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Graham Paddon – one of City’s all-time greats

PUBLISHED: 09:08 20 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:50 22 October 2010

Former Norwich skipper Graham Paddon

Former Norwich skipper Graham Paddon

CHRIS LAKEY

Tributes have poured in for Canaries legend Graham Paddon, who died yesterday at the age of 57. The former midfielder with the famed left foot died unexpectedly at his Norfolk home.

Tributes have poured in for Canaries legend Graham Paddon, who died yesterday at the age of 57.

The former midfielder with the famed left foot died unexpectedly at his Norfolk home. He leaves a partner, Sandra, and children Guy, Jenny and Heather.

Paddon had two spells at Norwich City, between 1969-73 and 1976-81, making a total of 340 appearances and scoring 37 goals.

As a mark of respect, black armbands will be worn by City's players for Saturday's match at home to Coventry, the club where Paddon began his career. There will also be a period of applause prior to kick-off.

Paddon will go down as one of the truly great players in City's history, his left foot and long throw the trademarks of his game, his flowing mane the trademark of his character.

His skipper, Duncan Forbes, remembers him vividly.

“He had the most fantastic left-foot,” said Forbes. “He didn't need to get very far over the halfway line before he looked up and unleashed a shot at goal. It was superb.

“And he had a huge long throw. We used to practise moves at the old training pitch at Trowse. He would take the throw, I would flick it back with my head and there'd be someone coming in behind to score.

“But I suppose it was the left foot which made him famous because it really was so very good.

“Sometimes as his captain I had to have a little word with him, about something or other, but whereas some players might answer you back, Graham didn't, he just did what was asked of him.

“He was such a lovely lad, quietly spoken - just a real nice guy and a real good footballer.”

Born in Manchester, Paddon was signed from Coventry by Ron Saunders for £25,000 in October, 1969 and made 197 appearances, scoring 28 goals, before his departure to West Ham in 1973.

He was a key member of the 1971-72 promotion-winning side alongside Kevin Keelan, Dave Stringer, Doug Livermore and David Cross and played in the 1973 League Cup final defeat to Spurs.

Paddon joined West Ham in 1973 for £170,000, winning the FA Cup two years later and reaching the Cup Winners' Cup final the following season.

Alan Taylor, now running a newsagents' shop in Norwich, scored both goals in that 1975 FA Cup final win over Fulham - the second of which came courtesy of Paddon.

“It was his shot that Peter Mellor couldn't hold, and I nipped in to score from the rebound,” recalled Taylor, who also played with Paddon at Carrow Road.

“He is rightly regarded as a Norwich City great, but he was also instrumental in two major successes at West Ham. He scored a superb goal in the Cup Winners Cup semi-final away leg at Eintracht Frankfurt which got West Ham to the final. It was a hell of a goal.

“Graham had a terrific left foot, absolutely terrific and I remember him as a lovely, lovely guy.

“When I went to West Ham he was one of the senior professionals and someone I looked up to. He always helped people like me, Billy Jennings and Keith Robson. When I first went there I was a young lad coming from Rochdale in the old Fourth Division and you needed players like Graham to look after lads like us and teach us the right way to do things.

“It is a very sad day and our thoughts go to his family.”

Paddon then returned to City in 1976 - for a fee of £110,000 - and stayed until 1981, captaining them in his final season. He made 143 appearances in his second spell, scoring nine goals.

His second spell coincided with that of Kevin Bond, now manager of Bournemouth, who believes Paddon lived up to the tradition of both West Ham and Norwich.

“He was a footballer, an absolute footballer,” said Bond. “He had that famous left foot which served him so well at both clubs and was a very good player. He was a lovely man too. I socialised with him during my time at Norwich and he was always good company. A real football man has been taken away from us.”

Former team-mate Dave Stringer said it had been a privilege to play alongside Paddon.

“He was a terrific player for Norwich City and was a member of the team that won promotion to the First Division for the first time,” he said. “He was very much an integral part of that team.

“His contribution to us going up can't be underestimated. He was one of the foremost professionals that year and went on to gain recognition at other clubs. He scored some tremendous goals. He had a very good left foot and he always had a very long throw, which was often used by the team.”

Stringer said Paddon also caught the eye off the pitch.

“He was a bit of a fashion icon at the time,” he said. “He had long, blond hair and wore all the latest clothes. He was extremely well liked by everybody and got on with his job with lots of determination.”

Livermore also recalled Paddon's contribution to the Canary cause with fondness.

“Graham was an excellent player,” he said. “I will never forget his three goals at Highbury against Arsenal in the League Cup quarter final when we won 3-0 in 1973.

“He was a major influence in the promotion side of 1971-72 under Ron Saunders. We always kept in touch since we met as players at Norwich 36 years ago. He was a great man and a good friend who will be sorely missed by all those who knew him.”

Paddon also played for West Ham, Millwall and American side Tampa Bay Rowdies as well as having a spell playing in Hong Kong for Eastern.

He sold his tenancy interest, acquired in 1979, in The Ship public house in South Walsham to head to the Far East and on his return ran the South Walsham Hall country club and squash courts in partnership with a Swiss businessman.

Paddon - nicknamed Budgie by City fans after the TV character made famous by Adam Faith in the early 1970s - admitted he missed the daily involvement in football and in 1985 he joined Portsmouth as reserve team coach and youth team supervisor.

He was appointed assistant manager at Stoke City in December 1989 and then became caretaker manger. He returned to Fratton Park in May 1991 as assistant manager and then reserve team coach.

In recent years Paddon had scouted for Liverpool, Derby and Leicester, acted as a consultant in Yemen and coached Brunei club DPMM.

GRAHAM PADDON FACT FILE

Born August 24, 1950, Manchester. Died November 19, 2007

Club career

t Coventry City (May 1, 1968 to October 2, 1969), five appearances, one goal.

t Norwich City (£25,000, October 2, 1969 to December 6, 1973), 197 appearances, 28 goals

t West Ham (£170,000 December 6, 1973 to November 11, 1976), 150 appearances, 20 goals

t Norwich City (£110,000 November 11, 1976 to April 1978), 143 appearances, nine goals

t Tampa Bay Rowdies (April-August 1978)

t Millwall (December 1981), five games, one goal)

t Eastern FC, Hong Kong 1982

Coaching career:

t Portsmouth (August 1985 to December 1989 - reserve team coach, youth team supervisor)

t Stoke (December 1989 to May 1991 - assistant manager, caretaker-manager)

t Portsmouth (May 1991 to February 1995 coach, assistant manager)

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