Matt Howman: Is Alex Tettey the last in the line of Norwich City legends?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Where has the time gone? Back in April 2015, I wrote a piece for my column stating that Alex Tettey was on his way to becoming a legend at Norwich City.
Five years down the line the question is, has he?
Originally signed from Rennes by Chris Hughton on a two-year deal in 2012, Tettey has certainly been a stalwart player for the club, featuring in 235 matches and chipping in with a rare goal, the volley against Sunderland perhaps his best – also, not forgetting the infamous toe poke at Old Trafford.
He’s now the longest serving first team player at the club and Norwich have relied on him throughout to be a solid ball-winning midfielder to protect the defence.
Some fans will point to our defensive record each time we have reached the Premier League and say we shouldn’t have relied on him so much at the top-level. However, a player who can last through several managerial changes and a complete club overhaul upon Daniel Farke’s arrival must display certain qualities to consistently remain part of the squad.
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Looking beyond his technical ability on the pitch, Tettey’s character is the defining quality which, for me, puts him in the frame to become a legend at the club.
Throughout each and every match, whether Norwich are winning or losing, you can see Tettey lead the team, vocally motivating the squad and looking to get the best out of everyone around him.
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Especially now with such a young squad, leadership and experience on the pitch make a massive difference.
Tettey will look to fire up the players around him when we need to pick up the pace, and look to slow the game down when we’re under pressure.
Being considered at that legendary status doesn’t always stem from winning trophies or scoring goals, it’s consistently showing a passion and a desire to do the best for the football club, throughout both the good times and bad.
Some players go unnoticed for their contribution in matches because the role they undertake isn’t the flair or creating game-changing moments; a role like Tettey’s has mainly been to give us the solidity to allow the attacking players to make their mark. To hit 34 and still be starting in the Premier League in that position is some feat.
There are downsides to his game of course; shots will sometimes threaten to reach the upper Barclay, the odd pass flies straight off the pitch and unnecessary bookings have always been a part of his game. Frustrating as they are at the time, most fans will look back fondly on those because he’s a player that, no matter what, gives 100pc for the club, and that is all fans ask.
Now, the way the modern game is evolving, it’s difficult to pick another player out of the current squad that you can envisage still playing for Norwich eight years down the line.
The board may have set out to the likes of Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey that there is a pathway in the club to become a senior player or captain, but the average stay of a player at Norwich City is under three years and the prospect of staying in the Premier League is likely to be a big sell to ambitious young players.
What will it take to find our next potential club legend?
At the moment it will be a young player ignoring the allure of a big money move elsewhere and committing a future to Norwich City, a future which will almost inevitably begin next season in the Championship.
Players like Alex Tettey, and before him Wes Hoolahan, Darren Huckerby, Iwan Roberts and more, stuck by Norwich through the good times and the bad.
Who will be the next player to be held in that regard?