City have plenty of top-flight memories to look back on
With Norwich City gearing up for a return to the top tier of English football, David Freezer remembers the previous stars of the top flight for the Canaries.
Celebrations of an unexpected promotion to the Premier League have been heartily enjoyed by all connected with Norwich City - the club has plenty of top-flight experience though.
This is the third promotion to the top tier in nine seasons and will be a fifth at English football's top table in nine campaigns. So as much as promotion has been secured against the odds, City are heading back to a familiar battleground.
The 2019-20 season will be the Canaries' 26th campaign in the top flight in total, with the club's first at the top level being in 1972-73, fresh from winning the Second Division title for the first time.
It was the late 1980s and early 1990s when the club was at its peak, though, finishing in the top five three times in seven seasons, peaking with the famous 1992-93 title chase which eventually finished in third place and qualification for the Uefa Cup.
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So it's little surprise that it is that generation of Canaries players which dominates the club's all-time appearances list, with legendary goalkeeper Bryan Gunn top on 309, ahead of Mark Bowen (289) and Ian Crook (273).
The top scorer is from the first half of the 1980s though, with John Deehan managing an impressive 48 goals from 114 games across three seasons, to surpass the 42 that World Cup winner Martin Peters managed between 1975 and 1980.
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Russell Martin holds the most appearances since the Premier League era began in 1992, with 125 to his name from four seasons, but he didn't quite make the club's overall top 20 for top-flight games - just seven short of Chris Woods and Dave Watson, tied in 20th.
It's little surprise that the current City star with the most appearances in the top tier is Alex Tettey, the club's longest-serving current player, who has 71 to his name as he prepares for a fourth campaign at the top table of English football.
The only other survivor from the 2015-16 relegation campaign under Alex Neil - assuming he does sign a new contract as expected - is defender Timm Klose, who made 11 appearances after his £8m switch from Wolfsburg in the January transfer window before injury cruelly finished his season early and damaged City's survival chances significantly.
There is more Premier League experience within Daniel Farke's current squad ahead of next season though.
Tim Krul made 157 appearances in the top flight with Newcastle before his knee injury in 2015 forced him to rebuild his career with Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Brighton and then finding his feet fully at Norwich.
Grant Hanley also made his Premier League debut as an 18-year-old for Blackburn and scored two goals in 31 league games before Rovers were relegated in 2012.
There is a fair bit of experience from the German top tier within the squad as well - over 240 Bundesliga games in total in fact.
Moritz Leitner has 97 to his name with Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart and Augsburg, Mario Vrancic has played 76 with Mainz, Paderborn and Darmstast, Teemu Pukki scored eight goals in 37 league games for Schalke, Tom Trybull made 21 appearances for Werder Bremen, Marco Stiepermann featured in seven matches for Dortmund and Philip Heise in five for Stuttgart.
Emi Buendia also made 21 La Liga appearances for Getafe while Pukki had a brief experience in Spain, making just one senior appearance for Sevllia as a youngster, and Leitner played two games in Serie A during an ill-fated spell in Italy with Lazio.
If any of the current Canaries want to join the club's all-time top-flight stars, they'll need at least one season in the Premier League to stand a chance...
NORWICH CITY IN THE TOP FLIGHT
- Most appearances
1 Bryan Gunn - 304
2 Mark Bowen - 289
3 Ian Crook - 273
4 Ian Culverhouse - 266
5 Kevin Keelan - 238
6 Ian Butterworth - 233
7 Dale Gordon - 200
8 Tony Powell - 197
9 Martin Peters - 196
10= Ruel Fox - 172
10= Jeremy Goss - 172
- Top scorers
1 John Deehan - 48
2 Martin Peters - 42
3 Robert Fleck - 41
4 Kevin Reeves - 37
5= Justin Fashanu - 35
5= Chris Sutton - 35
7 Ted MacDougall - 34
8 Dale Gordon - 30
9 Kevin Drinkell - 28
10 John Ryan - 26
- Highest finish
3rd in 1992-93
- Most goals in a season
Chris Sutton - 25 (1993-94)