Eadie: Norwich City up and running
Norwich City’s first Premier League away win for 17 years was no more than they deserved for their bright start to the season – according to one of the stars of the last top-flight success on their travels.
Darren Eadie, a member of the City side that beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park back in December 1994, said he felt the first victory since promotion had been bound to come sooner rather than later because of the way Paul Lambert’s men had adapted to their new status in the first four matches, albeit with little reward.
Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bolton lifted the Canaries to 13th in the table with five points from five games, but Eadie said it could have been more.
He said: “It was massively important, especially with Swansea and Queens Park Rangers winning on the same day. But I felt they were not too far away from getting that first win because they had done really well and didn’t always get what they deserved for playing like they have.
“I think they played absolutely brilliantly at Bolton. There were a few raised eyebrows about Grant Holt being left out but it enabled Wes Hoolahan to drop into that hole behind the striker and pull the back four this way and that.
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“Giving away another penalty was a bit disappointing but it’s perhaps just a bit of over-eagerness because you’re desperate to get that block in, and you might get away with it in the Championship where a player is more likely to hold his ground than go over.”
Eadie, who played most of his 204 games for City in a wide role, is also delighted to see summer signings Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington making an impact in the early matches.
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“I’m a big fan of playing two out-and-out wingers, because I think that’s how the game should be played, and the full-backs have been getting forward to good effect as well,” he said.
“Some of the players have stepped up two divisions and that’s a factor because they are so pleased to be in the Premier League and it drives them on.”
Eadie was just 19 and in his second season as a first team player when he played a big part in the goal that beat Palace in 1994.
His 50-yard run set up Mark Robins for the cross that led to Ashley Ward’s 47th-minute winner.
John Deehan’s team moved into seventh place in the FA Carling Premiership at Christmas thanks to that win, but took only two points from their remaining 11 away matches in a disastrous slide to relegation. Ten managers have departed since that traumatic time for the club.
“It must have been a long time ago if I was playing,” joked Eadie.
“I remember that we were sixth or seventh around Christmas and it was very disappointing the way we fell away to the end of the season and ended up getting relegated, because we had a decent team with people like Ashley, Mark Robins and Ian Crook.
“Normally they say if you’re at the bottom at Christmas, you’ve a good chance of going down but when you’re sitting pretty like we were you’re not really thinking about the bottom of the table. But by selling Efan Ekoku, then Mark, we lost probably our main two goalscorers, and although we still had Ashley Ward, the one thing you need is goals.”
The current Canaries resume their Premier League campaign against Sunderland at Carrow Road on Monday (8pm) – a fixture that brings back good memories for 36-year-old Eadie, who scored against the Wearsiders in successive seasons back in the late 1990s.
“I remember scoring one with my right foot from about 40 yards when we beat them 2-1,” he said. “It will be a tough game next week because Sunderland had a good result at the weekend and Steve Bruce coming back to Norwich will want to do well.
“But that first win will have given them confidence.
“The key thing, I suppose, is not be seventh in December – that could spell disaster! But seriously, I think we’d all take that.”