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Norwich City Football Club: The First 100 Years Of History

Norwich City Football Club was formed at a meeting at the Criterion Café in White Lion Street, Norwich, on Tuesday, June 17th, 1902. They played their first competitive game in an FA Cup preliminary round away at Lowestoft Town on Saturday, September 20th, 1902, losing 5-0.

There was mention of a Norwich Football Club as early as 1868, which coincides with the formation of the first English teams, such as Notts County and Sheffield United, but early reports included 13 or 14 men per side games with ‘touchdowns’ being scored.

The first signs of Association Football as we know it being played in Norfolk came in 1881, and the Norfolk County Football Association was formed.

They immediately organized a cup competition, and in March 1882, Norfolk & Norwich beat Kings Lynn 3-1 at Lakenham in front of over 1000 spectators to win that first-ever trophy.

Football’s popularity grew as the FA Cup and Football League competition took the national stage. More locally, Thorpe, Carrow Works, Swifans, Norwich Teachers, and CEYMS vied for supremacy with ‘Church’ as CEYMS became known, winning the Norfolk Senior Cup four times between 1897 and 1902.

Robert Webster and Joseph Cowper Nutchey were Captain and Vice Captain, respectively, of CEYMS in 1902, and they invited interested parties to join them in a new and exciting footballing adventure, the formation of Norwich City Football Club.

1902 to 1920

Webster was appointed the club’s first Chairman and Nutchey, Treasurer. Arthur Turner, then of Swifans, became Joint Secretary with John Howes, and Robert Collinson was City’s first Captain.

Norwich City Football Club approached the County FA to use Newmarket Road, the venue for County Cup Finals, as their home ground and were soon granted permission.

The Newmarket Road ground can still be seen to this day, next to Notcutts Garden Centre on the corner of Newmarket Road and Daniels Road, and is still used by local schools for hockey and rugby matches.

norwich city football club first playing colors and kits

The Early Years

Six weeks after that inaugural meeting, Norwich City Football Club was admitted to the Norfolk and Suffolk League, where they faced Beccles Caxton, Kirkley, Lowestoft Town, Lynn Town, Norwich CEYMS, Ipswich Town, and Yarmouth Town.

The club’s inaugural fixture was a friendly against Harwich & Parkeston at Newmarket Road on Saturday, September 6th, 1902, which ended 1-1, Jimmy Shields gaining the honor of scoring Norwich City’s first-ever goal, an equalizer to Harwich’s earlier effort.

One week after that first-ever competitive match against Lowestoft in the FA Cup, Norwich City FC embarked on their league fixtures, winning 4-2 at Beccles Claxton.

City, at that time, wearing blue and white, halved shirts with white shorts and calling themselves the Citizens, finished that first-ever season in third position, behind Lowestoft Town and Ipswich Town, in the Norfolk & Suffolk League.

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The following season, 1903-4, saw Norwich City Football Club win through to the 3rd Qualifying round of the FA Cup, only to scratch from their tie against West Norwood before a replay could be arranged, preferring to concentrate their efforts on the FA Amateur Cup – a strange pre-cursor to the events of December 1904.

Season 1904-05 was to be City’s last in the Norfolk & Suffolk League, and they ended their stay in style, winning the title. Off the pitch, however, City was the subject of an FA Commission, which found them to be a professional organization and excluded them from the FA Amateur Cup.

Messrs Webster, Nutchey, and Turner were suspended for, amongst other things, paying for gym facilities, advertising for players, supplying kits and boots, and incurring excessive traveling expenses.

1929 fa cup third round at the nest ground in norwich

Professional City

On March 3rd, 1905, at a grand public meeting held at the Agricultural Hall, a motion was endorsed that advocated Norwich City FC becoming a professional club. Southern League status was sought and awarded, while Norwich played host to high-profile end-of-season friendlies against Derby County and Woolwich Arsenal.

On a more quirky note, the club’s anthem, ‘On the Ball City,’ was first mentioned in the Eastern Daily Press. However, research suggests that Norwich City Football Club inherited the famous old song from longer-established Norwich sides such as Swifans or CEYMS.

The very popular Norfolk & Norwich pastime of breeding canaries was also becoming associated with Norwich City Football Club, but City was still nicknamed the Citizens.

Norwich FC remained members of the Southern League until the end of season 1919-20, finishing no higher than the 7th position they achieved in their first season at that level, in 1905-06.

Although there was little to report on the League scene on either side of the Great War, other significant developments were shaping the club’s next stage of development.

In the summer of 1907, with Norwich City becoming known more and more commonly as the ‘Canaries,’ the decision was taken to play in yellow shirts with green collars and cuffs.

On January 11th, 1908, a record crowd of 10,366 filled the Newmarket Road ground to see NCFC defeat FA Cup holders Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 in the first round of that season’s competition, with goals from James Bauchop and Tommy Allsopp.

With crowds continuing to rise and City’s landlords, the Town Close Estate Charity, placing unworkable terms in a proposed new lease, a new ground was required. So the Canaries took flight and landed at the Nest.

Norwich City The Nest Football Stadium

The Nest

The Nest was situated at ‘Ruymp’s Hole,’ a disused chalk pit in Rosary Road. Much work was to be done, with the stands from Newmarket Road being moved en masse across the City by horse and cart.

The ground was christened with a friendly against Fulham on September 1st, 1908. In front of a 3,000-strong crowd, Norwich City Football Club won 2-1. A new ground – a new nickname – new team colors: Norwich City was on its way!

In 1908-09 Reading objected to playing at The Nest, claiming the pitch was too small. Their objection was upheld, but City eventually won through the tie at the third attempt, only to be drawn away at top-flight Liverpool, where Norwich City FC upset all the odds to win 3-2.

Then, in season 1914-15, Norwich earned themselves an unusual place in the record books. Their FA Cup Third Round Second Replay match against Bradford City was played at neutral Sincil Bank, Lincoln.

Because the war effort was in full flow, it was decided to play the match behind closed doors so that local munitions workers were not distracted from their labors. Therefore the official attendance was nil, but as crowds grew outside the gates, a decision was taken to let an unrecorded number of spectators into the ground.

Due to the Great War, football was suspended from 1915-1919, but Norwich City Football Club still faced turbulent times despite the absence of on-field action.

As the club’s debts increased, it went into voluntary liquidation on December 10th, 1917. As a result, there was a lockdown at The Nest, and the club’s business was halted.

As a result of the club’s dissolution on November 6th, 1918, Norwich City Football Club was re-founded on February 15th, 1919. £5000 of capital was required, and £1800 was forthcoming at that re-formation meeting.

One more season of Southern League football followed before the Football League instigated a new Third Division comprising the entire Southern League.

norwich city FC

1920 – 1940

The Canaries kicked off their Football League fixtures with a 1-1 draw at Plymouth on August 28th, 1920, with Vic Whitham scoring the club’s first-ever league goal. Norwich City Football Club finished 16th in their first Football League Season.

The 1920s were a largely uneventful decade for City. They finished between 8th and 18th in each campaign, never seriously threatening to get promoted or having to apply for re-election.

It was the decade of green and yellow striped shirts, then white shirts, and a near disaster at The Nest when a retaining wall crumbled under pressure sending 60 people falling to the ground. Luckily no one was seriously injured.

The 1920’s also witnessed the legendary ‘Give it to Varco’ chant at The Nest. Percy Varco was a free-scoring center forward whom the fans idolized, netting 47 goals in 65 games and remaining a legendary figure in the club’s history.

By contrast, the 1930s were a period of high excitement for all Norwich City Football Club followers.

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The decade began in grand style with City recording their biggest ever victory when, on March 15th, 1930, Coventry City was thrashed 10-2 at The Nest. Only 8,230 fans were there to witness Tommy Hunt’s five goals in a record victory that is unlikely ever to be surpassed.

In season 1931-32, City’s fortunes, under Manager Jimmy Kerr, rose considerably. Improvement continued in 1932-33 when the Canaries finished a very creditable 3rd in Division 3 (South), five points behind champions Brentford. Unfortunately, Jimmy Kerr died of bronchial pneumonia in February 1933, and Tom Parker succeeded him.

In his first entire season in charge, Tom Parker led the Canaries to the Division Three (South) Championship by seven clear points from Coventry City. New signings Billy Warnes and Jack Vinall each scored 21 league goals as Norwich City FC lost just six matches all season, leading the division for 28 of the 34 weeks of the 1933-34 campaign.

norwich city football club history

Tom Parker’s Second Season

The Norwich City Football Club’s inaugural Division Two campaign achieved a mid-table place. Highlights included a 7-2 home win against Notts County and a 6-1 home success against Bradford City. However, in the FA Cup, a record crowd of 25,037 crammed into The Nest to see City lose 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday.

With crowds continuing to rise, The Nest’s suitability to stage big games came into question. Norwich City’s Board of Directors prepared plans to rebuild the Main Stand in March 1935, and in May 1935, the FA also stated their concerns about The Nest. Further plans to increase The Nest’s capacity were considered, but a move became the only viable way forward.

Several sites were considered for the Canaries’ new home, including Boundary Park, St James Hill, and even Chaplefield Gardens before J&J Colman Ltd offered City the use of Carrow Road, a site already being used by the Boulton & Paul Sports Club.

Plans were drawn up, and work began on June 11th, 1935. It was a massive undertaking, but miraculously, 82 days later, the ground played host to City’s Second Division fixture against West Ham United.

A crowd of 29,779, quickly Norwich City’s biggest-ever home attendance, witnessed City win a thrilling match 4-3, with skipper Doug Lochhead having the honor of scoring the first-ever goal at the new stadium.

Only the Main Stand was covered at this stage. Two seasons later, the Station End was covered, thanks to the generosity of Captain Evelyn Barclay, and the Barclay Stand was christened.

Three relatively uneventful Second Division seasons led into the 1938-39 campaign, which opened with four straight defeats, a start from which City never truly recovered. Only the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on October 29th, 1938, when Millwall was the visitor, enlightened a gloomy campaign.

Always in the relegation mire, Norwich City Football Club lost their penultimate match of the season 1-0 at Plymouth, with John Milburn missing a penalty.

That left the Canaries needing to defeat fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest by four goals to nil in their last game to avoid relegation. City won 1-0 and was relegated on goal average by 0.048 of a goal.

Just three games into the 1939-40 Third Division (South) season, all football was suspended due to the outbreak of the Second World War.



In name, Norwich City Football Club continued to function during the war years, playing in regional leagues and friendly matches against forces’ teams.

Guest players were common, with some famous names turning out for City during that period, and on one occasion, City defeated Brighton 18-0 at Carrow Road.

Although the war ended in May 1945, the 1945-46 season was still organized on a transitional basis, and normal Football League service was resumed in August 1946.

The two seasons immediately after the resumption of league football found the Canaries having to apply for re-election as they finished 21st on each occasion.

The only positive aspect of these two barren seasons was the booming attendances, with a new ground record of 37,863 filling Carrow Road for the visit of England center-forward Tommy Lawton’s Notts County side in April 1948.

Seasons 1948-49 and 1949-50 saw a marked improvement in the Canaries’ league fortunes and a new record attendance at Carrow Road of 43,129 when reigning League Champions Portsmouth were the visitors in an FA Cup Third-Round replay.

The first four seasons of the 1950s found the Canaries, now managed by Norman Low, finally challenging for promotion again. They finished second (then not good enough for promotion), third, fourth, and seventh in successive seasons, scoring a club record 99 league goals in 1952-53.

There were also some tremendous FA Cup exploits that helped the Canaries establish a notable cup-fighting tradition.

There were tremendous victories against Liverpool at Carrow Road in 1950-51 and more famously, at Highbury in 1953-54, by two goals to one, Tom Johnston scoring both goals.

The return of Tom Parker as Manager in 1955-56 coincided with Ralph Hunt’s Club record haul of 31 league goals in a season, but financial storm clouds were gathering on the horizon.

1970s at norwich city

Norwich City Football Club 1956-57 Season

This season will always be a significant turning point in Norwich City’s history. The season started well enough, but a spell of one win in twenty-eight games saw them struggling at the foot of the table.

Carrow Road’s floodlights were installed and opened with a prestige friendly against Sunderland. However, the £9000 cost of the lights plunged City into financial darkness.

Norwich City Football Club was stunned by non-league Bedford Town in the FA Cup First Round, losing 4-2 at Carrow Road, and soon after, it was revealed that the club could not meet its weekly wage bill of £500.

The Norfolk News Company lent the Club money, and an Appeal Fund was launched under the Chairmanship of the then Lord Mayor, Arthur South, with its target to raise £25,000.

The next three seasons proved momentous as the club took great strides forward on and off the soccer field. The Appeal Fund target was reached, and the team seemed to take great heart.

With the Football League planning a new Fourth Division for 1958-59, Norwich City Football Club needed to finish 1957-58 in the top half of Division Three (South).

Something they comfortably achieved by placing 8th, while this otherwise unremarkable campaign also saw the arrival of ‘legends to be’ Barry Butler and Terry Allcock.

1972 season at norwich city football club

The Canaries FA Cup Joy

The 1958-59 season remains one of the truly great periods in Norwich City’s history. It all began quietly enough, with the Canaries maintaining a mid-table placing through the season’s early months.

In the First Round of the FA Cup, Norwich City Football Club trailed 1-0 at home to non-league Ilford but recovered to win 3-1. Swindon was beaten, after a replay, in Round Two, but City’s league form through November and December was patchy.

As 1959 dawned, it was as if Norwich City FC were transformed. Litcham-born Terry Bly returned to the side to score 29 goals in 30 games, as the Canaries embarked on a fantastic run of form, losing just 3 of those 30 matches.

It was the FA Cup run that acted as the catalyst for this startling form. First, Matt Busby’s Manchester United was beaten 3-0 at Carrow Road on a snowbound surface in Round Three. Then it was Cardiff City, 3-2 at home in Round Four, with Norwich drawn away at Tottenham in the Fifth Round.

By now, Norwich and Norfolk’s footballing folk were caught up in City’s fortunes. An estimated 20,000 City fans were at White Hart Lane to witness Spurs last gasp equalizer to deny the Canaries a famous victory, but they were not to be denied, and in the Carrow Road replay, Norwich proved worthy 3-2 winners.

In Round Six, Sheffield United was the opponent. In the second half, Canary Keeper Ken Nethercott dislocated his shoulder after the Blades had taken an early lead.

He bravely continued and kept United at bay while Bobby Brennan netted a well-deserved equalizer. The replay proved equally dramatic as City again won by three goals to two to become only the third-ever Third Division team to reach an FA Cup semi-final.

Canary Cup fever had now taken over the nation as City’s fantastic exploits won them admirers and media coverage from every corner. Only Luton Town stood between City and a visit to Wembley.

the nest football ground in norwich

Spurs Misery

The Canaries had the better of a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane, as was the case in the replay at St Andrew’s, before Billy Bingham’s 56th-minute strike broke thousands of Norwich City Football Club hearts – a dream shattered.

That was City’s first defeat since December 27th, a run of 19 games. Archie Macauley’s team was shooting up the league, regularly playing three games a week.

The team’s character was unbelievable; after that semi-final replay defeat, they went undefeated in their next nine games.

Eventually, though, their backlog of games took its toll, and City missed out by four points and two places on promotion to Division Two.

Just one defeat in the first eleven league games of 1959-60 set out the Canaries’ stall, and that seam of consistency remained, and promotion to Division Two, as runners-up to Southampton, was achieved.

That momentum was almost maintained, and the 1960-61 campaign saw City achieve their highest-ever league placing of 4th in Division Two, but they were always just on the fringes of the real promotion battle.

1961-62 saw the departure of Manager Macaulay to West Brom; a fantastic FA Cup victory at League Champions-elect Ipswich Town; and Cup success as the Canaries became only the second winners of the Football League Cup, a competition still shunned by the country’s top clubs.

The final was a two-legged affair against Fourth Division Rochdale. Norwich City FC won 3-0 at Spotland and 1-0 at Carrow Road to enable Ron Ashman to cap his long and illustrious playing career with the honor of lifting a national trophy.

carrow road entrance

The 1960s At Norwich City Football Club

The 1960s saw Willie Reid, George Swindin, Ron Ashman, and Lol Morgan all given the opportunity to lift Norwich into Division One, but the best finish of sixth, in 1964-65, was the nearest they came. The FA Cup continued to provide occasional highlights.

In 1962-63, one of the harshest winters in memory, City’s five-match Cup run was condensed into 26 days and included four goals for Terry Allcock in a 5-0 home win against Newcastle and a Club record attendance of 43,984 for the Sixth Round visit of Leicester City, a tie Norwich disappointingly lost 2-0.

That season also saw Terry Allcock score 37 goals in all competitions, another Club record.

Then, in 1966-67, City again shook the footballing world, winning 2-1 at Old Trafford in a season where Manchester United won the Championship and swept all before them.

The South Stand’s roof was completed in stages off the football field, and in August 1969, Ron Saunders was appointed manager. The next chapter in Norwich City Football Club’s history was about to begin.

1970-1985 Club History

Saunders’ first two seasons in charge gave few pointers to the dramatic events of 1971-72, ending with the Canaries in English football’s top flight for the first time.

An unbeaten run of 13 games at the start of the campaign stood City in good stead, and despite the odd setback, they never lost their top two placing through to the end of the season.

City’s bad spell came in late January and February. Still, they finished the season strongly to clinch promotion away at Orient in their penultimate fixture and the Championship at a rain-sodden Vicarage Road Watford, where a Dave Stringer goal earned the Canaries the single point they needed to set City fans celebrating.

Fittingly, in 1971-72, Norwich City Football Club became the new owners of Carrow Road at a reported cost of £40,000.

The 1972-73 campaign was genuinely momentous in Norwich City’s history as they kicked off their Division One existence with a 1-1 home draw against Everton, Jimmy Bone netting their first-ever top-flight goal. City’s first win in Division One came, very sweetly, at Ipswich by two goals to one.

By October, Norwich was in the top six. Still, a catastrophic run of 19 league games without a win between mid-November and mid-April left City looking at an immediate return to Division Two.

However, three wins out of four, including a dramatic 2-1 win against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace at Carrow Road, eased them to safety. Strangely though, although City couldn’t produce a league win in five months, their Cup form, particularly in the League and Texaco competitions, took them to two finals.

The Texaco Cup was secondary until the two-legged final against local rivals Ipswich Town, when over 65,000 fans saw Town come out on top, 4-2 on aggregate over the two legs.

martin peters
Martin Peters

Hat Trick For Paddon

The real excitement came in the League Cup, when a stunning 3-0 win at Highbury, courtesy of a Graham Paddon hat-trick, took Norwich City Football Club through to a two-legged semi-final against Chelsea.

Another fantastic away success, 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, took the Canaries to within ninety minutes of their first appearance at Wembley.

The return match at Carrow Road could hardly have been more dramatic. City led 3-2 (5-2 on aggregate) with just six minutes remaining when heavy fog descended onto the Carrow Road stadium, leaving referee Gordon Hill with no alternative but to abandon the match.

Inevitably the fog lifted minutes after the irreversible decision was taken. Happily, for Canary fans, the match when it was eventually played was more straightforward, with City winning 1-0 to book a final appearance against Tottenham.

The Build-up to the final and the game’s kick-off was tremendous, but the match was a real anti-climax. Neither side played to their potential, and a solitary goal from Tottenham substitute Ralph Coates sealed Norwich’s fate.

Only in the last five minutes did NCFC seriously trouble Pat Jennings in the Spurs’ goal. No Cup Final glory then, but a first taste of the Wembley experience for players and fans alike.

Season 1973-74 was some act to follow, but it did its best. Unfortunately, the Canaries made a bad start this time and, in truth, never recovered and were relegated at the season’s end. Another League Cup run ended in semi-final disappointment at the hands of Wolves, 2-1 on aggregate.

The season’s major event came off the field as Ron Saunders resigned and the flamboyant John Bond was appointed.

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John Bond’s first entire season was another exciting campaign for followers of the Canaries. Promotion was achieved, in third position behind Manchester United and Aston Villa, and the League Cup Final at Wembley was reached again.

The disappointment was repeated as City failed to perform to expectations, losing 1-0 to Ron Saunders’ Aston Villa outfit. However, a style and panache were added to City’s play as Ted MacDougall, Phil Boyer, and Martin Peters stamped their mark on the club.

Six seasons of top-flight football followed as the Canaries won many new admirers with their free-flowing, attacking style of football. By finishing 10th in 1975-76, City achieved another highest-ever finish, but despite some exciting and exhilarating sequences, including a table-topping start to 1979-80, John Bond could not lift Norwich City Football Club that extra notch and into Europe. Off the field, a new River End Stand was constructed.

Early in 1980-81, rumors of unrest in the Carrow Road camp proved justified as John Bond left the club to join Manchester City, leaving his number two, Ken Brown in charge.

The Canaries struggled all season, but four successive wins in April seemed to have staved off the threat of relegation. However, a bizarre sequence of results in the last two weekends of the season saw City again condemned to Division Two.



The first two-thirds of the 1981-82 season gave little indication of any promotion hopes as City languished in a mid-table position. The spark which ignited the Canaries’ charge was the re-signing of Martin O’Neill, who inspired a fantastic run-in to the end of the season, including a spell of ten wins in eleven games. The promotion clinched in defeat, but City was back in Division One.

Two more top-flight seasons followed before the next historic season in Norwich City’s history.

A steady start to 1984-85 was rudely interrupted by a fire that gutted the old Main Stand on October 25th, 1984. The closure of the stand caused a few administrative headaches, but the season continued, and kind draws in the Milk Cup took City to a semi-final clash with Ipswich.

Trailing 1-0 from the first-leg at Portman Road, a fantastic Carrow Road night saw goals from John Deehan and Steve Bruce take City back to Wembley. It was a case of third time lucky for the Canaries as Asa Hartford’s deflected shot defeated Sunderland and City tasted Wembley’s success for the first time.

With a place in Europe guaranteed, City suffered a post-Wembley nightmare, and a run of eight defeats in nine games plunged them into the relegation mire.

An end-of-season win at Chelsea seemed to assure survival, leaving Coventry needing to win their last three games to condemn Norwich down. Unbelievably Coventry managed the feat, and City was down again.

Worse was to follow, though, as Norwich City Football Club was robbed of a UEFA Cup place following the Heysel Stadium tragedy. All English clubs were banned from Europe, leaving the Canaries facing Division Two without the excitement of a first-ever foray into Europe to look forward to.

norwich city football club league cup winners 1985


Norwich City made a slow start to 1985-86 but gradually found its form. A blistering spell of ten successive league wins from mid-November through to the end of January made them clear. The Second Division Championship was clinched with four games remaining.

Back in Division One, City enjoyed a tremendous return to the top flight, finishing in 5th position, another all-time best, a position which would typically have seen them qualify for Europe again, but the ban remained.

Off the field, the newly constructed City Stand was opened for the start of the season and officially, by the Duchess of Kent, in February 1987.

A faltering start to 1987-88 led to the acrimonious departure of Ken Brown as new Chairman Robert Chase moved swiftly to ensure City’s continuing success. Dave Stringer was appointed Manager, and the team recovered to finish 14th.

1988-89 proved to be another excellent season for Canaries fans. Playing a brand of attractive football which won many admirers, the Canaries contested the top spot of Division One for virtually the whole season, only fading in the last five or six games, eventually finishing in another best-ever position of 4th. Unfortunately, European qualification was denied for the third time.

Dave Stringer’s side also reached the FA Cup semi-final for only the second time in the club’s history, beating non-league Sutton United 8-0 on the way. On April 15th, 1989, Norwich City Football Club lost 1-0 to Everton at Villa Park on a never-to-be-forgotten afternoon.

Still, the tragic events at the other semi-final, Liverpool v Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough, were to change the whole future of English football.

The following two seasons were relatively uneventful as City continued to entertain their fans without the immediate success of 1988-89.

Webster1991-92 was to be the last Football League Division One season before the introduction of the new FA Premier League. The Canaries only avoided relegation at the season’s end.

However, another FA Cup semi-final appearance was a highlight, even if the team’s extremely disappointing display in losing 1-0 to Second Division Sunderland at Hillsborough wasn’t.

Off the field, the old Barclay Stand was demolished to make way for new construction to allow for the implementation of an all-seater stadium, as per Lord Chief Justice Taylor’s report, as seats were also installed in the Lower Tier of the River End Stand.

Dave Stringer resigned at the season’s end, and Reserve Team boss Mike Walker was appointed.

norwich city football club formation

European Joy

1992-93, Walker’s first season in charge, the first FA Premier League campaign, was truly remarkable. The team made a flying start and soon led the table by a staggering eight points in early December. A poor spell followed, but Norwich City Football Club was still battling it out for the title as late as early April.

They finished third, behind Manchester United and Aston Villa, but a UEFA Cup place was won – a new exciting venture beckoned.

Some tremendous away results at the outset of 1993-94 proved City’s success was no ‘flash in the pan, as they once again found themselves in the top six.

A 3-0 aggregate victory against Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem gave Norwich a winning start in Europe, and they were soon rewarded with a plum tie against Bayern Munich.

The Canaries became the first-ever English side to beat Bayern Munich in the Olympic Stadium, 2-1 and completed their task with a 1-1 draw in the home leg.

Inter Milan was next, but a late goal in each leg from Dennis Bergkamp did not portray an accurate picture of City’s endeavor and possessional superiority throughout both games.

Honor in defeat, but following a clash of ideals with Chairman Chase, Mike Walker resigned, and despite his successor John Deehan’s best efforts, City ended the campaign in 12th place.

The following season,1994-95, saw City 7th at Christmas but relegated by May. Then, a run of seven successive defeats as John Deehan resigned gave Norwich City Football Club no chance of survival.

carrow road

1996-97 Season

Consigned to Division One, Martin O’Neill, a great favorite with the fans, was appointed to lead Norwich back to the Premiership. By early December, City was lying second and looking set for promotion. However, behind the scenes, a financial crisis loomed, and O’Neill resigned on principle.

Chase was held responsible for his departure and the season degenerated into a battle of wills between Chase and the fans as the team’s form suffered.

In March 1996, Chase sold Ashley Ward and Jon Newsome without informing the Manager, Gary Megson, as the financial vultures hovered. Football became of secondary importance as Club President Geoffrey Watling bought out Chase.

The entire disclosure of City’s financial position, approximately £7 million in debt, was revealed, but a new happier era was dawning.

The summer of 1996 was dominated by Norwich City’s fight for financial survival as the debts were restructured. In addition, a newly constituted Board of Directors met public demand by re-instating Mike Walker as Manager.

Walker’s second reign as Canaries’ boss lasted for two seasons. During that time, his side occasionally flirted with promotion. Still, an incredible sequence of severe injuries to key players and the lack of financial resources prevented Norwich City FC from sustaining its challenge.

Off the field TV cook Delia Smith and her husband, Michael Wynn Jones, first joined the Board and then became majority shareholders, bringing new ideas to increase the club’s profile and boost the team’s chances of a return to top-flight football.

Three days before the end of the 1997-1998 season, first-team manager Mike Walker parted company with Norwich City Football Club. Even though Mike Walker did not have success in his second period as Norwich City manager, there was genuine surprise at his departure less than two years back at the club.

During the summer of 1998, there was a search for another manager. In the close season, Bruce Rioch was installed as First Team Manager, with Bryan Hamilton as his Director of Football.

Bruce Rioch came to Carrow Road with a good record as a football manager. As a result, the club’s fans were optimistic about the season ahead.

1961 norwich city football club

1998-99 Season

The club made a promising start to the 1998-1999 campaign, with a 1-0 victory against Ipswich Town at Portman Road being the highlight.

By Christmas 1998, the prospects of promotion back to the Premiership were looking good – but the club won a home game again on May 1st. During the season, enigmatic midfielder Keith O’Neill joined Middlesbrough. Off the field in December 1998, Bob Cooper replaced Barry Lockwood as Chairman.

As the Millennium Season of 1999/2000 dawned, there was an air of optimism surrounding the club. Injuries to key players and a poor start to the campaign ensured that Norwich never really threatened to play a part in the promotion chase.

In November of the Millennium Season, Chief Executive Gordon Bennett left the club to join Aberdeen. He had been credited with saving the football club in 1996 after former Chairman Robert Chase’s departure.

Before Christmas 1999, key midfielder Darren Eadie left Norwich to join Premiership side Leicester City for £3 million. This was seen as good business for a player with an injury record.

The club carried on with younger players taking the limelight.

March 2000 saw the departure of Bruce Rioch from the Club. As a result, Bryan Hamilton took temporary charge of the team. Bryan Hamilton’s first game in temporary charge saw a 2-0 victory against local rivals Ipswich Town at Portman Road. This victory led to Bryan Hamilton being permanently given the first team’s manager’s role.

With Philip Mulryne and Craig Bellamy returning to first-team action after serious injuries, the summer of 2000 was filled with renewed optimism. Four days after the new season’s opening match, Craig Bellamy was sold to Coventry City.

As a result of five consecutive league defeats, Bryan Hamilton resigned on December 4th, 2000, after failing to ‘strengthen’ the team.

First team matters were temporarily handled by assistant manager Nigel Worthington. As a result of improved performances, Nigel Worthington was appointed manager of the club on January 2nd, 2001, making him the club’s sixth manager in six years.

As part of club physiotherapist Tim Sheppard’s testimonial match in January 2001, Norwich City hosted former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill’s team. Norwich City Football Club held this match as a tribute to Tim Sheppard’s twenty years of service. Celtic eventually won 4-2 after a closely contested match.

A new trophy was added to the club’s collection in April 2001. In the Avon Insurance League Cup Final at Carrow Road, the Club’s Reserves defeated Reading Reserves 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out (after the match ended in a 1-1 draw after full-time and extra-time).

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It is about to unfold a new chapter in the history of Norwich City Football Club with a newly-appointed first-team manager and new chief scout, in addition to celebrating the club’s centenary in 2002.

Carrow Road entered a new era of optimism in the 2001-02 season under Nigel Worthington.

An unforgettable season hardly got off to an ideal start for all the club’s stakeholders. Nevertheless, it has been a positive preseason for Nigel Worthington’s new-look Canaries following the arrival of Clint Easton, Mark Rivers, Paul Crichton, Neil Emblen, and Marc Libbra in the summer transfer market.

The team was thrashed 4-0 by newly promoted Millwall on the opening day of the season, setting the stage for another long campaign.

Norwich was next in action at Carrow Road against championship favorites Manchester City, and Marc Libbra wrapped up his debut with a wonder goal to set Norwich on their way to a 2-0 win.

As a result of those two opening results in the season, the Canaries went on a roller coaster ride of a season that ended with them booking their first-ever place in the play-offs.

Along the way, there were many highs and lows. Norwich City FC won six consecutive home games during the regular season, drew six, and lost two. It appeared that Robert Green was on his way to becoming a future England goalkeeper.

The Canaries’ engine room was outstanding under Gary Holt, and Adam Drury was developing into one of their best pound-for-pound signings.

It wasn’t all sunshine for NCFC, as they were also knocked out of the League Cup at Brentford, Neil Emblen and Zema Abbey were both injured, as well as Preston North End and Birmingham City went down 4-0. As the Canaries went into their final home game of the season, they knew that a win over Burnley would ensure their 6th-place finish.

However, the news that Burnley was also 1-0 up in the second half settled Canary’s nerves just before the break. Meanwhile, Mulryne’s sixth goal of the season settled Canary’s nerves just before the break.

The play-offs were secured when Malky Mackay’s forehead met a Clint Easton cross just 15 minutes from the end, and Carrow Road erupted in celebration.

chris woods winning trophy at norwich

The Play Offs

In a two-legged semi-final, Wolverhampton Wanderers stood between Norwich City Football Club and a trip to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Although they trailed 1-0 at half-time, the Canaries won the first leg 3-1 thanks once again to Mackay’s late goal.

Nigel Worthington’s side went on to face Birmingham City in Cardiff in the second leg despite a late Wolves goal at Molineux.

There was no difference between the two sides in an evenly contested final that went into extra time. Iwan Roberts headed City in front, but Geoff Horsfield equalized, and it was a penalty shootout to decide City’s fate.

The shootout was won by Birmingham 4-2. For the first time in many years, the Canaries emerged as a serious promotion contender after the Cardiff experience. The Club was able to bridge the gap in finances left by ITV Digital’s collapse through an initial public offering at the start of 2003-04.

With Philip Mulryne signing a new deal with the Canaries, the club received a boost on the pitch. However, to improve on last season’s achievements, NCFC would have to win promotion to the Premiership.

The 2002-03 season got off to an excellent start for Nigel Worthington’s side as they showed no signs of a play-off hangover. But, sadly, injuries and poor form saw City finish 8th in the table after critical players left the club.

Aside from that, the 2002-03 season reached a different height than the previous one.

It was nonetheless pleasing for fans to see the Academy’s Ian Henderson, Dean Sinclair, Jason Shackell, and Ryan Jarvis emerge after a successful run in the FA Cup that ended at the hands of eventual finalists Southampton.

As a 16 year 282 day old on April 19th, 2003, Ryan Jarvis made his debut for the Norwich City Football Club rewriting the Club’s record books. During the first few weeks of the season, City struggled to score goals, especially away from home. Peter Crouch and Darren Huckerby were signed on three-month loans and helped the Canaries move up the table.

Leon McKenzie and Mathias Svensson were signed from Charlton Athletic and Peterborough United before Christmas, with the Canaries in an automatic promotion place.

In the local derby, Nigel Worthington’s side won 2-0 against arch-rivals Ipswich Town, with McKenzie scoring both goals on his debut. Worthington topped the table with two goals in the 4-0 victory. Huckerby’s permanent signing capped off an extraordinary festive period with victories over Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

Huckerby appeared to be at the center of everything as the Canaries led the table throughout 2004. In an incredible finish to the season, the Canaries won eight of their final nine league matches and secured promotion back to the Premiership as well as the First Division title after finishing eight points ahead of their closest rivals.

The First Division championship trophy was held aloft by captain Adam Drury at City Hall in front of a crowd estimated to be over 50,000.

Carrow Road and Norwich & Peterborough stand infill work are underway between the Jarrold Stand and Norwich & Peterborough Stand, preparing the Canaries for an exciting 2004-05 season.

2000_s norwich city football club playing kits


After a nine-year absence, Norwich City made a welcome return to the Premiership for the 2004-05 campaign.

Preseason had seen the Club travel to Malaysia with main sponsors Proton and Lotus Cars for a two-match first-team tour and football in the Community coaching program. Nigel Worthington made several changes to his City squad over the summer as he looked to create a team capable of competing in the top flight.

The club said a fond farewell to two popular figures, Iwan Roberts and Malky Mackay. Still, there was a return to Carrow Road for former player Dave Williams as Academy Technical Director.

With the departure of Paul Crichton, Scottish International goalkeeper Paul Gallacher joined on a free transfer from Dundee United, and Darren Ward on a two-year deal from Nottingham Forest.

Academy keeper Joe Lewis was to also sign his first professional contract in the October following his 17th birthday. Additionally, experienced Danish Captain Thomas Helveg signed on a free transfer, while Bolton midfielder Simon Charlton and Swedish International Mathias Jonson joined the club.

England U21 and Arsenal starlet David Bentley arrived on a year-long loan, and Graham Stuart was also to join the Canaries in January until the end of the season.

Goodbye Geoffrey Watling

This year, the club would also say goodbye to President Geoffrey Watling, who passed away in November.

His long association with Norwich City Football Club began in February 1957 when he was elected as Chairman of the Club at an Extraordinary General Meeting following the resignation of the entire previous Board of Directors.

He saved the club several times from financial ruin, including in 1996 after the departure of Robert Chase. After resigning from his position before the start of the 1973-74 season and serving as Vice-Chairman until November 1985. He became Club President, a position he proudly held until his death.

And it was fitting that the team registered their first Premiership win on the weekend after this sad news. Norwich FC came from a goal behind to win 2-1 against Southampton.

The start to the campaign was difficult, with the Canaries registering nine draws and nine losses, with only two wins during the pre-New Year period.

grant holt of norwich city football club

Norwich City Football Club Back In Premier League

In January, Norwich City Football Club broke their transfer record by bringing Crewe striker Dean Ashton to Carrow Road for £3 million.

The England U21 player debuted in a disappointing 3-0 display at Aston Villa. However, his home debut was to prove one of the most memorable matches of the season and potentially Canary history.

With just 12 minutes left on the clock and 4-1 down, the Canaries were to battle back to salvage an unlikely 4-4 draw against Middlesbrough, with Ashton and Adam Drury netting their first Premiership goals.

The first part of 2005 was to continue highlighting the top league’s toughness, with only two Canary wins in 11 matches. A 4-1 defeat at Highbury, which saw an inspired Premiership top scorer Thierry Henry put a hat-trick past City, did not look like good preparation for the visit of Manchester United to Carrow Road.

However, goals from Dean Ashton and Leon McKenzie saw Norwich to victory over the Premiership giants, their first loss in the League in 21 games. It was also to spark a grandstand finish to the Canaries season, which would see the Club battle hard to gain control of their Premiership destiny.

Victories over Newcastle, Charlton, and Birmingham City and a draw with fellow relegation candidates Crystal Palace left the Canaries in 17th place and one point above the drop zone.

For the last game of the season, a first away win at Fulham would see Norwich City Football Club avoid relegation back to the Championship.

Unfortunately for the 6,000 plus Canary fans who made the trip to Craven Cottage, the battling performances of late were far from evident as City were on the wrong side of a six-goal defeat which saw them relegated.

The next day saw a star-studded benefit match at Carrow Road for former player Alex Notman, whose career was prematurely ended by injury in November 2003 after failing to recover from a persistent ankle ligament injury suffered against Ipswich Town the previous season.

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The start of the 2005-06 season was full of expectations as the club returned to the Championship.

City Manager Nigel Worthington had added several new faces to his squad after the departures of Phil Mulryne, Gary Holt, Mathias Svensson, Marc Edworthy, Danny Crow, Thomas Helveg, Matthias Jonson, Damien Francis, Matt Svennson, David Bentley, and Graham Stuart.

Incoming was Andy Hughes, Mattheu Louis-Jean, Peter Thorne, and Jason Jarrett, with Dean Marney joining on a season loan from Tottenham, an agreement that would end early after the midfielder picked up a severe achilles injury in October.

The Canaries played their first three league fixtures at home after their opening-day opponents. Coventry City was forced to swap venues, with the Ricoh Arena still needing to be completed.

Home advantage counted for little, as NCFC was held to three draws after lacking killer instinct in front of the goal. The first away match of the season ended in defeat, with Nigel Quashie scoring the winner for Southampton with a twice-taken penalty after Robert Green had saved his first effort.

This season saw several disappointing away displays, with the Canaries only winning on five league trips and a Carling Cup game at MK Dons. August saw the Canaries announce a new contract for star striker Dean Ashton, ending transfer speculation linking him with a move back to the Premiership.

However, the rumors would continue until he completed a January transfer window move to West Ham for £7.25m. But before his departure, he would become the first Canaries player since Iwan Roberts in 2000 to bag a hat-trick in a memorable 3-1 win over Southampton.

Norwich got September off to the best possible start by recording their first league win of the season against Plymouth in front of the Sky television cameras at Carrow Road.

Unfortunately, the loan acquisitions of Spurs defender Callum Davenport and Charlton striker Kevin Lisbie could not stop the Canaries from getting back to losing ways with a miserable trip to Watford.

The first away league win of the season came at Portman Road, where Darren Huckerby sealed the win with a coolly taken goal in the second half.

The Canaries returned to Carrow Road to face Northampton in the Carling Cup. It produced a workmanlike display to see off the lower-league opposition thanks to a penalty from Huckerby and an instinctive finish from Ashton.

However, their cup run would end with a third-round trip to Premiership strugglers Birmingham City. Midfielder Carl Robinson arrived on loan from Sunderland, making his debut in the match at Coventry in November before sealing a permanent switch in January for £50,000.

Inconsistency was proving to be Norwich’s biggest enemy over the autumn period, and December started with another lackluster 2-0 defeat at Derby.

However, Norwich City Football Club responded in magnificent style with five successive wins during the festive period, which saw Nigel Worthington collecting the Championship Manager of the Month title for December.

City’s incredible run was ended in the New Year by Preston leaving Norfolk with three goals and all three points and Premiership new-boys West Ham beating the Canaries 2-1 at Carrow Road in the third round of the FA Cup.

Before the trip to Reading and the closure of the January transfer window, the Canaries announced the signing of West Brom hit-man and Welsh international Robert Earnshaw for a fee of £2.75m.

Fulham defender Zesh Rehman and Charlton forward Jonatan Johansson also joined on loan. Still, their arrivals were insufficient to prevent City from slumping to a 4-0 defeat at runaway Championship leaders Reading. That display and result left the Canaries a long way off the promotion-chasing pack, with the play-offs now looking less and less likely.

Canary inconsistency continued throughout the remainder of the season with a 3-0 win over relegation-haunted Brighton, one of the best away displays of the season at Leeds United, and an Earnshaw cracker earning the Canaries a win at his former Club Cardiff some of the best moments.

The season was to finish with Paul Gallacher making his first start in goal in place of Robert Green, who had injured himself in the warm-up at Hillsborough, and Earnshaw in hot form, scoring eight goals before the end of the season.

However, a last-day defeat to Wolves would see the Canaries end the season in a disappointing ninth place and 13 points outside the play-off places.


The summer of 2006 heralded several changes for the club on and off the pitch. First Team Coach Steve Foley left the club after ten years at Carrow Road to be replaced by former England U19 Head Coach Martin Hunter.

An announcement was made that low-cost airline Flybe would be the club’s new main sponsor, with the new home and away kits also launched at the beginning of May.

July saw the opening of Carrow Park, a Barclays Spaces for Sport development behind the Jarrold Stand. The initiative to be run by Football in the Community will provide the nearby community access to a vast range of sporting activities.

NCFC goalkeeper Robert Green was named in the full England squad to travel to Germany for this year’s World Cup, only for his dream to be dashed by a groin injury ahead of the competition.

After 241 appearances (one as a substitute) for the Canaries, the 26-year-old made a return to the Premiership in August, joining West Ham in a deal that could be worth up to £2m to Norwich City Football Club.

The summer transfer window was frustrating for the Club, with Jason Jarret, Simon Charlton, and Darren Ward leaving Carrow Road but Lee Croft as the only addition to the Norwich FC squad.

The 21-year-old right-sided midfielder joined the Canaries from Manchester City for £600,000. The close season also saw Academy players Michael Spillane, Andrew Cave-Brown, Matthew Halliday, Robert Eagle, and Andrew Fisk sign professional contracts with the Canaries.

Central defender Jason Shackell extended his contract for another two years, tying him to Carrow Road until the summer of 2009.

City got off to an excellent start to the season, which saw them reach second place in the league after five league matches and progress to the third round of the Carling Cup. However, a poor run of performances culminated in a 4-1 loss to Burnley.

After the game, the club announced that it had parted company with Manager Nigel Worthington after more than five years in charge.

First-team coach Martin Hunter is currently in charge of the first team as caretaker manager, assisted by Doug Livermore. City Chairman Roger Munby commented: “The Board would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Nigel for all he has done for the club in his time as manager. “The search for a new Norwich City manager will start immediately.”

On October 13th, the club confirmed the appointment of former Celtic and Norwich City player Peter Grant as the new first-team manager.

Grant had been assistant manager to Alan Pardew at West Ham during an exciting period of rejuvenation for the Hammers, which saw them promoted to the FA Premier League in 2005 and narrowly beaten in a thrilling FA Cup Final against Liverpool the following summer.

Grant’s first full match in charge of the Canaries saw them gain an excellent 1-0 away win against Birmingham City at St Andrews.

However, despite more good wins against West Bromwich, Cardiff City, Sunderland, Leicester City, and QPR, NCFC was knocked out of the Carling Cup at Port Vale after a penalty shoot-out. In addition, a string of disappointing league results left them 17th in the Championship as 2007 arrived.

A competent and professional display saw Norwich City Football City avoid a potential banana skin in front of a live BBC One audience as they beat Conference strugglers Tamworth in the FA Cup to earn a fourth-round tie away to League One side Blackpool.

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