Norwich's capital punishment
David Cuffley Norwich City will be looking for rare capital gains when they visit Crystal Palace on Boxing Day (1pm) - after 19 successive trips to London without a win.
Norwich City will be looking for rare capital gains when they visit Crystal Palace on Boxing Day (1pm) - after 19 successive trips to London without a win.
Not since a 2-0 victory at Millwall in March 2003 have the Canaries beaten a London side on their own ground.
And one has to go back a great deal further than that for their last win over Palace at Selhurst Park. Gary Megson was manager more than 12 years ago when City secured a 1-0 win on the last day of the 1995-96 Endsleigh League season.
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Six managers later, Glenn Roeder - the last person to dwell on the past - will be taking a more positive view, hoping his players can follow up Saturday's 1-0 Championship win over Charlton by surpassing the creditable 1-1 draw they achieved at Palace last season, when Darel Russell's early goal gave them a point on New Year's Day.
For their part, Neil Warnock's team, seventh in the table, will be out to complete a quick league double over City after their 2-1 success at Carrow Road four weeks ago.
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The Canaries have endured a particularly harsh form of capital punishment since goals from Malky Mackay and Zema Abbey gave them a midweek victory at The New Den six seasons ago.
In 17 league games in London since that night, they have managed six draws and 11 defeats, as well as suffering FA Cup exits at West Ham and Chelsea.
The big city has been the scene of some of City's most painful experiences - including heavy defeats in the 2004-05 Premiership season at Charlton, Chelsea, Arsenal and, notoriously, Fulham, where a 6-0 thrashing condemned them to relegation.
Palace has not been a happy hunting ground, either, with just three draws and eight defeats in City's last 11 visits since a David Hopkin own goal gave Megson's team three points in his last game in charge.
Ian Russell, chairman of Capital Canaries, City's London area supporters' club, said: “I didn't realise it was quite so long ago that we won a game in London. It's pretty alarming, but I would say it's more a reflection of the way we perform away from home, period.
“It makes pretty grim reading. It's depressing for someone who lives in an area where it's easy to get to games in London, and Crystal Palace is a fantastic example. It's a game people tend to give a miss because it's not a particularly nice experience.
“Our last win there was half a generation ago, but I remember the Premiership game when we drew 3-3 but were 3-1 up and should have won, and last season we were 1-0 up.
“I hope things change on Boxing Day, but if not, we've got Charlton in the FA Cup next week and that should give us a good chance to end this run.”
(City's last 20 games in London)
March 18, 2003: Millwall 0, Norwich 2
Oct 15, 2003: West Ham 1, Norwich 1
Dec 6, 2003: Millwall 0, Norwich 0
March 20, 2004: C Palace 1, Norwich 0
Sept 12, 2004: Tottenham 0, Norwich 0
Nov 13, 2004: Charlton 4, Norwich 0
Dec 18, 2004: Chelsea 4, Norwich 0
January 8, 2005: West Ham 1, Norwich 0 (FA Cup)
April 2, 2005: Arsenal 4, Norwich 1
April 16, 2005: C Palace 3, Norwich 3
May 15, 2005: Fulham 6, Norwich 0
October 22, 2005: QPR 3, Norwich 0
Nov 22, 2005: Millwall 1, Norwich 0
Feb 25, 2006: C Palace 4, Norwich 1
Oct 14, 2006: QPR 3, Norwich 3
Jan 1, 2007: C Palace 3, Norwich 1
Feb 17, 2007: Chelsea 4, Norwich 0 (FA Cup)
Sept 18, 2007: Charlton 2, Norwich 0
Oct 8, 2007: QPR 1, Norwich 0
Jan 1, 2008: C Palace 1, Norwich 1