The only way is up for Canaries
David Cuffley Manager Glenn Roeder will be determined to drag Norwich City up by their bootlaces again next season - from their lowest league finish for 44 years.Roeder's six-month rescue act preserved the Canaries' Coca-Cola Championship status as they won 13 and drew eight of their 33 games under his stewardship from November onwards.
Manager Glenn Roeder will be determined to drag Norwich City up by their bootlaces again next season - from their lowest league finish for 44 years.
Roeder's six-month rescue act preserved the Canaries' Coca-Cola Championship status as they won 13 and drew eight of their 33 games under his stewardship from November onwards.
But Sunday's 4-1 defeat in the last fixture at Sheffield Wednesday still left City in 17th place in the table, their lowest final position since the 1963-64 season.
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On that occasion, Ron Ashman's team finished 17th in the former Division Two, though it was effectively two rungs lower down the English football ladder than today, because there were 22 teams in the old Division One as opposed to the 20 currently in the Premier League.
Nevertheless, despite City taking just 13 points from their final 14 games, most fans will be more than grateful their side has avoided the same fate as relegated Leicester after appearing to be in a near hopeless position when Roeder took over a team with eight points from their first 13 matches. A 13-match unbeaten run from December to February even sparked brief hopes of a play-off place as City moved within four points of the top six before falling away.
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A total of 34 players appeared for the first team in all competitions, but only one was ever-present.
Goalkeeper David Marshall played all 51 league and cup matches, with full-back Jon Otsemobor next on the appearances list, missing just four games.
Jamie Cureton was top scorer on his return to the club after 11 years, with 14 goals in all competitions, but that was 10 fewer than in his previous season with Colchester, and he is one short of 200 goals in English club football.
On-loan striker Ched Evans weighed in with 10 priceless goals, while Dion Dublin, player of the season in his last campaign before retirement, scored nine.
Chris Martin, out of favour at senior level, was City Reserves' top scorer with 11 goals in 12 outings, while Robert Eagle and Damon Lathrope missed just one Combination match each.
Luke Daley - like Lathrope, awarded his first professional contract - played 28 out of a possible 29 games for City Under-18s and was top scorer with nine goals.
The Canaries' average home league gate of 24,527 was down by a mere 62 on last season's figure and was the second highest in the Championship behind Sheffield United.
The highest gate at Carrow Road was 25,497 for the last home game against Queen's Park Rangers, while Sunday's attendance of 36,208 at Hillsborough was the highest anywhere in the Championship this season.
A total of more than one million spectators watched City's 51 games with the figure of 1,017,831 fractionally down on the total for 2006-07, when there were two more games.
t FROM TOO MANY TO NOT ENOUGH
The Canaries fielded no fewer than 34 players under two different managers in the season just completed - but there may be barely enough of them left to make up a team when the 2008-09 campaign kicks off in August.
Six of the 34 have gone for good with Dion Dublin retiring, brief loan signing John Hartson also quitting the game and a quartet of Peter Grant signings - Julien Brellier, Chris Brown, Ian Murray and David Strihavka - swiftly moved on by his successor, Glenn Roeder.
The future for three current senior players is also unclear with Darren Huckerby, Gary Doherty and skipper Mark Fotheringham all out of contract and an announcement from Roeder imminent.
A further 10 of those 34 players were loan signings, none of whom are guaranteed to return next season, though Roeder would doubtless love to re-sign youngsters such as Ched Evans and Ryan Bertrand, with Birmingham defender Martin Taylor still a possible target for a permanent deal.
Decisions must also be made on out-of-contract brothers Ryan and Rossi Jarvis and Spanish triallist Juan Velasco, while midfielder Simon Lappin has a further year to run on his City contract but is still on loan at Motherwell and effectively out of the picture.
A string of players who did not appear in the first team in 2007-08 are also out of contract. These include Robert Eagle, Matthew Halliday, Bally Smart, Patrick Bexfield and goalkeeper Steve Arnold.