Chris and the Canaries
Friday, 08 October, 2010
Former Norwich and Under-21s favourite Chris Sutton talks to TheFA.com.
England v Romania
UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2011
Play-Off First Leg
7.30pm, Friday 8 October 2010
Carrow Road, Norwich City FC
Tickets for the game have now sold out, but for fans who still want to see the game, it will be screened live on ESPN.
England Under-21s take on Romania in front of a sold out Carrow Road tonight.
The capacity crowd will be hoping that Stuart Pearce's Young Lions can get a positive result in the crucial first leg of their Euro 2011 play-off tie and one man who knows all about big nights in Norfolk is former Canary Chris Sutton.
The Norwich City Hall of Famer played 126 games and scored 43 goals for the Canaries and his considerable impact at Carrow Road helped the club reach third place in the inaugural Premier League campaign and achieve a memorable UEFA Cup run in 1993-94 – where they beat Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium.
But the club’s influence on the youngster was equally significant, having moved Sutton from centre-half to centre-forward, in his formative years.
“I didn’t mind,” says Sutton of his switch up front. “I’d always been comfortable playing both positions, as a junior. There was an injury and we didn’t have a big squad, so I got shifted.
“If anything, I preferred playing centre-forward. Everybody likes to score goals! So it wasn’t like I was outside of my comfort zone. I think it’s good as a player to be versatile.”
The move did his development no harm and by the time Norwich were making their mark in Europe Sutton had established himself as one of the country’s top forwards – a period he looks back on with fond memories.
“Playing in Europe in 1993-94 [is the highlight of my time at Carrow Road], especially those games against Bayern Munich. We’d done well in the League to qualify and had a very strong team – we weren’t afraid of anyone.
“The atmosphere was amazing at both games and it was a special time for Norwich. I was just a youngster breaking through, but we had some great experienced players who helped me, like Ian Crook and Ruel Fox,” he says.
When Sutton came to leave the Canaries for Blackburn Rovers at the end of that season, he had made 13 appearances for England’s Under-21s and given a glimpse of what was to come during a lengthy career.
Having hung up his boots in 2007, Sutton is now involved in management and would not rule out a return to the club where he made his name.
“I still live in the area and I have great memories from my time at Norwich, so it’s a club I’m very fond of.
“Paul Lambert is doing extremely well there. I played with him at Celtic and he’s a very good coach.”
The full interview with Chris Sutton can be read in the England Under-21s v Romania matchday programme.