Fozzy: New deal keeps me on my toes
Chris Lakey Mark Fotheringham solved part one of Glenn Roeder's summer contract puzzle yesterday when he put pen to paper on a new one-year contract at Carrow Road.
Mark Fotheringham solved part one of Glenn Roeder's summer contract puzzle yesterday when he put pen to paper on a new one-year contract at Carrow Road.
But the City skipper insisted that nothing should be read into the relatively short length of his contract.
“To be honest, I don't think it is too big an issue,” said the 24-year-old Scot.
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“I know the club would have liked to make it longer, but I just feel the type of person I am and the way I am as a player, the one-year deal will probably be the best for me in the sense that it keeps me on my toes and it gives me that thing to aim for all the time.”
Fotheringham's decision to stay means City boss Roeder is now waiting on central defender Gary Doherty, who is also officially out of contract at the end of June, to follow suit.
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And if ever there was a ringing endorsement of Roeder's credentials, it came from Fotheringham yesterday as he explained why he turned down the chance to talk to other clubs and committed himself to Norwich City.
“There is only one place I want to go now and that is to play in the Premier League, or be as close to it as I possibly can and I feel that Norwich can do that next season, so that is the reason I have committed for another year to work under who I think will definitely be the best manager in the league next season, so that is the main reason I have come back.
“I feel Lee Clark and Paul Stephenson are the best backroom staff in the league without any doubt at all. I am looking forward to coming back and working with them next season. The club have a fantastic fan base and I just hope next year that we are going to be able to challenge.”
Championship rivals Charlton as well as several Scottish Premier League teams were reportedly interested in Fotheringham - but Roeder was confident he would get his man.
“I never doubted he would sign again for us,” said the City boss. “I'm not surprised that there's been speculation about other clubs, but once I'd talked to him about my plans he was always keen to sign as he, like me, is ambitious.
“He will continue to be our captain and our driving force and he will be looking to lead us to a top-six finish.
“It was important to me that Mark re-signed as he has proved to me since regaining full fitness that he's an excellent player who has turned out just as importantly to be a superb captain.
“We have a very good manager-to-captain relationship and I completely trust him on the pitch to help make sure the boys are fully motivated. He leads by example and I can't stress how important it is to us that he has signed for next year.”
Fotheringham said he had not spoken to anyone other than Roeder, who made him City captain in December.
“If I am being honest there was interest,” he said. “I won't say who, but the main thing for me, is anyone who knows me will now I am not the type of guy who would go to a Premier League team and sit on the bench.
“The main thing for me is I want to play as many games as I can and that is the reason I never really wanted to leave. It was a difficult decision with the other ones because it was tempting to go to other teams that are big clubs in their own right.
“My agent was contacted by teams but I promised Glenn I was going to come back from way back in December. I told him I wanted to be with him and be at Norwich, it was just a matter of the contract being sorted out. There was never any doubt in my mind I was going to be there.
“But when other clubs are sniffing around and show interest there is always that in the back of your mind, but I think people know what I am like with my football on a Saturday. I live for it, that's what it's all about for me, playing.
“I want to keep improving and I feel I can do that under Clarky and Stepho, and the work they're doing, and Glenn as well. As I did last year I intend to come back a fitter and a stronger player again.”
Fotheringham began his career at Celtic but played in Switzerland and Germany before joining City in January last year as a free agent, signing a one-year contract last summer. He is one of the few players brought in by Roeder's predecessor, Peter Grant, to have survived the current manager's axe, missing the early days of the new regime as he recovered from ankle ligament damage, but returning to play a major part in the Great Escape.
There are clearly still regrets that the Canaries were unable to build on their 13-match unbeaten run, and while this afternoon's play-off final between Bristol City and Hull rubs salt into a few wounds, the participation of two pre-season outsiders does give Fotheringham hope.
“The hardest part now at the end of the season for a player is when you look at the teams in the play-offs because I know on our day last year we could beat anyone in that league and that is the frustrating thing,” he said. “We never had a good start, as we all knew, under Peter, and that didn't help. But the fact was that we were a little bit inconsistent towards the end and before we went away on our breaks we got together, we sat down and had a chat and we all agreed that if we had really given it a push we could have made that play-offs spot and it was just unfortunate it never happened.”