Top-flight years: Highs, lows... and a legend departs

Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 64026719/05/2013Jonny Howson of Norwich sco

Jonny Howson celebrates scoring Norwich City's third goal at Manchester City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The 2012-13 season was the start of a new era in Norwich City's Premier League adventures - Chris Lakey looks back 

Norwich manager Chris Hughton at Fulham

Chris Hughton looks on during his first match in charge of Norwich City - a 5-0 hammering at Fulham - Credit: Andrew Tobin/Focus Images Ltd


In August, 2012, Paul Lambert, who had lifted the club up by its bootlaces from the depths of League One to the Premier League in successive seasons, was no more. An acrimonious departure for Villa Park took a lot of the shine off his time at Carrow Road. It was all fairly unpleasant. His replacement was an altogether different kettle of fish: Chris Hughton was respected throughout the game. It looked an ideal fit. “It's a good feeling, something I've been very excited about, it's been done very speedily which I'm absolutely delighted with," Hughton said of his appointment. 

Slow burner 

City began the season on the banks of the Thames, at Craven Cottage. It was a beautiful day – unless you were either Chris Hughton or a Norwich City fan. For them, it rained. Specifically, it rained goals. A 5-0 drubbing against a club generally considered to be City’s bogey side.  

Anthony Pilkington of Norwich scores against Manchester United

Anthony Pilkington scores Norwich City's only goal of the game against Manchester United at Carrow Road - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd


City finished 11th in the table – only in the inaugural Premier League season of 1992-93, when they finished third, have City been higher up the football food chain. Hughton had done an excellent job, something perhaps not properly recognised today. After that awful start, they steadied the ship with three draws, but there were consecutive thumpings by Liverpool and Chelsea before it got much better. A fine nine-game unbeaten league run, which included wins over Arsenal and Manchester United, followed. The run ended rather violently, a 4-1 home defeat to Aston Villa – managed by Hughton’s predecessor, Paul Lambert. Wins became scarce, but City finished well, with a 4-0 thumping of West Brom and then a 3-2 win at Manchester City.

Player of the season - Sebastien Bassong

Player of the season - Sebastien Bassong - Credit: Archant

Most Read

Player of the season 

Sebastien Bassong 

The Cameroon international was signed from Spurs by Hughton, with whom he had worked at Newcastle United, at the start of the season. Powerfully built, he became the first player from outside the British Isles to win the prestigious Barry Butler Trophy. 

Grant Holt of Norwich scores his sides second at Manchester City

Final hurrah - Grant Holt celebrates his final goal for Norwich City, on the last day of the season, at Manchester City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Top scorer 

Grant Holt (8) 

Set the ball rolling on his own season with goals in three consecutive games in the autumn – against Liverpool, Chelsea and the winner against Arsenal. Also finished the season with goals in three consecutive games - against Aston Villa, West Brom and Manchester City. But that goal at the Etihad was the last the Canaries legend would score in the yellow and green – he left Carrow Road in the summer, joining Wigan for £2m. Gone, but never forgotten. 


A moment of unwanted history cannot go without mention. It came in the FA Cup fourth round when Luton came to Carrow Road and recorded one of the competition's great upsets, winning 1-0, thanks to a goal by Scott Rendell. It was the first time a Premier League side had been beaten by a non-league team. 

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