Huckerby: I'm very happy here
CHRIS LAKEY Darren Huckerby is a rare breed in football - having turned down the chance to leave Norwich City for big money elsewhere and refusing to demand a long-term contract.
Darren Huckerby is a rare breed in football - having turned down the chance to leave Norwich City for big money elsewhere and refusing to demand a long-term contract.
The 30-year-old City cult hero could have gone for a free transfer at the end of the season, but has signed a one-year extension to his current deal.
Huckerby admitted there were other clubs interested in his services, but said Norwich were his number one choice.
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“Put it this way - if I'd left it to January I think I wouldn't have struggled to find clubs,” he said.
“My first choice has always been Norwich City, so it didn't really matter who it was, Premier League, Scotland, Championship, it doesn't really matter.
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“My first and really only option was Norwich City. I think the club knew that as well so it kind of made it easy for them.”
While Huckerby was Mr Diplomacy in his answers, reading between the lines and listening to the rumour mill, it was clear he could have lined his pockets elsewhere - a thought he said never crossed his mind.
“No, not at all. I said from the beginning I see myself playing here definitely for the next year,” he said. “It was my choice to only sign a one-year contract. I have seen a lot of people at a lot of clubs sit on three- and four-year contracts and I don't think that's the way it should be. I am very happy to sign it. I have never tried to leave this club.”
Huckerby has made more than 400 senior appearances, scoring 119 goals, in a career which has taken in the likes of Newcastle, Coventry, Leeds and Manchester City, but it is Norwich he calls home - and which could be where he kicks his last ball in anger.
“I'm 30 now, I can't see myself playing until I am 35,” he said. “I am very happy here and my family is very happy here and that was one of the main reasons why I stayed. I have a great rapport with the fans and in the time I have been here we have been quite successful and hopefully we can carry that on with Peter Grant.”
Huckerby's deal was announced to the City crowd just before kick-off on Saturday and, while it didn't quite have the same fanfare - or controversy - as the one which brought him to Carrow Road from Manchester City on a permanent basis three years ago, it is just as significant, given his alternatives.
The decision, on Boxing Day 2003, to commit himself to the City cause is widely credited with lifting the club to the First Division title - and Grant will be hoping for a repeat.
“I'd like to thank the club for showing the ambition to re-sign Darren,” he said. “There has been lots of interest shown by other clubs in signing Darren. He is a great signing for this club and shows where the club want to be.
“Hopefully we can match this with our performances on the pitch, to keep the quality we have and add further to it. Darren can clearly see that ambition.
“I would like to thank the board for committing the funds to extend Darren's contract and to thank the fans for the support they have given him, which I have no doubt has helped to persuade Darren that it is the right move for him to ignore lucrative interest from elsewhere and stay at Carrow Road.”