant © 2006
It was a season of two halves for Norwich City as they suffered relegation from the top-flight in 1994/95. Connor Southwell reflects on a chaotic campaign for the Canaries.
With fans becoming increasingly unhappy with chairman Robert Chase's running of the club off the pitch, John Deehan attempted to stabilise the ship despite having his best talent taken from beneath him.
It was a season where City's lack of firepower ultimately cost them, despite a very positive opening portion of the season.
John Deehan/Gary Megson
John Deehan began the campaign by seeing his star striker sold in Chris Sutton and a replacement didn't arrive until Mike Sheron signed from Manchester City in late August.
That would be a sign of things to come for the City boss and his side lacked firepower despite their impressive early form. With relegation becoming an inevitability, Deehan stepped aside for Gary Megson to take over.
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Speaking about his final days in the job, Deehan said: "It felt like I'd been in a car crash and I could either sit there and look at the wreckage of what had happened and dither around or get up and start walking. I got up and started walking.
"What I can't forgive Robert Chase is that he made life difficult for my family and I think I was probably a bit ill myself in the end. I was going home and not sleeping because I was trying to come up with the answer to an equation that was unanswerable - how to help a young side stay in the Premiership with no money."
Megson failed to record a single win in the final five matches of the season and couldn't save Norwich from relegation, he was replaced by Martin O'Neill in the summer.
The ex-Leeds midfielder was voted Player of the Season in a campaign he described as 'probably my best season in my playing career in terms of the level I had attained'. He became the club's first-ever £1million player, a record that stood for a decade until Dean Ashton arrived from Crewe.
Newsome was named as captain and found himself to be incredibly popular with supporters. That said, his level of performance was unable to keep City in the Premiership, but he did elect to stay at the club in Division One despite offers to return to the top-flight.
With only eight goals, Ward was City's top-scorer in his first season at the club having joined from Crewe.
He scored twice on his debut against Chelsea and found a hot streak of goal-scoring form, netting six times in ten matches. Only two more goals followed for the remainder of the season.
Despite the controversy surrounding the sale of star striker Chris Sutton in the summer transfer window, Norwich sat in 7th place at Christmas having only recorded five defeats before losing to Tottenham Hotspur on New Year's Eve.
Deehan's side were defensively robust but lacked goals
Their final positive result prior to their collapse after the New Year arrived against title-challengers Newcastle United. A 2-1 win with goals scored by Neil Adams and Ashley Ward their penultimate victory of the season.
Bryan Gunn's broken ankle away to Nottingham Forest saw young Andy Marshall take his place between the sticks, but the Scot's injury coincided with a turgid run of form that saw City drop from European contenders to relegation battlers.
In the second half of the season, the Canaries took just 13 points from the 23 post-Christmas matches. City would only win just once after the festive period. That arrived against Ipswich Town, who they thumped 3-0 in the East Anglian Derby at Carrow Road despite their poor form in the Premier League.
Despite some excellent performances from the inexperienced Marshall, City's depleted forward line was failing to produce the goods at the top end of the pitch. The supporters' frustration turned to disbelief as Mark Robins was allowed to leave for Leicester City in the January of 1995.
Suddenly, their defensive line was being breached more frequently and they were pulled into a relegation battle.
When Deehan departed in April, City had five fixtures remaining against Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Liverpool, Leeds and Aston Villa. Megson's depleted squad were unable to complete a great escape attempt and Norwich were relegated having finished in 20th position.