Iwan Roberts: Been there, done that – but I never tempted fate for Norwich City

Despair for Daryl Sutch. Picture: Archant

Despair for Daryl Sutch. Picture: Archant - Credit: EASTERN COUNTIES NEWSPAPERS

Robbie Savage must have been eating a big old slice of humble pie at breakfast on Tuesday morning after the Republic Of Ireland beat Wales in the winner takes all game at the Cardiff City Stadium to win their place in next month’s play-offs.

Daryl Sutch holds his head after missing Norwich City's second penalty in the shoot-out. Picture: PA

Daryl Sutch holds his head after missing Norwich City's second penalty in the shoot-out. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Good luck to Wes Hoolahan, Martin O’Neill – my former manager at Leicester – and all the Irish lads in next month’s play offs. I would really like to see them reach Russia in June. Their fans are fantastic and are always a credit to their country in any tournament they attend.

Only a few weeks ago, Robbie had taken a swipe at Hoolahan and said that none of the Irish players would get into the Welsh team. Why didn’t Lilly just keep his mouth shut for once and let the Welsh players do the talking for him on the night?

I was never one to tempt fate. I would never say anything before a game that would make me look over-confident or arrogant, just in case what I said came back to bite me and give people a chance to ram those words straight back down my throat.

Over the years I’ve seen players, mainly forwards, wearing T-shirts underneath their shirts with messages on them, and then when the score they whip their shirt off to reveal the message for all to see. I would never do that because it would play on my mind, and by tempting fate I’d go on the Sahara desert of a goal drought.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill celebrates victory over Wales. Picture: PA

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill celebrates victory over Wales. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

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I remember Daryl Sutch wearing a T-shirt with a message for his son Callum underneath his Norwich shirt when we played Birmingham in the play-off final in Cardiff. As it was Callum’s birthday that very same day, Sutchy had written “Happy birthday, Callum” on the T-shirt and was ready to reveal the message to the 75,000 fans in the Millennium Stadium and the hundreds of thousands watching at home had he scored.

As we now know, Darryl had a great opportunity to score and reveal the message when he volunteered to take one of our five penalties after the game ended 1-1 in extra-time. He’d rehearsed what his celebration was going to be and I think he’d tempted fate.

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We’d practised taking penalties every day the week leading up to the final and Darryl had been our most consistent penalty taker. In fact I don’t think he missed one up at Colney.

Sadly, we all know what happened when Sutchy stepped up to take our third spot kick that fateful day! He scuffed it horribly wide and, sadly, Callum’s birthday message was never shown and it was kept firmly underneath his dad’s Norwich City shirt.

Hull City are tomorrow’s visitors to Carrow Road and even though they’ve not had the best start to the season under new manager Leonid Slutsky, they will be full of confidence having beaten Birmingham 6-1 last time out.

It was Hull’s first Championship win in their last six games and it came at the KCOM Stadium. But they have failed to win on the road this season and were hammered 5-0 by Derby at the beginning of September.

They’ve kept just one clean sheet this season and when you look at Norwich’s performances last month, I really can only see one outcome tomorrow afternoon; another home win for the Canaries.

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