Pukki joins an elite Canaries club with his top-tier treble
- Credit: Archant Library
Teemu Pukki had reporters reaching for the record books this weekend, as the ruthless Finn became just the ninth player to score a top-flight treble for Norwich City.
Remarkably, it was almost 26 years since the last player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League for the Canaries, scored by Efan Ekoku back in September 1993.
The Nigerian international helped himself to four goals in a 5-1 win at Everton as Mike Walker's team were in the midst of their Uefa Cup run, already having beaten Vitesse Arnhem 3-0 in the first leg and preparing to fly out to Holland to seal progress.
That season would conclude in a mid-table finish, despite Chris Sutton scoring 25 goals before his £5million sale to Blackburn, a British record fee at the time, but a hat-trick wasn't scored in any of the six top-tier campaigns which followed.
On Saturday Pukki managed what strikers including Dean Ashton, Grant Holt and Dieumerci Mbokani could not, finally following in Ekoku's footsteps.
Seven others had scored a top-flight treble - with Ted MacDougall taking home the match ball twice during the early stages of the 1975-76 season, when he would go on to plunder 23 in total, becoming the only Norwich player to ever finish as the overall top scorer in the top tier of English football.
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The Scot scored three during two home wins, 5-3 over Aston Villa and 4-2 over Everton in the old First Division.
Viv Busby followed suit with a treble during a 3-2 Carrow Road victory over Leicester in January 1977 and Justin Fashanu's hat-trick against Stoke was also at home, during a 5-1 victory in August 1980.
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John Deehan is the only player to match MacDougall in scoring two hat-tricks in the top flight, with four in a 6-1 win over Watford in April 1984 and three in a 3-2 win against the same opposition during the early stages of the next season, with both scored at home.
The next didn't arrive until March 1992, when Darren Beckford's treble helped earn an important 4-3 win over Everton to stay clear of relegation trouble.
Mark Robins scored the first hat-trick of the Premier League era, in a 3-2 win at Oldham in November 1992 - putting him with Ekoku as the only players to grab three goals away from home.
And it was Sutton who had scored the last hat-trick before Ekoku, in a 4-2 home win over Leeds in April 1993, as Walker's team tried to keep pace with Manchester United in the title race, only to end up with City's best ever finish of third place.
Since the Ekoku haul at Everton there had been 13 league hat-tricks scored by Canaries players at lower levels, including Craig Bellamy, Iwan Roberts, Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan and Simeon Jackson.
But now Pukki has ended the long wait for another Premier League treble, immediately proving he can continue his Championship goal-scoring exploits against some of the world's best players.
- Thanks to The Canary Companion for the hat-trick references. Roger Smith's book has just been reprinted in an updated fifth edition, email email@example.com to purchase a copy