We catch up with Nor­wich City’s 1974-75 pro­mo­tion team

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler

REL­E­GA­TION AND pro- mo­tion to and from the top flight of English foot­ball has been a fa­mil­iar theme for the Ca­naries over the last 40 years.

Af­ter be­ing rel­e­gated from the First Divi­sion in 1974, they im­me­di­ately bounced back in third place be­hind Manch­ester United and As­ton Villa.

Since then, they have dropped out of the top flight, only to win pro­mo­tion at the first time on three other oc­ca­sions, in 1981-82, 1985-86 and 2014-15.

Dave Stringer was the de­fen­sive rock back in 1974, play­ing all but the last three games of the sea­son along­side Dun­can Forbes and help­ing the club fin­ish five points be­hind As­ton Villa un­der John Bond.

Stringer was ruled out of the sea­son run-in be­cause he was sus­pended un­der the tot­ting-up pro­ce­dure. He ad­mits that the goal of im­me­di­ate pro­mo­tion was never dis­cussed.

“That was some­thing that was un­der­stood,” he said. “Ev­ery team in the divi­sion was try­ing to get pro­moted, but, hav­ing just come down, we had a good set of play­ers.

“We were ex­pe­ri­enced, so were more likely to come back up, but of course we had to work hard for it, I think we got pro­moted at Portsmouth in the penul­ti­mate game of the sea­son.

“Be­cause I had gone over the sus­pended thresh­old to­wards the end of the sea­son it made it a bit of an anti-cli­max for me.

“Not be­ing in­volved with the team, though I went to the games and trav­elled with the team, is not the same as when you take part.”

It was a sea­son that will live long in the mem­o­ries of the older gen­er­a­tion of Car­row Road faith­ful for, as well as pro­mo­tion, they also reached their sec­ond League Cup Fi­nal in three years.

Af­ter need­ing re­plays against Bolton Wan­der­ers, West Brom, Sh­effield United, lo­cal ri­vals Ip­swich Town and then a two­legged semi-fi­nal against Manch­ester United, they faced Villa at Wem­b­ley.


It was the first time that two sides from the Sec­ond Divi­sion had been in the fi­nal and, as with two years be­fore, was set­tled by a sin­gle goal, this time from Ray Gray­don.

It was hard luck on Nor­wich’s Kevin Kee­lan, who be­came the first goal­keeper to save a penalty in a Wem­b­ley cup-fi­nal from Gray­don, only to be beaten by the re­bound.

“Be­ing in the League Cup def­i­nitely de­tracted from our league form,” he said. “We didn’t have the big­gest squad and it can take the edge off your game.

“I re­mem­ber the semi-fi­nal against Man Utd more than I re­mem­ber the two games against Ip­swich. We drew at Old Traf­ford and then won at home.

“Ron Saun­ders, who took us to the first fi­nal and then a semi­fi­nal the sea­son af­ter­wards, was then in charge of Villa, so it was a strange sit­u­a­tion.

“The fi­nal was a damp squib. It wasn’t such a good game be­cause we were still wrapped up in fight­ing rel­e­ga­tion.

“When­ever you lose a cup fi­nal at Wem­b­ley, you just want to troop off the pitch and let the win­ners take all of the ac­co­lades.

“It was a great time to be in­volved with the club be­cause there was al­ways some­thing hap­pen­ing: pro­mo­tion and rel­e­ga­tion, two cup fi­nals and a semi fi­nal. It was a good pe­riod,” he re­calls.

1. Mel Machin: A mid­fielder who man­aged Man City, Barns­ley and Bournemouth. His last job was as­sis­tant man­ager at Hud­der­s­field un­til re­tir­ing. 2. Doug Liver­more: A mid­fielder who held var­i­ous coach­ing po­si­tions, in­clud­ing joint man­ager of Tot­ten­ham. He then worked as a con­sul­tant to a firm of foot­ball agents.

3. Peter Mor­ris: A mid­fielder who en­tered man­age­ment with Peter­bor­ough and also took charge of Crewe, Southend, Boston, Ket­ter­ing and King’s Lynn.

4. Dave Stringer: A cen­tral de­fender who joined the coach­ing staff as youth coach, be­came first team man­ager and was then as­sis­tant di­rec­tor un­til re­tire­ment.

5. Mervyn Caw­ston: A goal­keeper who lives in Nor­wich and worked in fi­nan­cial ser­vices and then for a food distri­bu­tion com­pany. 6. Kevin Kee­lan: A goal­keeper who set­tled in Tampa, Florida. He worked for a con­tact lense man­u­fac­turer for more than 20 years and then ran a coach­ing school. 7. Dun­can Forbes: A cen­tral de­fender who joined the com­mer­cial staff and then be­came chief scout be­fore his re­tire­ment. He is now bat­tling Alzheimer’s. 8. Colin Prophett: A cen­tral de­fender who re­turned to Sh­effield to work in in­surance be­fore be­com­ing an area sales man­ager for a wood­work­ing com­pany. 9. John Ben­son: The mid­fielder man­aged Bournemouth, Man City and Wi­gan and held a num­ber of ad­min­is­tra­tive and scout­ing jobs be­fore his death in Oc­to­ber 2010. 10. Colin Sul­li­van: Full-back who worked as a post­man be­fore be­com­ing a land­scape gar­dener from his base in Titch­field, Hamp­shire. 11. Steve Grapes: The mid­fielder went into the fit­ness equip­ment in­dus­try and now works in Wales for Life Fit­ness. 12. Colin Suggett: A mid­fielder who set­tled in his na­tive North East, coach­ing at New­cas­tle United. He has also scouted for a num­ber of clubs, in­clud­ing Nor­wich. 13. Billy Steele: A mid­fielder whose son Aaron was a Nor­wich City school­boy. Now tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of the Toronto Lynx Soccer Academy in Canada. 14. Trevor Howard: A mid­fielder who set­tled in Cam­bridge, where he was a Bri­tish Gas me­ter reader for 17 years be­fore be­com­ing a taxi driver. 15. Ted MacDougall: A striker who ran sports bars and pubs be­fore be­com­ing a prop­erty de­vel­oper in Canada. Now works in foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tion in Florida. 16. Phil Boyer: The Eng­land striker set­tled in his home town of Not­ting­ham, where he be­came a bank courier un­til re­tire­ment. He has also scouted for a num­ber of clubs. 17. John Sis­sons: The winger now lives in Cape Town, South Africa, where he be­came part­ner in a suc­cess­ful mo­tor prod­ucts and war­ranty firm.

NOT PIC­TURED 18. Ge­off But­ler: Full-back who man­aged Sal­is­bury City for 18 years, be­fore set­ting up his own home im­prove­ment com­pany. 19. Steve Good­win: A mid­fielder who set­tled in Gjovik, Nor­way and worked in an Adi­das fac­tory un­til re­tir­ing. Daugh­ter Britt rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain at hand­ball at Lon­don 2012. 20. Roger Hans­bury: A goal­keeper who worked in a sports cen­tre but then opened his own greet­ing card shop in Soli­hull. 21. Paul Kent: A full-back who be­came a hair­dresser, open­ing the Paul Kent Hair Stu­dio near Car­row Road. 22. Mick McGuire: Mid­fielder who worked for the PFA for many years and is now UK sports manag­ing di­rec­tor for James Grant Group. 23. Mar­tin Peters: Eng­land World Cup-win­ning mid­fielder man­aged Sh­effield United un­til spend­ing 17 years work­ing in the in­surance in­dus­try. He also had a spell as a Tot­ten­ham di­rec­tor. 24. Harry Red­knapp: The mid­fielder has spent more than 23 years in man­age­ment and is also a pop­u­lar fig­ure for me­dia work.

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