The class of 2019 or the 2004 vintage – can you pick your Norwich City XI?
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Fancy a challenge? On the anniversary of Norwich City’s Championship title win of 2004, try and pick a combined team from Nigel Worthington’s team and those who did it a year ago under Daniel Farke. Chris Lakey has a go...
Norwich City don’t often get to celebrate winning league titles – it’s happened just half a dozen times in the club’s history.
The most recent was, of course, a year ago, when Daniel Farke’s team sealed the Championship crown - the first time they had won that trophy since 2004, although back then it was the First Division.
On this day 16 years ago, Nigel Worthington was manager and a side containing the likes of Darren Huckerby, Leon McKenzie, Craig Fleming and Robert Green finished top of the table – despite losing 1-0 at Sunderland, it was Stoke’s 4-1 win over West Brom that proved vital.
But which was the better side? Farke’s class of 2019 or Worthington’s 2004 vintage?
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Let’s consider the teams... the line-ups here are based loosely on formation as well as number of appearances.
2004: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Mackay, Drury, Holt, Francis, Mulryne, Huckerby, Roberts, McVeigh. Bubbling under: Leon McKenzie, Matty Svensson, Mark Fivers, Ian Henderson.
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2019: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Lewis, Vrancic, Buendia, Stiepermann, Tettey, Hernandez, Pukki. Bubbling under: Cantwell, Klose, Leitner, Trybull.
Tim Krul v Robert Green
Krul has certainly grown on City fans: started with the potential for a ricket, but has grown in stature and seen as a real leader. Green was good. Perhaps not in the same authoritative way, but as a keeper, he’d just edge it for me.
Marc Edworthy v Max Aarons
Edworthy brought loads of experience and a ‘shall not pass attitude’. Aarons is bursting with potential. One day he will be better, and for now, it is hard to split the pair. Maybe edging towards Aarons – probably the toughest call on this selection.
Craig Fleming v Christoph Zimmermann
Both hard men, brave and more than capable. Think Fleming had a bit more guile about him.
Ben Godfrey v Malky Mackay
Quite different players: Mackay was another braveheart, Godfrey perhaps a little more cultured with ball at his feet, thanks to his experiences in midfield. Again, experience tells... but Godfrey will go far in this game. Malky for now
Adam Drury v Jamal Lewis
Drury made the role his own for years, and no wonder why. Solid as a rock. Lewis, again, is learning his trade. Drury for me.
Gary Holt v Alex Tettey
Loved Holt’s energy, but can’t help thinking that Tettey, despite that ungainly look about him, has something a little extra.
Damien Francis v Mario Vrancic
Neck and neck. Francis was a thing of beauty striding forward in possession. Vrancic in the promotion season was untouchable at times. And those free-kicks... Mario it is.
Phil Mulryne v Emi Buendia
Mullers was good, but Buendia is special. He would have walked into any team last season – and would still do so with plenty in this curtailed Premier League campaign. No contest I’m afraid - Emi it is.
Darren Huckerby v Onel Hernandez
If you need to argue over this one, I’m outta here. Hucks all day long. Talisman for his team (s). Hernandez a little unpredictable as well.
Iwan Roberts v Marco Stiepermann
Stiepermann was so unpredictable that he left defenders flummoxed. Iwan was coming to the end of his City career, but was formidable. Aerially brilliant, good with his feet, and still had lots of goals in him. The big man it is.
Paul McVeigh v Teemu Pukki
A bit unfair on McVeigh this, against one of the best strikers City have ever had. I liked McVeigh out and out up front, that’s where he was best. Pukki was first man on the scoresheet. It’s the Finn for me.
My combined team: Green, Aarons, Fleming, Mackay, Drury, Tettey, Vrancic, Buendia, Huckerby, Roberts, Pukki.
There’s a case for a few other players: but Vrancic started fewer games than Tom Trybull but it was his goals which were so vital at the end. Peter Crouch was a great loan player for City in 2003, but by the end of the season featured in more league games for Aston Villa.
2004 squad (league appearances/sub appearances/goals): Zema Abbey 1 (2) 0, Jim Brennan 7 (8) 1, Keith Briggs 1 (2) 0, Kevin Cooper 6 (4) 0, Peter Crouch 14 (1) 4, Adam Drury 42 (0) 0, Clint Easton 8 (2) 2, Marc Edworthy 42 (1) 0, Craig Fleming 46 (0) 3, Damien Francis 39 (2) 7, Rob Green 46 (0) 0, Elvis Hammond 0 (4) 0, Kevin Harper 9 (0) 0, Ian Henderson) 14 (5) 4, Gary Holt 46 (0) 1, Darren Huckerby 36 (0) 14, Ryan Jarvis 0 (12) 1, Malky Mackay 45 (0) 4, Leon McKenzie 12 (6) 9, Paul McVeigh 36 (8) 5, Phil Mulryne 14 (20) 3, David Nielsen 2 (0) 0, Alex Notman 0 (1) 0, Mark Rivers 7 (5) 4, Iwan Roberts 13 (28) 8, Jason Shackell 4 (2) 0, Mathias Svensson 16 (4) 7.
2019 squad (league appearances/sub appearances/goals): Max Aarons 41 (0) 2, Emi Buendia 35 (3) 8, Todd Cantwell 18 (6) 1, Ben Godfrey 26 (5) 40, Grant Hanley 6 (3) 1, Onel Hernandez 34 (6) 8, James Husband 1 (0) 0, Ivo Pinto 3 (0) 0, Timm Klose 23 (8) 4, Tim Krul 46 (0) 0, Moritz Leitner 19 (10) 2, Jamal Lewis 42 (0) 0, Ben Marshall 4 (0) 0, Kenny McLean 15 (5) 3, Felix Passlack 0 (1) 0, Teemu Pukki 43 (0) 29, Jordan Rhodes 9 (27) 6, Dennis Srbeny 0 (15) 1, Marco Stiepermann 39 (4) 9, Alex Tettey 26 (4) 10, Louis Thompson 1 (5) 0, Tom Trybull 22 (9) 1, Mario Vrancic 14 (22) 10, Christoph Zimmermann 39 (1) 2.
What do you think? Let us know what your perfect 2004/2019 team would be - you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.