On The Brink Of Promotion - We Remember The Free Scoring Norwich Team That Almost Won The Premier League And Beat Bayern Munich
Daniel Farke’s Norwich City have been far and away the best team in the Championship this season and could seal promotion today if Sheffield United lose in the early kick-off to Nottingham Forest, and the Canaries beat Sheffield Wednesday at Carrow Road. So often the East Anglians have been promoted and failed to make their mark on the Premier League but next season should be different for Norwich, who have a clear identity under Daniel Farke.
But the Yellows haven’t always been relegation fodder in the Premier League. In fact, they nearly won the damn thing in the debut year of the brand new format, in 1992-93. At the start of the season, expectations were low. They had just sold their top scorer, Robert Fleck for over £2 million and having finished 18th the season before many fans and pundits expected a relegation battle.
However, that could not have been further from the truth. Mike Walker had taken over as manager, and was a relative rookie to the managerial game, having only managed Colchester for one season in 1986 before taking charge of the youth team at Norwich.
He stepped up to the plate for the inaugural Premier League season and brought in Mark Robins, Gary Megson and Efan Ekoku to strengthen his squad and they began proving the critics wrong. They went 2-0 behind at Arsenal on the opening day before star man Mark Robins came off the bench and inspired a 4-2 win.
That set the tone for the rest of the season, and the Canaries went on a storming run through the early months, beating Chelsea and Crystal Palace in the early months. Their ability to save points from the death was a feature of the early months of the season and they found themselves top of the league at end of September.
The combination of Mark Robins and Chris Sutton tore teams apart in the early part of the season and the results kept coming during October and November. They spanked Blackburn 7-1, and also beat Oldham and Villa along the way, although they did lose at Liverpool. At the beginning of December, the club went eight points clear at the top of the league, a position which was unthinkable at the start of the season.
A defeat to Manchester United rattled them in December and they failed to win any of their next six matches, including losing an East Anglian derby to Ipswich, a run of results which ultimately cost them the title. They beat Man City for the first time in almost 30 years before a strong March put them back into contention.
Three defeats in April, to Manchester United, Tottenham and those pesky Tractor Boys officially handed the Red Devils the first Premier League title. Norwich ended the season in third and booked themselves a spot in the UEFA Cup for the following season where they would also enjoy success.
They beat Vitesse in the first round before beating Bayern Munich in Germany 2-1. That result has gone down in history with the Canaries progressing after a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road. They then lost to Inter Milan in the following round but this Norwich team and manager and Mike Walker should not be forgotten for their achievements in the top flight.