David Hannant: Why Alex Tettey will go down in history as an all time City great
- Credit: PA
Personable, likeable and loyal to the core - they don’t make too many footballers like Alex Tettey these days.
After having some fun on social media this week about Glenn Roeder and his notorious band of loan rangers - who together dragged the club kicking and screaming to League One - my original plan for this column was to have a bit of a delve into the history books and see how many of these actually went on to have half passable careers.
I’d made a quiz in preparation for it and everything.However, when an interview with a Norwegian newspaper revealed Tettey’s retirement plans, I’ve decided to place that one in the bank for a rainy day - and it looks likely we will have plenty more of them to come.
Instead, I thought it was about time to sing the praises of one of the big unsung heroes of Norwich City’s recent history.
I say unsung - it is clear that the Norwegian is among the most popular characters with fans off the field - which is a bit part of why he is loved.
However, I’ve always felt that in terms of what he does on the field, he’s criminally underrated.
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I would suspect that were I to ask Norwich City fans to describe him on the pitch in one word, the answers would likely be words like ‘solid’ and ‘reliable’. I actually did ask this question on Twitter, so full answers will follow... thank you for all the replies by the way.
However, I honestly think he has been so much more than just that for Norwich City.
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I honestly can’t think of too many players who have been as consistent for as long a time in a yellow and green shirt at Alex Tettey has been - and continues to be for that matter.
He’s not perfect - but then who is. He might occasionally give the ball away and he might more than occasionally stick a shot into row Z, but one thing he certainly will never do is down tools.
Few players put such energy into every performance that he does and he really does provide a real engine room to the midfield.
It speaks volumes that in the time he has been at the club there have been countless defensive midfielders that have been brought in, but he still proves to be a key player. And whenever he has a spell out of favour, he always buckles down and finds his way back into the fold.
Because he isn’t a player with the flare of Emi Buendia, or the pace of Max Aarons, or the predatory instinct of Teemu Pukki, what he brings can often go unnoticed - to use a music analogy he’s like a drummer, rather than a shredding lead guitarist or a flamboyant frontman.
And like drummers, you sure as heck notice when they are not there.
The job Tettey has done across his City career has been so crucial - he keeps things ticking up, breaks up play, protects the back four and allows others to flourish.
He does the simple things well, but also doesn’t really get enough credit for the complicated things he does - he has found a new level to his game under Daniel Farke.
He also appears to be quite a special person off the field - you’ll be tested to find players more naturally likeable than him.
Whether it’s the fact that he always plays with a smile in his face, the fact he has made many a press officer squirm while giving sweary interviews, or just saying his own name, it’s impossible not to smile you see him.
When he joined from Rennes all those years ago, it was difficult to envisage how important he would become, but he certainly has been.
In fact, if you don’t include the Republic of Ireland as being overseas, I can’t think of too many international players that will be remembered as fondly as him.
I was delighted that he signed on for another year and his latest comments give us a whole year to plan a big send-off- hopefully a much deserve Tetteymonial!
And as for those one word descriptions - you responded to my call brilliant. Here are just a few of the replies I received.
• @Ian_M1: Smiley
• @mtjward19: Unique
• @meds89: Glue
• @Canaryb1rd: Powerhouse
• @BeetleyCanary: Marmite
• @PageBarfordroad: Solid
• @realex_8: Workhorse
• @birchy77: Leader
• @nickk28: Reliable
• @MarkTho83818744: Battler
• @PeggJames: Machine
• @lukemayhew: Vintage
• @ilovesport356: Underrated
• @J_R_DUB: Engine
• @stewie881: Booking
• @LoTaylor23: Stalwart
• @Jonpreed: Crunch
•@ Hi_there_Alan: Evergreet
• @Gary_Gowers: SSSHHOOOT!
And I’ll leave you with this one from Sunderland supporter and fellow EDP reporter Reece Hanson: Lucky! Make of that one what you will...