Chris Goreham: It’s difficult to do justice to genuine Norwich City legends

Martin Peters (right) pictured in dressing room at Stoke City on April 24, 1976. Picture: David Hine

Martin Peters (right) pictured in dressing room at Stoke City on April 24, 1976. Picture: David Hine - Credit: Archant

One of the best things about working in live radio football coverage is the fact you never really know what’s coming next. No amount of preparation or homework can cover every eventuality.

The manner of Norwich City's 2-1 defeat to Wolves at the weekend left us with an all too familiar tale to tell.

It was one of genuine hope and optimism at Carrow Road that was quickly extinguished by another dose of strong Premier League reality. It's the sort of medicine that never tastes any better no matter how many times it gets spooned down the throat.

Just as the post-mortem was about to begin, the mood of Norwich City supporters changed significantly.

Rumours about the death of the great Martin Peters began to filter through as the ground was emptying and by the time the sad news was confirmed it was clear that a 2-1 home defeat seemed trivial in the grand scheme of things and certainly in comparison to the indelible impression left in the yellow and green history books by the man who is widely accepted as the Canaries' best ever player.

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BBC Radio Norfolk's post-match Canary Call phone-in became an on air obituary as those who are lucky enough to be able to remember Martin Peters playing for Norwich City phoned in with their memories.

The fact the news had broken at 5 o'clock on a Saturday evening meant several of his former team mates were still around in the lounges at Carrow Road performing their roles as match day hosts.

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Dave Stringer and Peter Silvester were both good enough to share their own thoughts with us on the radio within a few minutes of hearing the news themselves.

Unfortunately these sort of special tribute shows have become an all too regular feature recently.

Since October the club has lost Duncan Forbes, Ron Saunders and Martin Peters. Its greatest ever player, the biggest ever cult hero and the first manager to lead the Canaries into the top flight all gone within just a few weeks.

It's so difficult to do justice to these incredible servants and attention will soon turn to thoughts of some sort of lasting memorial or tribute at the ground.

Football has become a stage for public shows of grief and reflection. It is a sport that gets a lot of bad publicity so its role as one of the few aspects of life that brings thousands of people together in the same place at the same time for the same cause shouldn't be underestimated in these increasingly fragmented times. Because of that football grounds have become places where moments of applause, silence and reflection are very common.

It's always poignant when a packed football ground observes a period of silence for Remembrance Weekend or passionately claps the service of a loyal supporter who has recently died and it's certainly a more regular feature before matches than it once was.

The knock-on effect however is that it's difficult to ratchet up the tributes when a former player or manager who has had such an affiliation with the club passes away.

Peters, Forbes and Saunders are three examples of Canaries whose contributions were so outstanding that they deserve something special.

It's difficult to know what the answer is because it would be a shame to stop the organic, often fan led tributes towards fellow supporters that have become a feature of a social media age.

Perhaps the memories that people like Martin Peters have helped to create for fans and the stories they leave behind should be considered the best possible tribute.

Listening to them on the radio over the past few weeks has been wonderful and they have all been natural and heartfelt.

Providing a stage for other people to share their tremendous and often very personal stories is another one of the great pleasures of being trusted with hours of live radio to talk about Norwich City.

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