Norwich City A-Z: K is for non league royalty ... the King of Spain
A player's career isn't always done once they leave the full-time game - in the latest of our alternative Canaries A-Z series, Chris Lakey takes a look at some who have prospered in non league, starting with a royal appointment...
The King of Spain was a nickname that Simon Lappin enjoyed, bestowed on him by virtue of seemingly swarthy Mediterranean looks by fans at Norwich City who loved him.
Lappin spent six years at Carrow Road, helping City earn a place in the Premier League in 2011, and was last seen playing, highly effectively, with King’s Lynn Town last season, having joined Norfolk’s second biggest club alongside Grant Holt in a blaze of publicity last October.
Non league football isn’t for everyone: especially modern day top drawer footballers, many of whom have been mollycoddled into tummy tickling submission and banked enough cash to support a small country.
Holt had worn the non league T-shirt at the beginning of his career, with Workington and Barrow – the club he chose to join after leaving Lynn after just three games. Holt is a bloke who just wants to play football. Lynn, of course, also home to Ryan Jarvis.
The Walks, for obvious reason, has featured a few former Canaries over the years including Peter Mendham, David Bell, Phil Mulryne and Craig Fleming,
Probably the best example of an ex-Canary who struggled to hang up his boots is Jamie Cureton who, since 2013, has played for Cheltenham Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, Farnborough, Eastleigh, St Albans City and, last season, Bishop’s Stortford. The man is a machine.
A former team-mate of Cureton’s, Adam Drury, turned out for Wroxham Reserves last season and has now stepped into uncharted territory with the Yachtsmen, as assistant manager.
Drury’s old mucker Darren Huckerby could, you imagine, have had his pick of the non league scene had he wished, although you suspect the fleet-footed winger would have been a ‘trophy’ for some of the amateur game’s head-hunters.
Hucks has turned out, of course, for Cringleford Vets, a team which has been able to boast a few handy old boys – Matt Gill, Graeme Murty, Iwan Roberts to name but a few.
Some have used non league as a second stepping stone: Cameron Norman left City, played for Lynn last year and is now with League One Oxford; Kris Renton had a stint of six years in non league in his native Scotland, doing enough to get back into the full-time game.
There are lots of reasons they go into non league – usually just for the love of the game.