‘Pack the baby up. we’re off to London’ - Malky Mackay on his Norwich City career

Malky Mackay celebrates a goal against Ipswich in 2004 as Norwich City head to the Premier League Pi

Malky Mackay celebrates a goal against Ipswich in 2004 as Norwich City head to the Premier League Picture: Archant - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2004

Malky Mackay has revealed how it took him a “long time to get over” his departure from Norwich City.

The Scottish man mountain played a major role as City won promotion to the Premier League in 2004 – but within four months was told he could leave the club, sparking a transfer fee dispute and an angry early morning phone call to then manager Nigel Worthington.

Mackay had suffered an ankle injury during a pre-season tour of Malaysia and Worthington had bought defenders Simon Charlton and Gary Docherty. And it was while Mackay, with City team-mate Gary Holt, was on Scotland international duty that he received the shock news that City were happy to sell him.

He said: “We were just packing up to go home and the phone went and it was Nigel and he didn’t know how we got on - and I was thinking ‘that’s amazing because you have two players playing against Spain, but what he said was, ‘I have just sold you to Coventry’ and I was stunned, because I thought I was part of going into the Premier League. He said ‘you had better go and talk to them _ you have another week before you get back so that is probably you finished, that’ll be it.

“So I came off the phone pretty stunned, phoned the family, phoned the agent and I decided I wasn’t going to Coventry, that wasn’t part of my plan.Over the next few days there was a debate about how much I was going to cost for whoever came in and fortunately Alan Pardew and West Ham came in. He phoned me and said, ‘listen, we want you’. There was quite a debate over the fee. I ended up phoning Nigel at 6am after the Slovenia game because I was angry at the way it was being dealt with. God knows where he was but he took the wrath of me at that point, but by that night it was done. I had to tell my wife ‘pack yourself and the baby up, we are on the way to east London.

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“I didn’t enjoy the way it ended to be honest because I had such fond memories of the club and everything about it and I still do to this day. It is business and I get that because I have been a manager and he made a call and you live and die by those calls. It wasn’t Delia, it wasn’t the club. Nigel made the call – and we have had a cup of tea together since. That’s life.”

More from Malky Mackay’s interview on Paul McVeigh’s ‘McVeigh Meets’ podcast - inside

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