Top-flight years: Highs, lows... and a legend departs
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- 1 Norwich City transfer rumours: Reported target set to snub Canaries
- 2 Exiled City duo feature in stunning U23 friendly comeback
- 3 City ready for Cantwell and Aarons end game
- 4 City confirm midfielder exit
- 5 Canaries' ace Billy Gilmour belts out karaoke classic in city
- 6 'A lot of potential there' - City defender on trial at Coventry
- 7 Fans set for Carrow Road return in Gillingham friendly
- 8 'He is going to be a top, top player'- City star on Gilmour
- 9 City duo self-isolating after positive Covid tests
- 10 Farke savours Lees-Melou masterclass
Player of the season
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 (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.