Magic Moment: Norwich City return to Division One with win at Portsmouth
Every Norwich City fan is hoping for a promotion celebration at Fratton Park on Monday night – but one generation of players and fans has already experienced it.
Back in April 1975, John Bond’s Canaries beat Portsmouth 3-0 on their own ground on the final Saturday of the season. That result, combined with rivals Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa the same day, was enough to secure third place and take City back into Division One at the first attempt, with one match to spare.
Two relative newcomers to Bond’s squad were on target that day as midfield pair Mick McGuire and Martin Peters scored the first two goals before Phil Boyer wrapped up a comprehensive victory.
For McGuire, it was only his 15th appearance for City after a �60,000 move from Coventry, but he proved to be the hero of the hour when he headed the opening goal after 25 minutes.
Colin Sullivan’s cross was nodded on by Ted MacDougall and though Pompey defender Eoin Hand headed clear, McGuire reacted quickly to send a powerful header past goalkeeper Phil Figgins from just inside the penalty area.
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“I scored with a diving header, which was something, and that was my second goal for the club,” recalled McGuire.
“I suppose it was my first really significant input into the team because it was a very important goal. I’m not saying my goal was more important than the other two but as we went ahead relatively early in the game, we grew in confidence and the game got a little bit easier.
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“Typically for Portsmouth there was a great atmosphere.”
A Pompey side that included former Norwich winger Ken Foggo had their chances while they were 1-0 down. Norman Piper hit a post with a free-kick before half-time and McGuire later headed off the line from George Graham, but two goals in the final 11 minutes made the game safe.
First Colin Suggett exchanged passes with Boyer close to the corner flag and crossed for Peters to score with a powerful header.
Then, two minutes from time, MacDougall won possession on halfway and Suggett sent Boyer clear to beat Figgins – making only his second appearance for Pompey – with a cool, sidefoot finish from the edge of the area.
McGuire, now 58, recalled: “I had arrived in January from Coventry but found it frustrating because I couldn’t play for Norwich in the League Cup games. I was ineligible because I had already played for Coventry in an earlier round, so I had to watch the two legs of the semi-final and the final against Aston Villa.
“I was still finding my feet a little bit when I scored my first goal in a home win over West Bromwich Albion.”
City were beaten 4-1 at home by Villa in their final league game as Ron Saunders’ team ended the season with eight straight wins and McGuire admitted: “We weren’t at the races, but we knew we were already promoted and had done what we needed to do.”
It was the first of two promotions with City for McGuire, who was captain of Ken Brown’s team when they also finished third in Division Two in 1981-82 after a storming finish to the season.
“The first time we went up I was still a youngster really at 22. When we went up again in 1982, I was captain and that was brilliant,” he said.
“I watched the 5-1 win at Ipswich last week and that was very, very impressive. It reminded me of 1982, when we went to Leicester, who were one of our main promotion rivals, and beat them 4-1. We destroyed them.
“We were on such a confidence-boosting run, winning game after game, and we really didn’t feel we could ever get beaten. We won 10 out of 11 games in the run-in.
“The current team seems to be enjoying the same kind of run and when I watched them play Ipswich it reminded me of that game.”