Well, compañeros, it goes back a long way. Henrik Mortensen? Wynton Rufer? Then after a while it became more common. Mattias Jonson[1]. Dave Striker. Omar from Cromar. Goran Maric. Goran Maric! None of them got anywhere at Carrow Road. Two of them even played in World Cups. But score goals at the FCR? No way, hose. Surely there’s a curse on free-scoring foreign forwards on Norfolk’s fields? ¡Hijo de puta!

Coincidentally towards the end of last season we signed a Liverpool reserve player on loan to cover injuries during the run in. Not many outside the avant-garde of NCFC supporters had heard of Dani Pacheco, (“el asesino”, apparently) but there was a shed-load of blog and message board postings from Liverpool fans to wade through saying he was the next Messi Wessi, so naturally we all worked ourselves into a frottaging frenzy, frenetically fulminating about his debut to come and how often he would be called Pikachu on Canary Call after the game. And when that debut came, it was good. Very good. 10 minutes in and he’d already laid on the first of WFLGH’s hat-trick and by the end of the game he was walking off to a standing ovation. 70-odd minutes and job done. It must be added that the opposition was Scunthorpe, headlong on their way to League 1 with a largely immobile central defence bolstered by the Admiral himself. I’ll not diss the Admiral, but even the most well-meaning of Norwich fans won’t praise him for his pace and movement. Pero ¡Dios mío! The assassin killed them.

He didn’t feature in every game after that, but his attitude and enjoyment just warming up on the side-lines could be clearly seen. He wanted a part of it. And he got it. Not happy with winning easily at Ipswich, he calmly created and scored the fifth, which meant we could write 1p5wich all over the interweb and be asked to leave the Coach and Horses after the game for excessive singing. Some of us were smiling spontaneously for a week afterwards without knowing why, and then the smile got bigger as we remembered. Dani was a part of that.

We loved the way he took part in the celebrations. He was, even if only for a short while, fully part of the team. THE TEAM! Last game of the season, already promoted, you’d think they’d take it easy, play off the hangovers, free-style a bit before the ticker-tape and the mini-trophy. And most of them did. Then along came the assassin, spanking one off the bar with a free kick and freezing the Coventry defence with his skill before executing the gol as a true matador. Which means “killer” in Spanish.

I don’t know one Norwich supporter who doesn’t want him back next season, either on loan or permanently. He would be perfect, slicing off the opposition’s ears in true corrida style. He has the skill, the attitude and the personality to make it work. And with any luck, he’ll banish the curse of the NCFC foreign striker for good.

by Andrew Blanchflower


[1] Note that I am deliberately ignoring Super Matty Svennsson to make a point, and because he’d been playing in Britain for decades.