Norwich City v Sunderland: we’ve waited long enough for a return to this as a top-flight league game. Julian Canham* is old enough to have attended to Friendly Final – the Milk Cup decider between two teams already or just about (see first comment) relegated – and recalls us getting revenge in the 1992 FA Cup semi at Hillsborough. He can’t make the Carrow Road game but has plenty of thoughts on the two clubs, Delia Smith, Steve Bruce and football generally …
Salut! Sunderland: Back in the Premier but, until last weekend’s fine win at Bolton, hovering just above the bottom three. More or less as expected or are you playing better football than the earlier results implied?
We are playing quite well, and playing good football but punished for every mistake. After the brilliant results for both Norwich & Sunderland last weekend, I am as confident as I can be that we will both be climbing the table sooner rather than later.
Who would have guessed on Aug 2009 that you’d romp to the League One championship that season and follow it with promotion to the Premier a year later? Were you there for the 7-1 home defeat by Colchester and how on earth was that turned around?
Fortunately I was in Turkey when the Colchester humiliation happened, however, this result was probably the best thing that could’ve happened, it was the catalyst to recruit Paul Lambert – who, along with his team and the chief executive ( David McNally) have transformed the whole club in record time, and for that we will always be eternally grateful.
What was your assessment of Paul Lambert’s transfer activity before the window closed, who will be key to your season’s progress and where are you still weak?
PL invested early and wisely in my opinion, Pilkington & Bennett will grow into top footballers and James Vaughn has real potential – if he remains fit. The key to success will be via Wes Hoolahan – he is our closest player to Messi! Centre of defence is an area that needs to be settled very swiftly as some silly mistakes have been made already and cost vital points
And what, are your minimum and maximum expectations for this season?
I honestly expect the Canaries to stay up without too much drama – stretch target would be to finish in top 12.
Describe the relationship between Norwich City supporters and Delia Smith. Do you follow her recipe for crunchy roast potatoes?
Delia has been wonderful, she is no oil baron, but she and her husband have supported the club financially to the tune of several £m – we would be out of business without this, and she is a passionate supporter and a lovely person – I have met her on a number of occasions, she always has time for a few words. As for roasties – no one is capable of matching those made by my wife, but we do follow a number of Delia’s recipes – I have to be honest – Nigella is more my kind of cook/woman!
The Friendly Final and all that. Do you have first-hand or handed-down memories of that day at Wembley?
Pleased to say I was there (aged 22) and involved in the 50 a side kick about before the game with Black Cat supporters – in the stadium we were outnumbered 60/40 – but it was a great day but not a classic final – I still have some memorabilia from that day – flag/flat cap etc.
The easy question: recalling his day as Norwich manager, are you surprised that Steve Bruce has had to struggle for the hearts and minds of Sunderland supporters?
Steve Bruce will always be a heroic ex Canary, not convinced he will ever be a great Premier manager though – a bit like Trevor Francis used to be – think you might be better off with Lee Clark perhaps?
And any other memories or anecdotes concerning Norwich and Sunderland links or past fixtures?
Whenever Sunderland and Norwich fans meet, they always seem to get on well. SAFC got their revenge for the 85 Milk Cup by beating us in the FA Cup semi final at Hillsborough in 92 and despite our frustration at Johnny Byrne’s winner we were pleased for Sunderland – Oh & I have to admit the only time I went to Roker Park was in 87 – to see … David Bowie – in the rain !
Which players have given you greatest pleasure in Norwich colours, which old-timer do you wish you;d seen and who should have been allowed nowhere near Carrow Road?
Greatest ever player had to be Martin Peters – a 31-year-old World Cup Winner for £50k – never to be repeated. Favourite player would have to be Darren Huckerby – brilliant clubman (still is) and a real talismanic player for us. Honourable mention must go to Bryan Gunn – a legend in these parts. Glen Roeder as manager was the single worst thing that ever happened to us – I feel sure he was sent as a plant from 1p5wich and all but destroyed us. strange he has not been in employment since – apparently he is a big xbox fan!!
What will the top four be, in order, this season, who will go down and – if not already listed and trying to be honest rather than just loyal – where will each of our clubs finish?
Top 4 this season – no surprises – Man C, Man U, Chelski & Liverpool – relegation – Wigan, Newcastle & Bolton.
Sunderland to finish 14th & Norwich 15th
What do you think about all the money sloshing about in certain predictable areas of the game – and does that leave everyone else as so many Cindarellas?
Most if not all of the Premiership wealth comes from foreign investors for the chosen few – which is sad – and unless you are mega rich it is impossible to compete properly now. I would be happy if the top five left to form a fabled super league and never return
The Barton Question: what form of cheating most angers you and do we just have to accept it as part of the modern game or is there some way it can be stamped out?
I think we need to introduce a sin bin similar to rugby/ice hockey – goal line technology simply has to be introduced – now. FIFA is a poor example for the Joey Bartons of this world – not until the top is sorted out can we hope to address the appalling gamesmanship, which is rife in the Premier.
Salut! Sunderland deplored the conduct of Phil Bardsley once it became clear he admitted the sneaky stamp on a Chelsea player. What is your view of the behaviour of Marc Tierney at Bolton?
I was delighted to see City finally lay to rest their quest for an away victory in The Premier dating back to Dec 1994 ! I actually thought Norwich were far better when Bolton had eleven players on the pitch, so the sending off did not really do us any favours. Regarding the dismissal – on first sighting on TV I thought that it was a vicious head butt, but replays revealed it was closer to a peck on the cheek, I cannot condone the behaviour of Marc Tierney – unless someone in the crowd actually shot him ! so no, not impressed no matter who does it (gamesmanship).
What else should Norwich or the football authorities do the improve the lot of the ordinary supporter?
We need to keep a lid on the corporate side, I have always had great pride in Norwich being a Community club, but already since promotion – the thought police have been introduced and long time fans are being penalised with petty threats of legal action – ie : a local brewer introduced a “Canary Beer” and was told he was not allowed to use the club crest and similar has happened with local pubs using the crest on blackboards advertising the games, hardly a problem considering we sell out home & away every game – no matter what league. Loosen up for heavens sake !
Will you be at the game and what will be the score?
I am a season ticket holder but will be in Germany on(another) holiday – prediction 2.2 – But – hope to come to Stadium of Light later in season
Julian Canham on Julian Canham:
Finally: describe who you are, what you do, your history as a Norwich City supporter
I am 50, a self employed Energy Assessor, a season ticket & share holder of many years and have been a fan since 1975, first Sunderland game was a 2.2 draw at Carrow Rd in April 1977 – about 10,000 Sunderland fans attended cheering their team on come back from 2 down – Bobby Kerr scored I seem to remember and Shaun Elliott who later played for us – Greatest moment – beating Bayern Munich 2.1 on their own patch – 1993 UEFA Cup
Interview: Colin Randall