Norwich City in the Premier League: 2012/13 campaign
The 2012-13 season marked the start of a new era in Norwich City’s Premier League adventures – Chris Lakey looks back
In August 2012, Paul Lambert, who had dragged the club through its laces from the depths of League One to the Premier League in successive seasons, was gone. An acrimonious start to Villa Park took a lot of his time at Carrow Road. It was all quite unpleasant. His replacement was an entirely different kettle: Chris Hughton was respected throughout the game. It seemed like an ideal fit. “It’s a good feeling, something I was very excited about, it was done very quickly and I’m absolutely delighted,” said Hughton of his appointment.
City started the season on the banks of the Thames at Craven Cottage. It was a beautiful day – unless you’re Chris Hughton or a Norwich City fan. For them, it rained. Concretely, it was raining goals. A 5-0 beating against a club generally considered to be City’s bogey.
City finished 11th in the table – it wasn’t until the Premier League’s first season of 1992-93, when they finished third, that City were higher in the football food chain. Hughton had done a great job, something maybe not properly recognized today. After that terrible start, they stabilized the ship with three draws, but there were back-to-back strikes from Liverpool and Chelsea before it got much better. A fine nine-game unbeaten streak in the league, which included wins against Arsenal and Manchester United, followed. The race ended rather violently, a 4-1 home loss to Aston Villa – handled by Hughton’s predecessor Paul Lambert. Wins became scarce, but City ended well, with a 4-0 win over West Brom and then a 3-2 win at Manchester City.
Player of the season
The Cameroon international was signed from Spurs by Hughton, with whom he had worked at Newcastle United, at the start of the season. Powerfully built, he became the first player outside the British Isles to win the prestigious Barry Butler Trophy.
Grant Holt (8)
Started the ball rolling for his own season with goals in three straight games in the fall – against Liverpool, Chelsea and the winner against Arsenal. Also ended the season with goals in three straight games – against Aston Villa, West Brom and Manchester City. But that goal at the Etihad was the last the Canary Islands legend would score in the yellow and green – he left Carrow Road this summer, joining Wigan for £ 2million. Gone, but never forgotten.
A moment of unwanted history cannot go unnoticed. It happened in the FA Cup fourth round when Luton came to Carrow Road and recorded one of the competition’s biggest surprises, winning 1-0, thanks to a goal from Scott Rendell. It was the first time that a Premier League side had been beaten by a non-league side.