Do football clubs need to find roles for its legends?

Darren Huckerby has left Norwich City as Under-23s coach. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Darren Huckerby has left Norwich City as Under-23s coach. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The departure of Darren Huckerby throws up some interesting questions around the DNA of a football club.

Should clubs always find a place in their organisation for a link to past glories?

Or when a new broom comes in, should it sweep into every corner?

Huckerby is one of the few remaining high profile links with a previous generation.

The shame of it is that the 41-year-old is a man that understands Norwich City. Every football club is different and has its own nuances, including the Canaries.

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There can be few people better placed than Huckerby to help a youngster understand what it means to be a Norwich City player.

Big European clubs like Bayern Munich famously keep their top players after their playing days have ended, even if it is only in an ambassadorial role. Bobby Charlton at Manchester United is another example.

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But what it takes to be a Norwich City player is changing.

It changed as soon as Stuart Webber arrived at the club just over six months ago and started to exact a raft of changes – the scale of which has never been seen at Carrow Road.

He has brought in his own men at the academy, just as he should, and Huckerby’s face doesn’t fit – along with four others it should be noted.

At this stage we don’t know what was or wasn’t offered to Huckerby.

He might want to continue his coaching path elsewhere – you would think he has got something to offer somewhere, even if it’s not to City’s direct benefit.

Part of being a football fan is retaining that sense of sentimentality – there have been few better sights for City fans than watching Huckerby tearing a full back to shreds on a Saturday afternoon.

But that’s in the past – football is a ruthless business whether fans like it or not. Webber and the powers that be at the academy have cast their judgment that Huckerby isn’t the man they want bringing players through.

Webber knows he will also be judged and the success of dispensing with one of City’s own will only come if more players make the breakthrough to the first team.

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