Apparently the age when a youngster is most likely to be influenced is eight. Therefore, as a youngster, the early seventies allowed me to absorb a great Leeds United team with Billy Bremner, Peter Lorrimer, Mick Jones, Sniffer Clark, Jack Charlton… the list goes on and I am confident I could recite the whole squad just as easily as the Canaries team at that time.
They were a very well organised, hard tackling well oiled machine and a desire to win at all costs.
It was also a fantastic time to be a Norwich City fan with promotion to the top league in 1972 and our first chance to play the big boys week in, week out. I can still remember Jimmy Bone's first City goal in the top league. Duncan Forbes, Dave Stringer, David Cross, Graham Paddon, Ken Foggo… great, great players. Ron Saunders was similar to Don Revie's outfit, without international stars, it contained muscular, organised, focuses players.
The first Division One campaign was a very interesting one with five games contested against Leeds. Firstly City lost both league games home and away and the Third round of the FA Cup produced two draws before being decided with a 5-0 Norwich defeat at the neutral venue of Villa Park as that was how cup games were decided back in the day before hair gel, fast cars and millionaire salaries. Eventually in 1976, City were able to pick up a first top flight victory beating United 3-0 at Elland Road.
Fast forwarding to 1993 and Norwich were finishing third in the Premiership, playing in the UEFA cup and again beating Leeds away, this time 4-0 in a game which produced the much televised volley from Jeremy Goss.
In recent times Leeds had been a good source of transfer signings with Robert Snodgress, Jonny Howson and one I'm really surprised he did not make it at Carrow Road, Luciano Beechio.
There appears to have been so much turmoil in recent years at United, it's difficult to keep up with who the manager is or to recall any of the players names that turn out now for the Yorkshire faithful. I am sure though that Leeds United will have their day again in the near future.
Saturday is now a sell out, partly because Leeds always take a great following but also because it's Wesley Hoolihan's last home game having served the club with 10 fantastic years and being a key part in three promotions.
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- Wes the Magician and the Irish Messi
What we all expected has now come to pass: Wes Hoolahan will leave Norwich City at the end of this season after 10 eventful years in yellow and green.
- No stats, only misty eyes, memories and poetry
I will be watching the Leeds game through misty eyes doubtless. For the time has come to say goodbye to Wesley Hoolahan… Hoolahan… Wesley Hoolahan.
- Three-Year Plans
As for the Stuart Webber/Daniel Farke axis, I’m not sure whether any precise time-scale has been set for ‘the project’ (I’m still puzzled about when and why this term entered the football lexicon, but that’s a side-issue).
Norwich have really struggled to score goals this season and have only ever had two senior strikers at the club this season. Nelson Olivera hasn't scored in fourteen games and Dennis Srbeny, who replaced Cameron Jerome, once in twelve outings having transferred from the German third tier.
Our gem, midfielder, James Maddison has 15 goals to his name and has either scored or assisted in 48% of City's goals, you could call us a one man team. Expect a slow build up, lots of sideways and back passes and a odd shot on goal. I wonder who will be player of the year! That's a tricky call.
The City faithful will simply be hoping for the 'Irish Messi' Wes to pop up in the box, turn on a sixpence and slide the ball into the back of the onion bag with his usual casual ease. Let's hope for an entertaining 90 minutes, it would be a welcome change.