McKenzie sorry for old club
Jonathan Redhead Coventry City striker Leon McKenzie offered no apologies for bagging the 100th goal of his career against Norwich City - but the former Canary insisted he had no hard feelings towards his old club.
Coventry City striker Leon McKenzie offered no apologies for bagging the 100th goal of his career against Norwich City - but the former Canary insisted he had no hard feelings towards his old club.
The Sky Blues sub had received a good reception from the travelling Norwich fans, before he came on to score the crucial second goal of the game when he tapped home in the 85th minute before setting off on a major celebration run which also saw him booked for taking off his shirt.
However, he said he did not want to “disrespect” the 2,421 away fans, who had reminded him about his goal-scoring exploits against Ipswich Town on his debut in December 2003, after coming up against the Canaries for the first time since leaving.
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“I haven't got a bad thing to say about Norwich,” he said. “They're a great club and I had great support in respect of the reception I got and I can't really ask for more than that. Out of respect for them I wasn't trying to disrespect them in the respect of over-celebrating, but it was the fact I've out for so long and obviously my 100th goal as well - that was the main reason why I was celebrating.
“That's the first time we've met. Obviously, I couldn't play in the first game because they ruled it out in the contract, then unfortunately I've been injured. I'm sorry for Norwich but that's the way it goes.”
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But the 30-year-old, who left Carrow Road in August 2006, was just pleased to end an 11-month wait between goals 99 and 100 after a serious thigh injury plagued his campaign last year. And he finally struck when his old Crystal Palace team-mate Clinton Morrison rounded City goalkeeper David Marshall and chipped the ball across the goal where it hit the bar before falling to McKenzie who could not miss.
“I was stuck on 99 goals, I started playing really well, then I got the injury,” McKenzie said. “It's been a long time coming and I've been patient and worked really hard and it's great to be back in the thick of things.
“The gaffer (Chris Coleman) called me over and said I'm his secret weapon and so it was great to come on and do well for him and obviously get three points for the team.
“I saw his (Morrison's) run and I clipped it through. It was a little bit wide for him, because I tried to slip him actually through, but he's done well, put in a great little dink, and fortunately it came off the crossbar and I've just tapped it in.”
McKenzie then took off his Coventry top to reveal a T-shirt to mark his 100th goal - when earned him a yellow card from referee Colin Webster.
“I had it made for me a couple of days go,” McKenzie revealed. “I think I've had that little bit of luck, the bit I needed.
“First and foremost, I'd like to thank God, who helped me to come back from a really bad injury. I'd like to thank my wife because when I was out she's been my rock. She's encouraged me so I got my T-shirt done to dedicate my 100 goals to my kids and my wife who's six months pregnant - we're having a little girl, so I put her name on with my other two children and it was dedicated to them.”