David Hannant: Norwich City highlights of the 2021/22 season

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It’s over, it’s finally over.

When the final whistle blew on City’s sorry season on Sunday, to say it was a relief was an understatement.

The fact that match official Chris Kavanagh seemingly did the refereeing equivalent of a mercy killing and blew the final whistle without adding a second of stoppage time probably said it all.

In all honesty, I spent the vast majority of the second half on my phone looking up results elsewhere, so the last few peeps of the whistle caught me off guard – but at least the season was over.

So clearly, the job now is to reflect on the 40-odd years that have passed since that Carrow Road curtain-raiser against Liverpool back in August. It has been that long, hasn’t it?

The easy thing to do at this point would be to unpick every agonizing moment, where it all went wrong, whether there was a ‘Sliding Doors’ style moment where in a parallel universe City stayed up and so on.

I could talk about how, despite a greater points haul, the final season was just so, so much worse than the last relegation – pointing out that there were considerably more games that sat on a knife’s edge, whereas this season we just haven’t competed.

But all of that has been said before and when it comes to City, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy – so instead, I’ve decided to pick out the high points. So here we go!

Battering Bournemouth


Christos Tzolis and Josh Sargent were two of Norwich City's summer imports

Christos Tzolis and Josh Sargent were two of Norwich City’s summer imports
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

In a season of many, many batterings, it feels strange to think that we were actually on the right side of one of them.

Yet, on August 24 in the League Cup, City ran out 6-0 winners, thanks to braces from Christos Tzolis and Josh Sargent, with the former putting in a man of the match display.

At the time it felt like the Greek’s arrival and a sign that we’d unearthed another gem. He may still come good, just not this year …

Pukki nearly breaks the net


Teemu Pukki of Norwich scores his sides 1st goal during the Premier League match at Newcastle

Teemu Pukki scores his screamer against Newcastle
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

I’m a sucker for a volley. Of all goals, they are probably the most satisfying to watch back – as Alex Tettey and Jonny Howson will no doubt tell you.

Clearly dropping two points against an out-of-form Newcastle side who played 80 minutes with 10 men was disappointing, although it paled in comparison to some of the season’s other ridiculous disappointments.

However, that volley of Teemu’s was a banger and, for me, our goal of the season – despite competition from …

Josh Sargent: Scorpion King

I’ve genuinely felt that Josh Sargent has been a bit hard done by in terms of the criticism he’s come in for.

The summer arrival from Werder Bremen has been a bit of a victim of his price tag, but he’s one of the players who always put in every ounce of his energy when he was on the pitch.

Has he had a good season? Of course not, but who has? And he has been no worse than anyone else for me.

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But for one night, away at Watford, he was a straight-up baller and a moment of instinctive innovation created one of the few moments of the season we won’t mind seeing again.

Funny to think it also the only point of the season we spent out of the bottom three – the mercuries must have been in retrograde that weekend.

As a side note, I actually preferred his header to the scorpion kick.

Pukki at the speed of sound

During that short spell where it looked like we might actually do something, Teemu Pukki scored after less than a minute against Crystal Palace, prompted cries of “we are staying up”.

With the net rippling at 38 seconds, it was the fastest goal of the Premier League season. That’s the real quiz, folks.

Sixteen minutes winning at Anfield


Milot Rashica of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 1st goal during the Premier League match at An

Milot Rashica and the Norwich players celebrate taking the lead at Anfield
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Most Premier League seasons I can remember have seen City take the scalp of at least one of the big boys.

This season did have that, for 16 glorious minutes, courtesy of Milot Rashica’s solitary goal – we had Liverpool behind. How many teams can say that this season? That is also the real quiz.

There was a bird on the pitch

Remember when a blackbird landed on the pitch at Carrow Road as City hosted Chelsea and proceeded to pose near enough the same level of goal threat as the team wearing yellow that day? Probably my third favorite ever moment involving a bird at a City game, behind the circling goose and the pigeon Jonny Howson rescued.

Kabak goes on an adventure


Ozan Kabak of Norwich heads for goal during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, BurnleyPicture

Burnley are a side that pose a unique physical test, something Norwich City will need to stand up to on Sunday.
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Ozan Kabak probably did not make all that much of a mark during his season-long loan from Schalke – much like Ralf Fahrmann, the last person we got on loan from the Bundesliga side.

But, against Burnley, he did basically dribble the entire length of the field and win a free-kick. Dizzy heights as far as this season goes.

Terrific efficiency and customer service

I lost my season ticket the week before the Spurs game. I have no idea where it is, still do not.

I called the box office on the Monday afternoon, fairly late on at that, to inform them of my tardiness and was told that I’d get a printed copy in the post and a new card in time for the new season.

My ticket arrived the very next day.

If we’d seen that level of efficiency on the pitch, perhaps we’d have stayed up.

Other seasons, this would have been a welcome development, but would have come nowhere near my end of season highlights list. This year, it makes the cut.

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