Norwich City fan meets the Canaries’ idol he almost strangled
- Credit: Submitted
It was a moment of sheer elation – Norwich City fan Paul Freeman grabs his hero Ted MacDougall after watching him score a hat-trick.
Now, more than 40 years on and Mr Freeman has had the chance to once again meet the ex-Canaries star as he returned to Norwich on Saturday.
The grandfather-of-two was just 13 when he first met the city striker during a Division One clash against Aston Villa in August 1975.
And the photograph of him celebrating with Mr MacDougall was one that made it to the front page of thhat evening's Pink Un to mark the 5-3 victory. 'It was a great game,' Mr Freeman, now aged 54, said. 'I am pretty sure he had just scored his third goal and as he ran to the crowd, I sort of grabbed hold of him.
'I've had a lot of stick over the years for that one, and my kids always ask me if I was trying to strangle him. But he managed to wriggle away and get on with the rest of the game.
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The off-shore worker watched the game with his late grandfather and friend Steve Reynolds in the old Barclays stand.
And he said that Mr MacDougall, who scored 66 goals in 138 appearances for City, had been a 'hero' of his since a young age.
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'I remember waking up the next morning and this picture was on the front,' he added. 'It was quite a shock.'
Mr Freeman, who is a season-ticket holder and lives near Carrow Road, met with MacDougall on Saturday at a book signing event held Jarrold's before City's home game against Preston.
It gave Mr Freeman a long-awaited chance to meet his boyhood idol.
He said: 'It was great after all these years to finally get to meet him.
'When I showed him the old picture he remembered it well and said he had just scored a hat-trick.
'He said he'd seen it a few times and called it an iconic picture.'
n The former Canaries' goal machine made a rare return to Carrow Road when he was presented with the Pink Un front page celebrating a hat-trick he scored more than 40 years ago.
On Saturday Mr MacDougall was presented with a copy of that memorable front page by Norwich Evening News editor David Powles.
Mr Powles said: 'It was a real honour to present Super Ted with the front page. He got a fantastic reception from the Norwich fans and seemed really moved that people had remembered his contribution to the club. 'A lovely bloke as well.'
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