Safri: I'm hoping for a fond farewell

CHRIS LAKEY Youssef Safri is hoping to say a proper farewell to Norwich City fans when he makes his first visit to Carrow Road since his sudden departure for Southampton earlier this month.

CHRIS LAKEY

Youssef Safri is hoping to say a proper farewell to Norwich City fans when he makes his first visit to Carrow Road since his sudden departure for Southampton earlier this month.

The Moroccan was a hugely popular player at City, but a fall-out with manager Peter Grant, which had apparently been simmering for some time, boiled over when Safri turned up late for the club's annual photo-call. Within a week he was signed by George Burley.

Now, says Safri, it's time to say goodbye.

"Norwich will always be a special place for me," he said. "The fans have a special place in my heart and I will never forget them."

The reception Safri will receive has been a major talking point in the build-up to this afternoon's match - City's first home game of the Championship campaign - and the player himself admitted he did not know what to expect.

Most Read

"I don't know," he said. "I think I was one of the fans' favourite players and hopefully I can have a good reception.

"I had a really good three seasons there and I had a good time with the fans and many people there. They were very special.

"I know it will be nice to come back and see the players and the fans, nice to play there and remember the good times. The players I knew for a long time and it will be strange, but they are players as well, and we all know that football is a job.

"There was no chance to say anything before I left because things went so quickly, but I think it was the right time to move on."

Norwich will be looking to take advantage of Southampton's dismal start to the season, which opened with a 4-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace a week ago and continued with a 2-1 Carling Cup first round shock at League Two Peterborough on Monday.

"It hasn't been a good start but I think everything will be fine," added Safri. "I think the quality of players we have is very good, it is just a question of time. Then I am sure everything will be okay.

"Norwich started quite well so I think it will be a very difficult game for both sides."