Dion signing may be a shrewd City move

DAVID CUFFLEY When Mike Channon returned to Carrow Road early in 1986 in Portsmouth colours for a top-of-the-table match in Division Two, he was welcomed with a blast of “The Oldest Swinger in Town” over the public address system.


When Mike Channon returned to Carrow Road early in 1986 in Portsmouth colours for a top-of-the-table match in Division Two, he was welcomed with a blast of “The Oldest Swinger in Town” over the public address system.

Fred Wedlock's unlikely top ten hit was deemed a suitable tribute to the veteran former England striker, who less than a year earlier, at the age of 36, had helped Norwich City lift the Milk Cup by beating Sunderland at Wembley.

So there was no offence intended when one of the song's best lines - “rub on Vick where you used to splash Brut” - boomed out to a packed house.

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Channon was by then past his 37th birthday but there was no doubt he had been an inspired capture for Ken Brown's Canaries, scoring 25 times in 112 games and showing all his class and experience and crowd-pleasing personality in two and a half seasons before moving on to Pompey.

It's highly unlikely Fred Wedlock will get another airing when Dion Dublin steps out for his home debut for Nigel Worthington's team, though he too is 37, and will celebrate his 38th birthday on April 22, the day City are due to welcome Ipswich Town to Carrow Road.

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Dublin's arrival on Wednesday raised a few eyebrows, largely because of his age, not least the fact that he is four years older than Chris Sutton, the former Premiership striker so many fans wanted to see back in City colours after his departure from Birmingham at the end of last season.

It seems the key issue here is fitness. Worthington's main argument for not attempting to sign Sutton was worry over injuries.

“He's a bit older now, he's had his injury problems, which would be a concern to myself so that is something that won't happen,” said Worthington, back in July, to the bewilderment of many supporters.

Though there seemed little to lose from testing out those concerns, the fact that Sutton, back in Norfolk, has yet to sign for another club suggests that other managers may share that unease.

The Canaries clearly believe that Dublin, despite being twice as old as when former manager Dave Stringer first took him on trial in 1988, can still cope with the demands of Championship football. We are certainly going to lose nothing in finding out.

Dublin's rise to prominence was such that he won four full international caps during his time with Coventry, and it's true that Norwich have had a certain success in recruiting former England players, though Martin Peters was just 31, Joe Royle 31, Channon 34 and Martin Chivers - the one veteran who didn't make much impact - 33 when they signed on the dotted line. It's also true that all of them, apart from Royle, had vastly greater international careers than Dublin.

But if Dublin's training with Leicester has kept him in good enough shape for Championship football, City have nothing to lose from a deal that runs for just one season.

If it offers a workable alternative to firing high balls at lone striker Robert Earnshaw, it could provide a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Who knows, it might just be a good move.


Fans of the late comedian Tony Hancock may recall one episode entitled “The Missing Page”.

Our hero reaches the end of his library book, the whodunnit “Lady, Don't Fall Backwards” only to find there is no last page. So begins a frantic and ultimately fruitless quest to discover the killer.

Fans at Tuesday's Carling Cup tie between Rotherham and the Canaries may have had a similar feeling when they looked at their match programme.

The programme moved from page 44 to 47, with the single sheet containing pages 45 and 46 quite clearly ripped out along the spine.

It all stemmed from an unfortunate gaffe made by Rotherham in the programme for the home game against Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers last Saturday.

Rotherham had to issue an apology to their neighbours after fan Tim Green, writing a column in the programme for the “London Millers”, said: “If you don't mind, I'll not talk about today's visitors as I've found an unnecessary number of their fans to be unpleasant, violent half-wits.”

The offending paragraph had not been edited out and led to protests by Rovers fans, one of whom admitted: “I must be a half-wit because I donated good money to help Rotherham survive.”

The complaints were followed by a swift apology from Rotherham - and the columnist was axed. It meant there was no choice but to rip his column out of every copy of the Norwich programme, which had already been printed.


Nigel Worthington had no room for sentiment when he revealed on Monday that the Jarvis brothers were likely to figure in the same eleven for the Carling Cup trip to Rotherham the following night, the first time brothers were to appear in the same first team match for City since 1928.

“I'll be looking at the performance level rather than saying 'Isn't it nice to see the two Jarvis brothers out there playing together?'” said Worthington.

Fair enough. I don't suppose Alf Ramsey shed a quiet tear when he wrote the names of Bobby and Jack Charlton on his England teamsheet during the 1966 World Cup.

But as a Norfolk boy and a follower of Norwich for nearly 40 years, I was delighted to see the two Fakenham lads in the same line-up and I hope it's the first of many such joint appearances. Good luck to the pair of them.

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