Top-flight years: The season Norwich City attacked the Premier League
- Credit: Archant
Mike Walker’s first season in charge at Norwich City would prove to be a memorable one as the Canaries stormed the Premier League in 1992/93. Mark Armstrong reports
After the disappointing way the previous campaign ended, which culminated in Dave Stringer’s exit as manager, the Canaries needed a new direction.
Mike Walker was handed his opportunity after being in charge of the club’s youth team and he would go on to preside over one of the greatest periods in the club’s history.
Many worried that losing last season’s top goalscorer in Robert Fleck would have a catastrophic effect. However, in signing Mark Robins from Manchester United, they found an able replacement and Walker’s commitment to younger players like Ruel Fox and Chris Sutton perfectly complimented the experience of players like Ian Crook, Mark Bowen and Ian Culverhouse.
The blend gave rise to an exciting team that appeared to have the first Premier League title within their grasp at Christmas time before settling for third place and a Uefa Cup place.
Story of the season
- 1 Canaries not pursuing Spurs defender; Billing latest
- 2 Norwich City transfer rumours: Talks held with United full-back
- 3 City recruitment chief to join Boro
- 4 City release 2021/22 squad numbers
- 5 Canaries' Q&A - with Paddy Davitt and Dave Freezer
- 6 Promotion came with consequences for City hopefuls
- 7 Canaries visit a matter of pride for Gills boss
- 8 Champions League ambitions driving Cantwell's City journey
- 9 Sutton backs Idah to challenge Pukki for Premier League starting spot
- 10 Balance of risk and reward for Norwich legend at Swansea
At half-time on the opening day, it looked like Norwich were merely continuing the poor form they ended the previous campaign with. Goals from Steve Bould and Kevin Campbell had put Arsenal 2-0 up at Highbury but Walker’s decision to bring on Robins in the 58th minute changed the course of City’s season.
Robins scored 10 minutes after coming on before David Phillips equalised. Ruel Fox put City in front and the incredible turnaround was complete when Robins got his second of the afternoon.
Norwich went on to lose just once in their opening 10 games and cries of ‘we are top of the league’ echoed around Carrow Road after a 1-0 win over Southampton – Robins netting an 87th minute winner.
Norwich were eight points clear at the top following a 2-1 win over Wimbledon - Robins and Phillips getting the goals – but they then went on a sticky spell in December with a six-match winless run.
By mid-February Norwich had slipped six points behind the pace but by the end of March Norwich were back at the summit.
Billed as a title showdown, Manchester United arrived in Norfolk on April 5 and proceeded to blow City away in the first half thanks to goals from Ryan Giggs, Andrei Kanchelskis and Eric Cantona. Robins pulled one back in the second half but the race for the title was over as far as Norwich were concerned, especially as four days later they were hammered 5-1 at Tottenham.
Norwich would go on to finish an impressive third though, albeit with a negative goal difference.
Despite Norwich’s third-placed finish it wasn’t enough to guarantee their spot in the Uefa Cup initially. They had to wait to see if Arsenal could win the FA Cup and secure a place in the Cup Winners’ Cup. They would then vacate the place they had won through their League Cup win.
Former Norwich defender Andy Linighan was the hero as his headed winner in the replay beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 after extra time.
Norwich’s first European adventure was confirmed.