Norwich City boss Chris Hughton told students tonight he wished he could turn back the clock 40 years to make the most of their radically revamped £21m school.

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The Canaries manager was the special guest at the City Academy Norwich awards, in Bluebell Road, where more than 60 awards were handed out to the most improved and best performing pupils.

And Mr Hughton urged students to learn the lessons of City striker Grant Holt, former England captain David Beckham, Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs and Peter Crouch, of Stoke City, who he says have gone above and beyond their natural talents to reach the top.

City send youngsters to study at the school while they live in the city and train at the youth academy.

And Mr Hughton said he had been impressed by the facilities and the philosophy at the school in a recent visit.

He said tonight: “I couldn’t have been any more impressed than what I was and I came away from that visit almost wishing I could turn back the clock 40 years, turn the corner and enrol myself.

“You can have good facilities but what you need is a strong philosophy to go with that and the planning and everything that has gone in to the building is first-class.

“It enables you to have a wonderful learning environment here and I think certainly as young students, you are very, very lucky to be in this environment.”

Sixth form students Daniel Downs and Lucy Myhill received the “Best Contribution to the Academy” honour, with both also receiving numerous accolades for their studies in different subjects.

Honours were also handed out to year 11s and, for the first time, year 9s and 10s.

City Academy Norwich’s Gary Burgess said tonight was a unique event and capped off a fantastic 12 months for the school, which included their best exam results and the new building.

He said: “Twelve months ago we had our awards evening in the old building. Those who drive up and down Earlham Road will realise that school is no more.

“The memories of that school are with you, the students from that school. In 10/15 years time you can say we got our GCSEs and A levels from that school and we made it a good school.

“And you can also say, very proudly, that the new school building on the site, you are part of that too.”

School principal David Brunton thanked Mr Hughton, who was presented with a box of chocolates, for his visit and told those gathered what had stuck out to him about the former Newcastle United and Birmingham City manager.

Mr Brunton said: “Chris has always impressed me. A lot of the students know my heart lies with Newcastle United. He did a fantastic job there before he was so inappropriately moved on.

“What impressed me though more than his achievements at the football club was I listened to a sports radio station and Chris was out of work and interviewed.

“What really impressed me during that interview was all the work he was doing when he was out of work.

“Chris was working just as hard out of work to make sure he got back into work and that said to me a lot about him and his character.”

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