Fleming delighted at turnout
DAVID CUFFLEY A spectacular thunderstorm and torrential rain brought the curtain down on Craig Fleming's testimonial match at Carrow Road. But it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the star of the show, who charged back on to the pitch to salute fans in a 15,305 crowd after City were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United.
A spectacular thunderstorm and torrential rain brought the curtain down on Craig Fleming's testimonial match at Carrow Road last night.
But it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the star of the show, who charged back on to the pitch to salute fans in a 15,305 crowd after City were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United.
Fork lightning, blinding rain and hailstones made conditions so hazardous that referee Kevin Wright very sensibly blew for time nearly a minute early.
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But 34-year-old Fleming, who had made way for Michael Spillane after 86 minutes, was determined to thank supporters one last time and raced out into the centre circle after the final whistle before bowing to fans in each stand.
He said: “I couldn't have wished for a better night. It was a lovely send-off. As for our fans, I can't speak highly enough of them. They're fantastic.
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“The storm arrived just as I started coming off. I gave the gaffer the wink and he got the board up, and just as I sat down it started to rain - perfect timing.”
Manager Nigel Worthington said: “I'm delighted for Craig and his family and I've got to praise the Norwich City supporters - a magnificent turnout for him. Credit to the club and him and the supporters for 10 years of a marriage in heaven.”
Team captain Adam Drury was the one fresh injury concern for Worthington after missing last night's match with a hamstring injury, with a second home friendly against Northampton Town coming up on Saturday.
“Jurgen Colin's filled in at left-back. Adam had a tight hamstring so there was no point in risking him at this stage,” said Worthington, who described the match as “a very good exercise against Premiership opposition”.
Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder said he wished £5m signing Damien Duff had been able to play, but he dare not take a chance on his fitness so soon afer his move from Chelsea.
Said Roeder: “We're assessing his fitness at the moment. It would have been nice if we could have brought him to Norwich tonight for the supporters of Norwich, really, because it was a worthwhile occasion. The Craig Flemings of this world, for me, they're the role models. It's rarely you get a player staying 10 years with a club. It's a nice occasion for Craig and thoroughly deserved.
“But I'm not prepared to risk Damien on the pitch until I'm happy with his fitness.”