Paul McVeigh’s stark change in Norwich City fortune

Paul McVeigh tells a tale during the Tales From The City launch at Open. Picture: Simon Gill

Paul McVeigh tells a tale during the Tales From The City launch at Open. Picture: Simon Gill - Credit: Archant

In an extract from Tales From The City, Paul McVeigh talks about the memorable moment in January 2001 that kicked his Norwich City career into life.

I thought scoring some goals in the reserves should have been enough to get me into the first team. Alas, I was way off.

One Monday morning I was summoned to the manager's office for a meeting. I strolled into the room, honestly believing that I was going to be getting my big chance that weekend against Watford at home.

What transpired was possibly the last scenario that entered my head. I sat down in front of Worthy, ready for the good news, but the words that left the manager's lips will never, ever be erased from my memory.

'I'm letting you go wee man.'

But the footballing gods must have been looking down on me that week. Suddenly, a few Norwich regulars could not get over injuries and I received a call on the Thursday from the manager to say I would need to be sub that Saturday against Watford at Carrow Road.

With 20 minutes remaining in the game, and with Norwich 0-1 down, Worthy decided to do the unthinkable and put me on for what should have been my last ever appearance at Carrow Road. It was to be 20 minutes that changed my life.

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I gave everything that I could… even making tackles. In the 81st minute, I picked up the ball on the left and dribbled past one, two, three players and drove a left footed diagonal ball for Steen Nedergaard to score a looping header! Lee Marshall scored the winner with two minutes to go. I quietly got changed and went to leave the changing room. I had to pass Worthy and as I tried to walk past him, he put his arm out and physically stopped me from leaving.

'You're not going anywhere Macca, you did well out there today.'

At that precise moment my career path altered forever.

• Tales From The City is available now for £10 from talesfrom.com/norwich and various book stores

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