Winning run was a real bonus to 1986 Canaries
Paddy DavittFormer Norwich City hitman Kevin Drinkell has revealed how his side's club record winning achievements also triggered an unexpected cash windfall.Drinkell notched five goals during that unblemished ten-game home surge in the 1985/86 Division Two title-winning season, which Paul Lambert's current crop will be looking to emulate tomorrow against Brentford.Paddy Davitt
Former Norwich City hitman Kevin Drinkell has revealed how his side's club record winning achievements also triggered an unexpected cash windfall.
Drinkell notched five goals during that unblemished ten-game home surge in the 1985/86 Division Two title-winning season, which Paul Lambert's current crop will be looking to emulate tomorrow against Brentford. The Grimsby-born striker's 24-goal haul helped fire Ken Brown's men back into the top flight and earned Drinkell City's player-of-the-year award in his prolific debut season at Carrow Road.
'We had this thing at the time called roll up bonuses,' he said. 'I can't remember what the amount was but if it was �50 and you won then it doubled to �100 for the next and so on and so on. As long as you didn't get beat it continued on and we were having such a great run we didn't want it to end.
'Nowadays the money side of the game couldn't be more different but back then we were desperate to keep it going. I don't quite know what happened. We just started to gel and get that understanding and winning games breeds confidence.'
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Brown's side were eventually held to a goalless home draw against Sunderland but went on to clinch the title in fine style.
'We had it won by four or five games to go and that was a mixed blessing,' said Drinkell. 'We went to Grimsby, which was a big deal for me with my family there and me coming from the area, and we got beat. We never showed up and then I think Hull beat us on the Tuesday night. We finally managed to turn it round in the final home game (a 4-0 win over Leeds) and sign off the way champions should do.
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'It was just a fantastic first year for me even though I think it took four, five, six games before I scored. It was at that stage Ken took us to one side as a group and really laid it on the line. I remember him saying he would take all the pressure and everything on his shoulders and we just had to go out and play. I think we beat Stoke at home and that was it - there was no stopping us.'
Drinkell plundered 57 goals in 150 City appearances but admitted he had major doubts over his initial Norwich switch on the eve of that record-breaking first campaign.
'I agreed to join in the May of the previous season when they were a Premiership team, as it is now, and had just won the League Cup,' he said. 'By the time I came to agree the deal in the June they had been relegated to the Championship and were banned from playing in Europe. It was a bit of shock to say the least.
'Then we had a few other lads coming in, the likes of Mike Phelan and David Williams, and it took us time to get going but I ended up with the golden boot that year. I think I got 24 goals in the league, which was my best ever season although I got pretty close at Grimsby as well.
'We just had good players throughout the side. David Williams in our system was like a Ray Wilkins in terms of being able to link the play together. We would then get it wide to the likes of Mark Barham and defensively we were so strong with Chris Woods and people like Steve Bruce. A lot of the credit obviously must go to Ken's influence. He drew a lot from his own playing days at West Ham about how he liked the game to be played and passed that onto us.'
Drinkell saw Lambert's free-scoring side at first hand when he attended the latest Canaries' Hall of Fame event before Christmas.
'I think we watched the Tranmere game and it was a bit of a struggle,' he said. 'They scored after about an hour and managed to close it out. If you look at the table now then it's the sides you would expect to be up their fighting it out - with the exception of Southampton who would be if it hadn't been for the points' deduction.
'With the crowds and the stadium at Norwich we all know they shouldn't be at that level. They lost the spirit or something went out of the club and it takes a while to get it back. The same happened to my home town club Grimsby who are now in a state.
'When I first joined they were in the bottom league and we managed to get them into the Championship and now they are struggling to avoid going into the Conference. It's terrible. I just hope Norwich can see the job out and get back up.'