Norwich City top 100 appearances – Ian Culverhouse (13): Consistency made full-back a key player in the glory years
- Credit: Archant Library
369 appearances, 2 goals
We may know him as the King’s Lynn Town manager today but Ian Culverhouse very much made his name in these parts as a reliably consistent performer for the Canaries.
The right-back was signed in 1985 after he found opportunities at Tottenham Hotspur to be limited, although did pick up a Uefa Cup winner’s medal as an unused substitute in the 1984 final against Anderlecht.
With two England youth caps to his name as well the defender was signed by Ken Brown for £50,000 as City adjusted to life after relegation from the top flight and made his debut in October 1986, in a 2-1 win at Preston on the second round of the Milk Cup.
Culverhouse proved to be something of a lucky charm as he didn’t taste defeat in his first 18 league games, as Norwich warmed up on their way to the Second Division title success at the end of that season.
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He would miss just one league game during the remainder of the 1985-86 campaign to clock up 39 appearances before celebrating title success with team-mates including Chris Woods, Steve Bruce and Kevin Drinkell.
The steady full-back played another 34 matches the next season but missed the final four months through injury as Brown’s team returned to the First Division successfully, finishing fifth. Kenny Brown, the manager’s son, covered at right-back and contested the place with Culverhouse in the early stages of 1987-88 – until Brown was replaced by Dave Stringer in November 1987 and the position was once again his.
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He didn’t miss a match in 1988-89 as Stringer led his team to fourth place in the top flight and the club’s first FA Cup semi-final in 30 years, losing 1-0 to Everton at Villa Park, clocking up 49 appearances and finally scoring his first goal for City.
Culverhouse scored only twice during his Canaries career, the first coming in the Simod Cup first round in a 2-1 home win over Swindon Town at Carrow Road in November 1988. He had to wait more than five years for his next to arrive, scoring in a 3-0 home win over Everton in the Premiership in March 1994.
Before he reached those closing stages of his Canaries career there were plenty of successes though, including being named player of the year in 1990-91 after helping Stringer’s team stay clear of relegation trouble.
Another FA Cup semi-final followed the next season, with a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland at Hillsborough seeing Culverhouse miss out on Wembley again.
He was then part of the team which would bring Norwich its highest ever finish of third place in the newly formed Premiership, being edged out of the title race by Manchester United and Aston Villa during Mike Walker’s first season – missing just one match of the 1992-93 campaign.
Turning 30 at the start of the next season, he missed only one game, the second leg of the Uefa Cup third round tie against Inter Milan. Culverhouse had picked up his second booking of City’s famous European run in the first leg at the San Siro and could only watch on as Dennis Bergkamp led the eventual winners to a 1-0 victory at Carrow Road.
He made 51 appearances in total that season but with crisis gripping the club as Robert Chase’s ownership drew protests among financial problems, Culverhouse found himself cast aside under John Deehan.
Carl Bradshaw was preferred at right-back and he was sold to Swindon for £150,000 in December 1994 – during his 10th season in Norfolk, but he would return.
After three and a half seasons with the Robins, initially being unable to prevent relegation from Division One but helping them bounce back as Division Two champions under Steve McMahon in 1996, he played the last couple of years of his career at Brighton and retired in 2000, aged 35.
It was with the Seagulls he began youth coaching, going on to Barnet, Leyton Orient and Wycombe Wanderers, where he would meet Paul Lambert.
After following the Scot to Colchester he returned to Norwich as Lambert’s assistant in 2009 and played a key part in successive promotions to the Premier League, before leaving for Aston Villa in 2012.
That came to an end in 2014 after an internal disciplinary investigation and, after a spell as assistant to John Still at Dagenham & Redbridge, Culverhouse is embarking on his first managerial role with King’s Lynn Town.
The Linnets won the Norfolk Senior Cup at Carrow Road in May and the Canaries legend is now plotting more success in Norfolk, as his team prepare for another crack at success in the Southern Premier Division at step three of the non-league pyramid.