In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that had many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
Darren Huckerby had been part of some famous squads during his playing career, making a solitary appearance in Newcastle’s 1995/96 Premier League campaign when they pushed for the title under Kevin Keegan and playing for the Leeds side that went on to reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2001.
However, he tended not to stay for long in one place – less than three years at Coventry, 18 months at Leeds and roughly two-and-a-half years at Manchester City (with a loan spell at Nottingham Forest thrown in, too). Norwich knew they were signing a nomadic player when they initially took him on loan in September 2003 before later making the deal permanent, with TransferMarkt quoting the fee at £1.13m.
Having scored 20 goals in taking Manchester City into the Premier League two seasons previously, Huckerby had previous in that regard and repeated the trick for the Canaries, his 14 league goals in 2003/04 ending their nine-year exile from the top flight and earning him second place in the club’s Player of the Season awards.
Despite netting several goals in the Premier League the following season, he was unable to spare them from an immediate return to the Championship. However, he later revealed that, around that time, he had phone calls which presented opportunities for him to join Liverpool and Celtic, but he instead opted to remain at Carrow Road.
He was twice named the club’s Player of the Season, in 2004/05 and 2006/07, coming second in the intervening year, as well as being inducted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame in March 2006. Huckerby’s goal contribution might not have scaled the heights of his first season in Norfolk but his figures during the 2006/07 campaign, in which he tallied 13 goals and 16 assists, deserve huge commendation.
Unfortunately, injuries restricted his involvement in the 2007/08 season, which would prove to be his last one for Norwich. He nonetheless managed five goals and seven assists while also getting a chance to bid farewell to the Canaries faithful at a ‘Greatest Ever’ event at the end of that campaign. However, many supporters felt that this was an inadequate send-off for the player, who was ruthlessly released by Glenn Roeder during a very brief meeting (as per BBC).
Is Darren Huckerby a worthy inclusion in Norwich's Hall of Fame?
Until arriving at Carrow Road, Huckerby had never truly settled down at any one club. That changed after a tremendous five-year spell at Norwich in which he scored 48 goals in 203 appearances and became a fans’ favourite, as well as being deemed worthy of Hall of Fame inclusion by the Canaries.
This weekend, he will see his former club play their final Premier League game for the foreseeable future as they make the trip to another one of his old staging posts, Manchester City. With Norwich only scoring 26 goals in the league all season, how they could have done with a peak Huckerby this term to have given them a stronger chance of beating the drop.
Norwich fans, what are your favourite memories of Huckerby at Carrow Road? Let us know in the comments section below!
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