Norwich City’s 1983 FA Youth Cup triumph one of Dave Stringer’s highlights
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2006
Dave Stringer still regards Norwich City's FA Youth Cup triumph in 1983, which completed a memorable double after they won the South East Counties League title, as one of the most satisfying moments of his career.
Stringer won two promotions and reached two Wembley finals as a player with the Canaries, and led them to fourth place in Division One and two FA Cup semi-finals as manager, but is also justifiably proud of the club's record when he was youth team boss.
'Personally, it was one of the best times in my career because for that group of boys to come through and do as well as they did was very, very pleasing and I got a lot of satisfaction from their achievements,' he said.
'We came through the South East Counties League season without losing a game, which was unprecedented.'
But it was the three-match marathon final against Everton that truly captured the imagination of the supporters.
'One of the things I remember most is the crowds,' said Stringer, whose right-hand man in the dug-out was the club's former chief scout, Ronnie Brooks.
'We had more than 10,000 at Carrow Road for the first leg of the final when we won 3-2, 15,000 for the second leg when we lost 3-2 and when we lost the toss for the replay, we went back to Goodison and there were more than 20,000 there – more than they were getting for a lot of their league games.
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'People realised how good the games had been and even more turned up for the replay, when young Paul Clayton scored the goal for us.'
Eight of the City side, captained by Mark Crowe, went on to make first team appearances.
The Everton team included future Premier League stars such as Ian Marshall and Ian Bishop, while striker Mark Farrington, who scored four times against City in the first two games, moved to Carrow Road when he was released at Goodison and appeared 18 times for Ken Brown's first team.
And Norwich's squad had some notable success stories, including a UEFA Cup matchwinner and a Milk Cup winner.
'Jeremy Goss, Tony Spearing and Louie Donowa all went on to play a lot of first team football and there were others who went on to appear for the first team but not as often,' said Stringer.
Clayton scored 32 goals and Rigby 33 in all competitions in 1982-83 and both briefly played first division football for City.
The goalden touch has been passed on to a new generation, too, with 48-year-old Clayton's sons, Max and Harry, both playing for Crewe Alexandra.
Striker Max has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-18 and under-19 levels.