Friends reunited for Flem's big day
DAVID CUFFLEY Craig Fleming is looking forward to shaking hands with a former City team-mate at the start of his big night at Carrow Road - after Scott Parker's appointment as Newcastle United captain.
Craig Fleming is looking forward to shaking hands with a former City team-mate at the start of his big night at Carrow Road - after Scott Parker's appointment as Newcastle United captain.
England international Parker, who played in the same side as Fleming during his loan spell with the Canaries in 2000, was yesterday named the Magpies' new skipper following the retirement of Alan Shearer.
It provides a happy coincidence for City's club captain with Newcastle the visitors for his testimonial match on Wednesday, July 26 (7.45pm).
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“Scott is a very, very good player,” said Fleming. “He joined us on loan from Charlton when Bryan Hamilton was manager, at the same time as Danny Granville was here from Manchester City, and you could see straightaway he was very energetic, a good passer of the ball, and he could tackle - pretty much the full package.
“I think the Norwich fans were desperate for us to sign him but he eventually went on to a couple of big money moves to Chelsea and Newcastle and on to play for England.”
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Parker, who played six times for City, finally left Charlton for Chelsea in January 2004 in a £10m move.
He appeared briefly as a substitute when Chelsea hammered Norwich 4-0 in the Premiership in December 2004, and moved on to Newcastle for £6.5m in June 2005.
He has two full England caps, but missed out on the World Cup and was, in any case, out of action at the end of last season because of glandular fever.
Parker will lead Newcastle out for their opening fixture of the new campaign against Norwegians Lillestrom in the Intertoto Cup at St James' Park tonight.
Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder said: “I had a decision to make about appointing a new skipper after the retirement of Alan Shearer and it's one I gave an awful lot of thought and consideration to.
“In Scott and Shay Given I found myself fortunate to have two outstanding candidates for a difficult role in replacing a Geordie legend like Alan who was such a magnificent skipper for this club.
“However, Shay's position as a goalkeeper came into it and obviously Scott as a central midfielder is more in touch with the whole side.”
Fleming concurred when he said: “I think it's better to have an outfield player as captain because he's more in amongst it.
“Scott's the sort of player who will be at one end in his own box and then up in the opposing box.
“It's quite nice to have someone with a Norwich connection captaining Newcastle and it will be nice to catch up with him.
“Hopefully there will be a few new signings on either side before then.”
Fleming was due to return to action for the Canaries in this afternoon's friendly at Cambridge United after missing the 4-0 win at Fakenham on Wednesday through injury.
He said: “I just had a sore calf, so that was a precaution. The training's been hard, it's hot, but hopefully that sets us up for the season ahead. I'm a great believer in the fact that if you put the work in, you get your rewards.”
Tickets for Craig Fleming's testimonial are on sale with adult prices from £12, over-60s from £7, student (with valid ID) from £7, under-16s from £7 and under-12s from £3. Telephone the Carrow Road box office on 0870 444 1902 for details.