As Wes Hoolahan finally signs he joins an illustrious list of players who’ve worn Norwich’s yellow and our yellow/amber shirts. Here we run down a best 11 of players who’ve played for the U’s and the Canaries. We’ve gone for an attacking 3-4-3 formation because well, we make the rules here.
GOAL: John Ruddy
Making his United debut in a fiery end of season encounter at Brisbane Road, Ruddy saved a penalty and kept a clean sheet in a season that saw us survive by the skin of our teeth. Sadly, despite keeping nine clean sheets the following season, Ruddy alone couldn’t save the likes of Justin Walker and Igor Latte-Yedo from dragging us down to the Conference, and he was sold to Everton, making one Premier League appearance before being loaned around the Football League. Arriving at Carrow Road in 2010, Ruddy went on to make almost 250 appearances in the Championship and Premier League before leaving for Wolves in 2017 where he plays backup to Rui Patricio and alongside former U Will Norris.
DEFENCE: Rob Newman
A Norwich legend as part of that UEFA Cup run in 1993/94 culminating with a win at Bayern Munich, Newman pitched up at the Abbey in 2005 to build us a squad able to compete in the Conference. Despite having only a handful of senior players, and no money, Newman led us to a respectable 12th place finish, earning the adoration of fans not only for his no-nonsense brand of football, but his rugged similarity to Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear.
DEFENCE: Michael Nelson
Another hero at Carrow Road, despite making his debut in a 7-1 defeat to Colchester United Nelson won over the Norwich faithful with a series of committed displays as the Canaries surged up the League One table. His goal against Charlton in a 1-0 win saw Norwich promoted after just one season in the third tier. He later arrived at Cambridge during our first season back in the League, starting brightly partnering Josh Coulson and Ian Miller in defence. His form sharply dipped after the cup games against Man Utd, leading some to speculate of a falling out with the United hierarchy, which did him no favours with U’s fans.
DEFENCE: Elliot Ward
Decent at Norwich, crap at United. Not much more to say on him really.
MIDFIELD: Cedric Anselin
Played for Bordeaux alongside Zidane and Lizarazu, Anselin arrived at Norwich but a succession of injuries made it difficult to hold down a place in the first team and only seven appearances in two seasons meant Anselin left for Scotland. Arriving at the Abbey in 2004, Anselin struggled with injury and his mental health and became disillusioned with the game, leaving the U’s after only two appearances and fans wondering what might have been.
MIDFIELD: Cameron McGeehan
A legend in his own twitter page, McGeehan won the FA Youth Cup with Norwich but did not make a league appearance for the Canaries. Arriving at Cambridge just in time for our games against Man United, he placed himself in the shop window for a move to Luton, getting himself sent off towards the end of his loan spell so he wouldn’t have to make the long trip to an away game. McGeehan didn’t make the grade at Championship Barnsley, and ended up back in League One at Scunthorpe and Portsmouth. Any League One footballer with his own hashtag is a bona-fide dickhead in our eyes. #Camoon!
MIDFIELD: Luke Chadwick
Ah, Luke Chadwick. Now there’s a real legend. Premier League Winner, Play-off final winner, a man who says scoring at the NRE is a bigger buzz than playing in the Champions League knockout stages. After leaving Old Trafford, Luke moved to West Ham and Stoke before pitching up at Carrow Road for a couple of seasons before moving to MK Dons.
MIDFIELD: Wes Hoolahan
Okay, he’s not made a proper appearance for United yet, but Hoolahan made enough of an impact in Norfolk to be dubbed The Irish Messi by their fans. We’re sure he’ll tear up League Two next season.
STRIKER: Zema Abbey
Greedy and ungrateful, United gave Abbey his first taste of League football before he stalled on signing a contract to force through a move to a bigger club. A tribunal made Norwich pay us £350,000 which we wisely spent on Warren Goodhind.
STRIKER: Trevor Benjamin
You could throw a dart at a list of football teams in the top twelve divisions of English football and odds are you’d hit a team Trevor Benjamin played for. Bursting onto the scene at the Abbey in the mid-90’s, Benjamin earned himself a big-money move to Leicester City before moving to Norwich, West Brom, Brighton, Northampton, Crystal Palace, Gillingham, Rushden & Diamonds, Watford, Swindon, Boston United, Coventry, Walsall, The Pish, Hereford, Gainsborough Trinity, Northwich Victoria, Hednesford Town, Harrogate Town, Wellingborough, Kidsgrove Athletic, Tamworth, Woking, Bedlington Terriers, Morpeth Town and Wroxham.
STRIKER: Dion Dublin
What is there left to say on Dion Dublin? A legend at United and Norwich, Dion started his career as a defender in Norfolk before master tactician John Beck turned him into one of the most feared strikers in the lower leagues, his goals propelling the U’s through the divisions and to two FA Cup Quarter Finals. Slightly less masterful manager Alex Ferguson took note and bought Dublin to Old Trafford for £1,000,000 but a broken leg limited his opportunities with the English champions. Moves to Coventry and Aston Villa followed, where Dublin shared the golden boot and controversially missed out on a place in England’s France 98 squad. After leaving Villa, Dion played for Millwall, Leicester and Celtic, before returning to Carrow Road as a defender and retiring in 2008. His name adorns the bar under the Abbey Stadium’s main stand, but the whereabouts of the million quid United received for him remains unknown to this day.
SUBS: Jed Steer, Mark Peters, Paul Atkins, Luke Hannant, Adam Phillips, Iwan Roberts.
Agree with our list? Just remembered Adam Phillips spell at the Abbey and want the number for a good therapist? Let us know on Twitter @abbeystandpod