‘The game that saved my Norwich City career’ – Watford clash sparks memories for McVeigh
- Credit: Alban Donohoe Picture Service
Norwich City’s match against Watford this evening has brought back an important memory for Paul McVeigh, revealing that a performance against the Hornets had saved his Canaries career.
The former Northern Ireland international made 246 appearances and scored 39 goals for Norwich, mostly between 2000 and 2007, before returning during 2009-10.
McVeigh had joined ahead of the 2000-01 campaign after his time with Tottenham had come to an end but had only made two brief appearances under Bryan Hamilton.
With Nigel Worthington taking over in December of 2000, it looked like the forward's City career would be over before it had even got started.
"Fact: This is the game that saved my Norwich City career," McVeigh posted on his Instagram, including video highlights of a 2-1 win over Watford in the second tier.
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"Not many people know that Nigel Worthington had told me that 'I didn't have what it takes to be a Norwich City footballer' and that I was surplus to requirements and officially released me three days before this match against Watford on 27th January 2001. "I was devastated and my career felt over before it had even begun. I was due to join Bury FC on trial the following Monday.
"Due to a number injuries in the squad, I was told to be on the bench to make up the numbers but amazingly with 22 minutes to go and 0-1 down Worthy told me to get ready to come on.
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"So I entered the pitch and had, probably, the most impact that I've ever contributed coming off the bench and helped us to a 2-1 win in the dying seconds!
"In the changing room afterwards as I was leaving Carrow Road for possibly the last time, Nigel Worthington pulled me to the side and said 'you did well out there today, come in Monday and get your head down'.
"Nine years later, two league titles, top scorer (scoring 15 during the 2002-03 season), a play-off final appearance, 300 games and 40 goals and a member of the Norwich City Hall of Fame probably goes to show that your life will be less impacted by about what other people think of you and much more about how strong your desire is to achieve your goal.
"Keep the faith, trust your process and never, ever let anyone tell you that you don't have what it takes."
McVeigh played for Burnley and Luton before his return in 2009, being signed by Bryan Gunn during pre-season and making nine League One appearances as Paul Lambert led City to title success.