So, where are they now? The doomed Norwich team of 2009 contained so many loan faces that when the exodus began, it was mainly of people who didn’t belong in the first place. But there were a few bottlers that year. A few players who felt they were too good for League One, and once they helped put us there, fled at the first opportunity. So what’s their story been since?
Clingan – the inspiration for this piece, after the abuse he got on Saturday. A move to Coventry beckoned for a player who, apparently, didn’t want to leave. On the ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’ scale, he’s certainly not as bad as others, and I would have loved to held on to him. But to Coventry he did move, where he did alright, for a while. Got a few goals, played some decent stuff like we know he can, before Aidy Boothroyd came in and Clingan found himself sidelined. We all know Boothroyd doesn’t have much use for midfielders, and Clingan began to make noises earlier in the season about needing to find first team football. Lucky for him, Boothroyd got himself sacked and Coventry are much better for it. Like many players, some poor career decisions have stalled a player who could be playing for a better team.
Marshall – Like Gordon Banks, David Marshall is best known for one particular save. Unlike Gordon Banks, David Marshall is not that great a goalkeeper. Some goalkeepers are seen to be better than they are when they play for poor teams because the volume of saves they make is much larger. This doesn’t make them good goalkeepers, just busier ones. This is known as the Ben Foster Effect, and during Marshall’s time at Norwich he played behind such consistently average/poor defenders that he came off looking good out of sheer volume. Evidently, he was too good for League One, deciding to leave the moment our relegation was confirmed. Off he went to Cardiff where he was the model of averageness, losing his place to Tom Heaton and then getting injured. Both Forster and Ruddy are better.
Croft – Buzz Lightyear lookalike champion Croft had an up and down career with Norwich. The stunner against Leeds and his Player of the Season trophy come to mind, but many fans never quite took to him. Inconsistent performances didn’t help, but when he was on form, he was an excellent winger who would have been an asset in League One. This makes it all the more enjoyable that since he decided he was too good and left on a free transfer to Derby, Norwich have gone from strength to strength while Croft struggled at Derby, was loaned to Huddersfield (yes, in League One, earlier this season) then sent back to Derby when Lee Clarke said he wasn’t good enough. Derby are now actively trying to get rid.
Many footballers careers are defined by poor career choices. Jason Jarrett, Darel Russell and Wes Hoolahan all joined Norwich only to watch their former clubs go on and get promoted. Some, like Wes, recover from that. Some don’t. All 3 of the players mentioned were key for Norwich just a couple of years ago, but you can bet all the money in your pockets that none of them are going to end up in the Premiership.