Terry's all gold derby memories

Terry Allcock cuts an imposing figure; he's tall, lean and looking in good shape at the age of 70. The handshake is firm with a "you let go first" quality about it.

Terry Allcock cuts an imposing figure; he's tall, lean and looking in good shape at the age of 70. The handshake is firm with a "you let go first" quality about it.

And when he talks, you listen. Because Terry Allcock truly is a Norwich City legend, not a fly-by- night who came, scored a few goals, played a few games, and then skittered off to pastures newer and greener.

Allcock is second behind only Ron Ashman in appearances, playing 384 games for the Canaries and scoring 127 league and cup goals - a club record 37 of them in one memorable season.

In 11 years at Carrow Road, he crossed swords with the old enemy many a time - and has plenty of happy memories.

You may also want to watch:

"A derby game is more enlivened by the media and the supporters - the players don't have the antagonism or rivalry in the same degree as the supporters or the media build up," says Allcock, at the Norwich funeral directors business he runs with his family.

"I have some great friends from people I played against at Ipswich, the Crawfords, Elsworthys, Phillips' and that crowd, they were great lads and after the game you chatted and if you met them in the street you'd have a drink with them.

Most Read

"You don't relate to it the same as the supporter does - but nevertheless when you get out on the field there is that intensity about the game."

The rivalry between fans has always been part and parcel of the game but the intensity really hit home with a bang in the mid-70s when, having hung up his coaching boots, Allcock made a spur of the moment decision to go to a game at Carrow Road.

"Obviously there has always been a rivalry with the fans," he says. "There was a period towards the end of my career and it was nasty. The fans had got to be separated all the time, there wasn't the sort of seating you have now and it was standing room for the crowd. But the first time I ever really noticed it was when I had finished.

"I went down to see a game, I decided at the last minute to go, and it was against Ipswich in about 1976.

"I went and stood in the Barclay and it was frightening really but I'd got in the wrong section - I played there all those years and I didn't identify it. It was just the nearest entrance so I just went in and there I was with the Ipswich fans."

Allcock, unrecognised, escaped unscathed, but it's unlikely to have ruffled too many feathers. As he says, not much bothers him and, having played alongside such luminaries as Nat Lofthouse at Bolton before moving to Norfolk in 1958, he was used to the worst of pressure-cooker atmospheres - so life in Division Three was, if not a breeze, then rather easier.

"Personally I don't think the derbies affected me," he said. "I was very calm - it took a lot to get me excited - but that was confidence of our own ability. It sounds big-headed, but it didn't matter who I played with or against I always felt comparable, if not better, but that was an attitude of mind that I had ingrained in my system.

"It was from playing at a very early age with international players so you were never overawed. When we had that marvellous Cup run in 1958/59 we played all the top teams, but I don't think any one of our team felt overawed by them because five or six of us had come from playing the year before in the top flight. We had achieved things at that level so you weren't overawed by it.

"The year before, when Bolton won the Cup, I scored two or three goals in the cup rounds before I moved to Norwich for the 59 run.

"The bigger the occasion, quite honestly, I think the better I played. That was the thing that gave you a buzz, there was nothing better than playing in a big stadium with a full house. It's when you go to the lesser clubs, poor facilities and poor attendances that you needed to motivate yourself accordingly."

Norwich's isolation, in football terms, means Friday night stop-overs, be it 1966 or 2006, but that's just about the only thing they have in common.

"It's a different world now," said Allcock. "If we kicked off at 11.30 we wouldn't have left until, what, 9.30 by coach, just buzz down there. Norwich is isolated in the football world so the majority of our away trips were Friday night trips. We'd go by coach or train and we stayed in good hotels. At Bolton because we were in an area where there were lots of clubs you never left until 12 o'clock - and that was for away games!

"The players don't know how lucky they are, but I have no jealousy of them, none at all. I don't think they enjoy it as much as we did.

"In my day the supporters could relate to the players, we were on, in comparison to today's stupid money. But even then we were better off than the man in the street. In those cup games we always had a lunch before the game at the Royal Hotel, which used to be opposite Anglia TV. Then we'd walk down to the ground, go down Prince of Wales Road and along Riverside Road and people would be walking alongside you, wishing you luck, or tapping you on the back. They could identify that we were normal people."

And normal meant playing for the right to stay another season, not just to see out a lucrative and length contract.

"The difference between now and when I played is the comfort zone," he said. "Salaries were capped for 90pc of my career so consequently that's why clubs got loyalty from us.

"The year I scored 37 goals in a season I could have gone anywhere, but what was the point? I couldn't have earned another penny, not legally, it would have cost me to move and with a family in state education it was stupid to pull them around the country.

"But if it had been this day and age you would have moved immediately because of the rewards. You would have extended a contract five years and have had ridiculous salaries.

"It's immoral really the money - but that's the comfort zone we are in. It is a complete reversal of when we played.

"Then, the clubs had complete control. You waited in June for a registered letter through the door to say you were retained the next year, so you had no security really.

"You had self motivation and you were always playing for another contract. I wouldn't have been happy sitting as a sub - to train all week and play10 minutes would have driven me crackers.

"In our day if you were out of the side or injured or dropped, then your money dropped so you would work like hell to be playing. We played with injuries. I played with a broken leg for 75 minutes - they just put you on the wing and that was it.

"These metatarsals - they just gave me an injection at the Norfolk and Norwich and you played. Mind you, in the second half it was very painful."

Allcock is hoping there will be no pain this weekend, as far as the result is concerned - although he admits to difficulty when asked for a forecast.

"On the face of it, it's a banker draw," he said.

"I think if Norwich score first they might probably win, but I can't confidently say we are going to win - we had an horrendous away record until two games ago so it's no banker away win. But then Ipswich have had two poor home results.

"The thing is, you can be on a superb run and you go into a derby game and you can toss it out of the window. It's a case of who on the day gets the first foot in the door."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus