Darren Eadie is the latest in a long line of former Canaries to play non league football
PUBLISHED: 14:51 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:19 05 September 2018
Former Norwich City winger Darren Eadie became the latest ex-Canary to lace up his boots at local non league level when helping Sheringham to a 1-0 win over Wroxham Reserves at the weekend in the Premier Division of the Anglian Combination.
The 43-year-old is the latest in a long line of former Norwich stars to have turned out for non league sides in the eastern region.
One of Norwich’s greatest ever players, Martin Peters, trod the path from pro to amateur when turning out for Gorleston in the Thursday Football League when, with the city closing for half a day each week, men would compete in what would become the Norwich & District Thursday League.
In the foreword to a book written by Paul Oxbury, The League of Forgotten Men. A History of the Norwich & District Thursday Football League, Peters explained why he was so keen to keep the football fire burning long after reaching the pinnacle of the game in 1966.
“At Wembley on July 30, 1966 I was fortunate enough to be able to realise the dream and my life was to change forever,” he said. “What did not change, however, was my unconditional passion for football. As such, many years later, when work brought me to Gorleston I was only too pleased to turn out and play in the Norwich & District Thursday League.
“What struck me most, though, was the fact that team-mates and opponents all shared the desire to simply play football. Whether they were postmen, policemen or train drivers they would do whatever it took to ensure that on a Thursday at 3pm they were on the football field.”
Peters wouldn’t be the last to not let retirement stop him from getting his football fix in Norfolk. Nine years after helping Norwich to their League Cup win over Sunderland at Wembley in 1985, Peter Mendham returned to the Twin Towers to score the winner for Diss Town to defeat Taunton 2-1 after extra time. Mendham had started his amateur football career with King’s Lynn as player-manager and took up the same role with Watton. He also enjoyed brief spells at North Walsham and Norwich United.
Dale Gordon hung up his boots in February 1997 but he would go on to player-manage at both Great Yarmouth Town and Gorleston, where he convinced former City striker Robert Fleck to lead the line for the Greens.
King’s Lynn have provided a home for former City players for years with Ryan Jarvis currently plying his trade for the Linnets in central midfield.
Simon Lappin was part of the Linnets side that went so close to promotion last season after signing alongside City legend Grant Holt, who left a few weeks later to sign for Barrow.
Lappin has since signed for Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Wroxham this summer, where Adam Drury is assistant manager, whilst Holt has spearheaded Horsford Veterans’ attack this season after being given a part-time coaching role at Carrow Road with the club’s academy.
The Walks has provided a home for many former City players including the likes of Jeremy Goss, Phil Mulryne, Scott Howie, Daryl Sutch, David Bell, Trevor Benjamin, Shaun Carey, Adrian Coote, Andy Johnson, Kris Renton and Tony Spearing.
Cedric Anselin also played for Lynn and has become part of the non league furniture in the region, going on to play for Norwich United, Dereham, Diss, Lowestoft, Gorleston and Wroxham. He is currently player-assistant manager at Sheringham.
Craig Fleming also briefly played for Lynn before becoming director of football at Lowestoft Town, which has also provided an avenue for ex-Canaries to continue their football careers in the amateur game.
Gary ‘Three Lungs’ Holt helped Lowestoft’s ascent through the non-league pyramid before going on his own managerial path, which currently sees him at Scottish Premiership side Livingstone.
Adrian Forbes, Rossi Jarvis, Robert Eagle and Michael Spillane all graced Crown Meadow while Fleming has recently stepped up to take on the assistant manager’s role with Southampton Under-23s.