Norwich City crowned champions – remembering April 24, 2010
- Credit: Archant © 2009
On this day - April 24 – a decade ago, Norwich City won a trophy for only the seventh time in their history - Chris Lakey looks backs at a momentous day
You lose 7-1 on the first day of the season and only stay off the bottom because the team below you have had points deducted - and you end up winning the title at a canter.
Think Norwich City 2009-10.
We all know what happened, but it was on this day a decade ago that City put the cherry on the icing on the cake - having sealed promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt, courtesy of a Michael Nelson winner at Charlton, they then clinched the title - with two games to spare.
City needed to take only a point from either Gillingham at Carrow Road, Bristol Rovers away or at home to Carlisle. But this was a team that didn’t hang around - and Gillingham it was. A 2-0 win delivered the silverware, City’s goals coming from Darel Russell, whose curling shot went in off the underside of the bar, and Nelson, in a repeat of his goal at Charlton, as he headed in Simon Lappin’s corner.
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As the post-match celebrations finally wound down, Nelson said: “The gaffer said before the game and after last week no one remembers the runners-up, people who finish second, so it’s nice to go out and do the job and finish it and I hope by the end of the season we can be top of the league with quite a number of points gap, just to prove that we fully deserved it.”
City won 3-0 in the west country but lost the final game 2-0 – before another party started.
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The final gap was nine points, with Leeds filling the second automatic promotion spot. At one stage, Leeds had held a 15-point lead, but, like a moody Rottweiler, City hunted them down.
“You have a sense of joy and being proud as anything of the lads and proud as anything of the football club for what it has done,” said manager Paul Lambert. “I’m delighted for the people that actually own it. It’s a terrific club, it really is.
“I don’t know how many years old Norwich City is, 100-odd – I would like to know how many times we have actually lifted something. It doesn’t matter what league you are in because you earn the right to be in whatever league you are going to be in and there’s not many times you do it so you might as well savour it. You cherish it because football kicks on again – and while it’s here you might as well enjoy it.
For Delia Smith, it helped wipe away some of the tears of relegation a year earlier.
“I remember talking to Bobby Charlton just before we got relegated,” she said. “I said, ‘what can I say to them?’ “He said, ‘fortune favours the brave’ – and he is a really brave manager. We’ll be losing and he’ll take a defender off and put a striker on – he’s brave, and I can’t thank him enough. Paul Lambert wants to be in the Premiership and we’ve got to help him get there – with Norwich. I’m beginning to get really quite confident – if we’re a goal down he’ll sort it out, he’ll do something.”