Norwich City 1 Colchester United 7 (Saturday 8 August 2009)
Even the most devoted Norwich City fans forget quite how bad the side got – and quite how bad were the players (not to mention managers) were. Struggling in England’s second tier, manager Glenn Roeder staked his position on signing loanees rather than constructing a permanent squad, stretching Football League laws to their limit by borrowing five English-based players and two from abroad at any given time.
Things came to a head when, with only one centre-back available, Roeder picked full-back Adam Drury against Crystal Palace rather than central defender Troy Archibald-Henville, on loan from Spurs’ reserves, stating that “Troy wasn’t ready to step up” to Championship football. Increasingly arrogant and massively unpopular, Roeder was sacked in January 2009 after fifteen months in charge and replaced by Norwich legend Bryan Gunn, then Head of Player Recruitment, until the season’s end.
With the transfer window about to close, Gunn had little option but to continue Roeder’s policy of signing loanees – the club owned just twelve players who’d represented the first XI when he took over – and with no managerial experience, Gunn could not prevent relegation to ...