Derby day heroes and villains

Leon McKenzie etched his name into derby folklore on a memorable day at Portman Road. Picture: Simon

Leon McKenzie etched his name into derby folklore on a memorable day at Portman Road. Picture: Simon Finlay/Archant - Credit: Archant

Ahead of Sunday's latest tussle between Norwich City and their arch rivals, Chris Lakey takes a look at a few of his favourite heroes and villains in a game like no other in these parts.

• Grant Holt

Holt is a hero and villain, just because Town fans despise him and City fans still revere him.

In the 2011 season Holt scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory at Carrow Road and was more than prominent in the 5-1 win at Portman Road.

'I haven't lost there and I actually enjoy being the old pantomime villain,' he once said.

Or as Town defenders shouted, in panic. 'He's behind you, he's behind you!'

It's safe to say that Fabian Wilnis was not that impressed by Nigel Worthington's side that went on to win promotion in 2004. Picture: Archant It's safe to say that Fabian Wilnis was not that impressed by Nigel Worthington's side that went on to win promotion in 2004. Picture: Archant

Most Read

• Darren Huckerby

It was Glenn Roeder's first game as manager – and Darren Huckerby saw red in stoppage-time for going in with his studs on Jon Walters, triggering an automatic three-match ban.

'As soon as it happened there was nothing I could do after that,' he said. 'It was a silly challenge, even though I still don't think it was a red card. It was a silly challenge, I know that, and I let the team down, but I have served my ban now and I am ready to help in any way the gaffer sees me.'

Huckerby was a perpetual villain in the eyes of Ipswich fans – and he has never hidden his colours. Which simply makes him more of a hero in City fans' eyes. Plus he scored the winner there in September, 2005.

• Jamie Cureton

For Norwich fans, Cureton will be forever remembered for sporting green hair in a derby – amongst other things, of course.

It was April, 1996. Cureton takes up the story: 'We all had skinheads at the time but Darren Eadie didn't, so he was going to dye his hair green.

'We got to the ground and he didn't do it. Gary Megson, the manager at the time, was happy for one of us to do it so I said I would. Carl Bradshaw and Andy Johnson sorted it - it was a spray from a joke shop. In the warm-up it was very green but by the time I came on it had dripped out a bit and was quite patchy.'

Cureton came off the bench with the score 1-0 and scored a volley to level it, although Town ruined it all by getting a winner.

• Leon McKenzie

Darren Huckerby was all the rage but, on December 21, 2003, the great man wasn't available. City needed a new hero. They got him in the shape of Leon McKenzie. Two goals on his debut in a 2-0 win which sent City to the top of the old Division One table – to stay.

McKenzie's double sent the travelling City fans wild, although the young man missed the post-match celebrations – he was struggling to provide evidence for the post-match drug test and by the time he was 'done', the fans had gone home.

• Fabian Wilnis

Wilnis made a very public 'rant' about Norwich City's credentials after the Canaries beat the old enemy 3-1 in 2004.

'If Norwich were a good side, I wouldn't mind. But they're simply not good enough to be top. They're honest guys but where is the quality?

'If they go up, they'll come straight down. They need at least 15 new players. I would rather see any team go up other than Norwich. It should have been all over in the first half.'

Wilnis became the victim, as he explained in his 2009 autobiography.

'I got letters saying I was a dead man and threatening to break my arms and legs if I ever set foot in Norwich. At the time, it was really frightening ... I upset and offended some of their fans and for that I really am sorry.'

• Danny Haynes

City were beaten 2-1 in February 2006 - but the manner of Haynes' winner made it even worse as replays showed the ball hit his arm before going over the line. Gary Doherty was credited with an own goal because his boot was in the vicinity.

After the game, Joe Royle simply fanned the flames when he said: 'After the game all I kept hearing from the opposition end was that it was hand-ball. Well, they can't have it both ways. To me that says Danny put the ball in the net, so it's his goal.'

Except that if you credit Haynes, you admit it was handball – which makes the moans 'from the opposition end' justifiable. He was right – you can't have it both ways.

• Andy Marshall

One thing you do not do as a player is what Marshall did: refuse to sign a new contract at City then sign for the enemy on a free. Marshall was routinely booed whenever he appeared in front of Norwich fans, many of whom have still not forgiven him. The fact he is a thoroughly decent chap means nothing.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter