Manchester United ran rule over Norwich City ace Jackson
Simeon Jackson’s nine goals in seven games have helped book Norwich City’s ticket to rejoin the likes of Manchester United – but the striker could easily have been turning out as a Red Devil according to his former team-mate, ex-Canary David Bell.
Coventry City – Bell’s current club – will head to Carrow Road’s promotion party tomorrow for the final game of a memorable Championship season as City celebrate historic back-to-back promotions.
Bell spent an unsettled six months at City during an ultimately ill-fated 2008-09 campaign that ended in relegation to League One, but having developed his game alongside Jackson at Rushden and Diamonds for 18 months from the 2004-05 season, Bell was happy to sing his former team and team-mate’s praises.
“I was with Elliott Ward at Coventry and Simeon I was with a Rushden, and I still talk to Wes Hoolahan now and again – and I’ve text them congratulations on the day,” said Bell.
“Simeon had a bit of a slow start when he arrived at Norwich and Sim being Sim, I know he would have been working hard on the training pitch to try and put things right.
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“But for me, it was just a matter of time before the goals started coming and I’m really pleased for him that he’s started to get those to match his performances.
“I hope it continues and I hope next year he can have a good year in the Premier League, because he’s a real nice lad, I get on really well with him and he thoroughly deserves it.
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“You could see he had talent at Rushden and when he was in the youth team he went off to Manchester United and they wanted him up there for a couple of weeks’ training.
“I’m not sure exactly what went on but obviously United identified him when they played each other in the youth cup and they wanted him.
“It has been a remarkable turnaround for him, because he got relegated with Gillingham last season to League Two, got a really good move to Norwich and you couldn’t have written the story, what has happened for him. In the space of a season he has gone from League Two virtually to the Premier League, and scored the important goals towards the end of the season that have got Norwich over the line.
“So for him he must be on cloud nine and I’m thoroughly pleased for him because he is a great lad, works his socks off and he deserves it.”
Both Jackson and captain Grant Holt have completed the rise through all three Football League divisions in three seasons, while the likes of Andrew Crofts and Marc Tierney have done something similar – in Crofts’ case spending three months at non-league Wrexham just two years ago.
It all brings home the manner of City’s turnaround – as well as the way manager Paul Lambert has set about the task of building his squad.
Such success was far from the mind when Bell and Clingan – one of the few to be given praise during his one-season stay at Carrow Road – were pulling on a yellow shirt.
“I saw Sammy in the week and we spoke about what has happened at Norwich and it has been a really big turnaround, and we’re delighted for the lads.” said Bell.
“You could never have guessed that what’s happened was going to happen there, and full credit to the lads and management staff down there. They are up on merit and they fully deserve it.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Norwich and so did Sammy, and we’re really pleased they have achieved what they have.”
As for Coventry, at one point this season a combination of administration and relegation seemed a possibility as the Sky Blues hit crisis point.
But with a new chairman in place and manager Andy Thorn securing Championship football for next year following Aidy Boothroyd’s sacking, their fans can sit a little easier at Carrow Road than they may have feared a few months ago.
“It’s been a little bit up in the air but chief scout Andy Thorn took over for the last eight games and it’s been a big turnaround in a short space of time,” said Bell.
“I think me and Sammy have played virtually every game under Thorny and we are really enjoying it. We are playing some good football and we’re really looking forward to coming down for the game on Saturday.
“It will be strange. Norwich have always had a superb support and I’m sure they will be out in force and now they’ve got promotion it will be a party atmosphere.
“But from our point of view we have got a game to play and we want to finish the season on a high, and start building for next season, so we are going to be fully concentrated on the next game.
“I think it would have been a better game if Norwich would have needed the win to clinch promotion, but we’re still looking forward to it.”