Scorer of fastest Carrow Road goal for Norwich City dies aged 91

Former Norwich City player Ralph Johnson, pictured in 2007.

Former Norwich City player Ralph Johnson, pictured in 2007. - Credit: Archant

The scorer of the fastest ever goal for Norwich City at Carrow Road has died at the age of 91.

Ralph 'Ginger' Johnson found the back of the net after just 10 seconds on October 19, 1946, to kick-start a 5-0 thrashing of Leyton Orient in Division Three South.

That record still stands 66 years later, although it survived a scare in 1997.

Irish winger Keith O'Neill came close to breaking Mr Johnson's record in April 1997 when he scored after 12 seconds of a 2-0 home win against Stoke City.

But the Hethersett-born player retains the record and his place in Canaries history.


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In 2007 Mr Johnson recalled his famous goal, saying: 'I tapped the ball to Noel Kinsey and he played it back to me and I hit it from close to the halfway line. It could have gone into the river or the stands, but on this occasion it did a Beckham and sailed into the net. My mother was there and thought it had been a false start when Orient kicked off.'

Mr Johnson was born in 1922 in Hethersett and continued to live in the village for most of his life until he died on Tuesday.

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He attended the old British School in the village and was a keen athlete. He became an engineer for Laurence and Scott in Norwich at the age of 17, where he has being paid the equivalent of just over 12p a week and having to cycle between Hethersett and Norwich seven days a week.

Eventually he signed for the Canaries, who paid him £3.50 per match and an additional £1 for a win or 10 shillings (50p) for a draw.

His career clashed with the second world war when football clubs did their best to continue as normal, despite many players having to serve in the forces.

During the war Mr Johnson scored 123 goals in 107 matches, including five hat-tricks, two hauls of four, two fives, two double hat-tricks and once scoring in 19 successive matches.

He eventually signed a professional contract for City after the war, in May 1946, and went on to score 10 goals in 23 appearances before moving to London to play for Leyton Orient in April 1947.

Did you see Ralph Johnson play for Norwich? Send your memories to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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