As our summer series comes to an end, David Freezer looks back on Norwich City's record highs and lows in the top flight.

Norwich City are preparing for their 27th season in the top flight as Daniel Farke searches for the formula required to establish the Canaries at the top table of English football.

The majority of those campaigns (17) were prior to the formation of the Premier League in 1992, following the club's first promotion to the top tier in 1972.

With well-documented financial restrictions as a self-funded club, the difficulty of competing with lavishly-funded Premier League teams grows by the year, but City have enjoyed top-flight stability before.


City's longest stint in the top flight was the nine seasons that followed the Division Two title success of 1986, which included finishing fifth (1987), fourth (1989) and third (1993).

So it's little surprise to see four important players of that era leading the way for top-flight appearances, led by goalkeeper Bryan Gunn as the only player to surpass 300 for the Canaries.

In terms of the Premier League era, Alex Tettey moved up to eighth place as he made his 101st appearance at the end of 2019-20.

None of the current crop can join that top 10 this season, with Todd Cantwell and Kenny McLean the closest having made 37 appearances during the 2019-20 relegation season.

Top flight: 1 Bryan Gunn (304), 2 Mark Bowen (289), 3 Ian Crook (273), 4 Ian Culverhouse (266), 5 Kevin Keelan (238), 6 Ian Butterworth (233), 7 Dale Gordon (200), 8 Tony Powell (197), 9 Martin Peters (196), 10= Ruel Fox, Jeremy Goss (172)

PL era: 1 Russell Martin (125), 2 Mark Bowen (119), 3 John Ruddy (116), 4 Wes Hoolahan (112), 5 Ian Crook (106), 6 Bryan Gunn, Jonny Howson (104), 8= Alex Tettey, Bradley Johnson (101), 10 John Polston (100)


John Deehan remains top dog in the scoring stakes for City in the top tier, with his 48 goals scored from 114 games between 1982 and 1985, keeping him ahead of the exploits of World Cup winner Martin Peters between 1975 and 1980.

Chris Sutton enjoyed the best individual goal-scoring season when he notched 25 in 41 matches during 1993-94, earning his British record £5million move to Blackburn after a mid-table finish.

Sutton remains the top scorer of the Premier League era for Norwich, with his 33 leaving him 10 clear of Grant Holt. Teemu Pukki's 11 during 2019-20 moved the Finn to eighth so further goals this season will swiftly move him up that list.

The only other players to manage 20 in a top-flight season for City were Ted MacDougall with 23 during 1975-76 and Deehan with 20 during 1982-83.

Top flight: 1 John Deehan (48), 2 Martin Peters (42), 3 Robert Fleck (41), 4 Kevin Reeves (37), 5= Justin Fashanu, Chris Sutton (35), 7 Ted MacDougall (34), 8 Dale Gordon (30), 9 Kevin Drinkell (28), 10 John Ryan (26)

PL era: 1 Chris Sutton (33), 2 Grant Holt (23), 3 Mark Robins (20), 4 Efan Ekoku (15), 5 Anthony Pilkington (14), 6= Robert Snodgrass, Wes Hoolahan (12), 8= Teemu Pukki, Ruel Fox (11), 10 Steve Morison (10)

Eastern Daily Press: John Deehan remains the Canaries' top scorer in the top tierJohn Deehan remains the Canaries' top scorer in the top tier (Image: Archant library)


Having finished fifth and fourth in the 1980s, the Canaries went one further under Mike Walker when finishing third in 1992-93 to secure Uefa Cup qualification.

City had been the surprise package of the inaugural Premier League season though and spent much of the campaign top of the table, with a 3-1 home defeat to eventual champions Manchester United in early April proving the turning point.


There's no avoiding it, the 2019-20 campaign which had started with so much promise ended up being the worst in Canaries history - at any level.

Just 21 points and a club-record 10 successive defeats as relegation was confirmed, saw Farke's team enter the history books for all the wrong reasons, with injuries and the Covid-19 pandemic making the season all the more difficult.


Norwich have won 4-0 on several occasions in the top flight, the most recent of which was against West Brom in 2013 to seal survival, but they have scored more than that in four matches.

That includes Efan Ekoku's four-goal haul in the 5-1 win at Everton in September 1993 and the same score at home to Birmingham in 1982 and Stoke in 1980.

City's biggest win in the top tier was in April 1984 though, when Watford were thrashed 6-1 at Carrow Road, with Deehan scoring four.


A night to forget for Chris Hughton's team as they flopped to a 7-0 defeat at Manchester City in November 2013.

Bradley Johnson and Russell Martin both scored own goals during the reigning champions' romp at the Etihad, following on from a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in the League Cup a few days earlier.


The most goals scored in a top-flight season was 65 during a tumultuous 1993-94, with Sutton at the heart of that attacking threat as City finished 12th under John Deehan after Walker's exit for Everton.

The fewest goals scored was the 26 during 2019-20, which was two fewer than the 2013-14 relegation season.

Eastern Daily Press: Chris Sutton enjoyed City's most prolific individual season in the top flight, during 1993-94Chris Sutton enjoyed City's most prolific individual season in the top flight, during 1993-94 (Image: Archant library)


The best season defensively came during Dave Stringer's reign, with 42 conceded during 38 games as the Canaries finished 10th.

The worst remains the 77 let in during the relegation of Nigel Worthington's 2004-05 squad, added to by the 6-0 implosion at Fulham on the final day.