Norwich City Championship fixtures 2017/18: Opening days have been a real mixed bag for Canaries

Top Gunner - Mark Robins. Picture: Archant

Top Gunner - Mark Robins. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Norwich City have played 90 first-day games – some good, some bad, some indifferent. CHRIS LAKEY looks at the best five openers, MARK ARMSTRONG picks his worst

Phil Mulryne fires in from distance against Grimsby in 2001. Picture: Archant

Phil Mulryne fires in from distance against Grimsby in 2001. Picture: Archant - Credit: ARCHANT LTD

THE BEST

1972-73 - City 1 Everton 1

A home draw might not always be classed as one to savour - perhaps you 'have to be there'. But there was such huge significance to this one: August 12, 1972 saw City's first match in the top flight.

Jimmy Bone gave the Canaries a half-time lead before Everton levelled through Joe Royle. Everton had spent a whopping £200,000 to strengthen their squad that summer: Ron Saunders had spent nothing, preferring to stay loyal to his team of champions.

Cameron Jerome celebrates after scoring City's third at Blackburn on the opening day last season. Pi

Cameron Jerome celebrates after scoring City's third at Blackburn on the opening day last season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

1979-80 - Everton 2 City 4

John Bond was the architect of City's first away win in the then Football League for 42 games. Kevin Keelan was back in goal, having spent some time on loan in North America. City were 2-0 down after goals from Trevor Ross and a Geoff Nulty penalty, but stormed back thanks to goals from Mick McGuire, Justin Fashanu (two) and Martin Peters.

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It was a start which City built upon, to go top of the table for the first time in their history after wins over Spurs and Leeds. The glory didn't last, but a mid-table finish was not to be sniffed at.

1992-93 - Arsenal 2 City 4

Jacob Murphy scored a screamer at Blackburn in City's 4-1 win on the opening day of last season. Pic

Jacob Murphy scored a screamer at Blackburn in City's 4-1 win on the opening day of last season. Picture: Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

This was the year when, according to some, football began, with the new FA Premier League was born. City were there by the skin of their teeth, having just avoided relegation. They had a new manager in Mike Walker, but lost Robert Fleck to Chelsea. Walker brought in Mark Robins and, with City 2-0 down at half-time, he worked his magic, coming on to bag two goals, with David Phillips and Ruel Fox also on target.

2002-03 - City 4 Grimsby 0

City well and truly banished the blues of the play-off final defeat to Birmingham three months earlier. Two goals each from Paul McVeigh and Phil Mulryne secured victory. It was a full throttle performance and while ultimately 'it' didn't happen come the end of the season – Worthington had put the building blocks in place for 2004.

2016-17 - Blackburn 1 City 4

Norwich City's players trudge off after their 7-1 defeat at home to Colchester on the opening day of

Norwich City's players trudge off after their 7-1 defeat at home to Colchester on the opening day of the 2009/10 season. Picture: Archant

The first game after relegation is never easy to predict: there are personnel changes and the fear of a losing mentality continuing from the previous season. But City demolished Blackburn. Jacob Murphy, Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome put them 3-0 up inside half an hour. Steven Naismith added a fourth before the hour mark. A portent for the season? Not on your nelly.

THE WORST

2009-10 - City 1 Colchester 7

Arguably the club's lowest ebb as Bryan Gunn's bid for an immediate Championship return started in disastrous fashion.

Michael Theoklitos endured a nightmare debut in what turned out to be his only appearance for the Canaries. Paul Lambert's Colchester were 5-0 up by half-time prompting many fans to head for the exits. Cody McDonald pulled one back but David Perkins and Scott Vernon completed the rout to register City's worst ever home defeat.

1981-82 - Rotherham 4 City 1

The 1981/82 season got off to something of an inauspicious start for the Canaries thanks to a 4-1 hammering by Rotherham. Greig Shepherd got City's only goal of the game and campaign looked set to be a miserable affair for supporters. However, that season ended in glory for the Canaries as they sealed a third-placed finish in Division Two to seal promotion.

2001-02 - Millwall 4 City 0

This was one of those days for the Canaries. A four-goal mauling, a first half injury to new club skipper Neil Emblen and a public row between Robert Green and Malky Mackay...this was definitely one to forget. Steve Claridge put Millwall in front before Steven Reid's long range effort doubled their lead. Tim Cahill put the result beyond doubt early in the second half and Lucas Neill completed a miserable afternoon for Nigel Worthington's men.

1926-27 - Millwall 6 City 1

City's heaviest ever defeat on an opening day of the season in front of an impressive crowd of 19,732 at the Den.

The Canaries were 1-0 down at half-time before capitulating in the second half with only Joe Richmond's strike to show for their afternoon's efforts.

Norwich would go on to finish a disappointing 16th in Division Three South.

2012-13 - Fulham 5 City 0

Chris Hughton's first game in charge of the Canaries and it was yet another very unhappy afternoon in west London.

Michael Turner had the kind of debut that nightmares are made of and City were generally second best all afternoon. Mladen Petric was at the double on his debut for the Cottagers whilst Damien Duff, Alex Kacaniklic and Steve Sidwell were also on the scoresheet. The Craven Cottage hoodoo stands to this day...

Norwich City's fixtures are out at 9am this morning - log on to pinkun.com for all the analysis you want

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