The 1992/93 season was a real milestone season in football history. It was the first season of the Premier League and football changed forever.
Sky TV won the rights to show live Premier League matches having outbid ITV. They would broadcast live football every Sunday and Monday as well as numerous midweek games. The sheer amount of live football on television was unprecedented.
“A whole new ball game” – a player from each of the founding 22 Premier League clubs pose for a team photo for Sky Sports. Chris Sutton was Norwich’s representative, second from the left in the middle row
It is from this inaugural Premier League season that this week’s ‘A Season To Remember’ has been chosen. This article follows Norwich City and their journey through their 1992/93 campaign.
Norwich had a very poor 1991/92 season, finishing 18th in the table. They were only three points off relegation and so no one expected much from them in this campaign.
Popular striker Robert Fleck had left in controversial circumstances in preseason, having joining Chelsea for £2.1 million – a club record at the time.
Fleck threatened to go on strike after the club refused Chelsea’s offer and City eventually gave in and the Scotsman moved to the capital.
It was to prove to be an unsuccessful move for Fleck who could only score four times in 48 appearances in his Chelsea career.
Mike Walker searched for a replacement and opted for Mark Robins, a young striker from Manchester United. Robins had a frustrating 1991/92 season and saw very little first-team action at Old Trafford. The call to join Norwich was too good an opportunity to miss and the clubs agreed on an £800,000 fee.
Another striker moved to Carrow Road in the summer of 1992. Efan Ekoku, a tall Nigerian striker from Bournemouth, joined the club.
19 year old Mark Peters and experienced defensive-midfielder Gary Megson also joined Norwich, both signing from Manchester City.
The most key departure from Norwich in preseason was Tim Sherwood, who joined Blackburn Rovers. He moved for £675,000 and Rovers were starting to build up quite a team.
The fixture computer threw up a tough test for Norwich for the first match of the season. Their first game was to be at Highbury, away to Arsenal, who were red-hot favourites to win the league.
Arsenal showed exactly why they were expected to win the league, storming into a two goal lead at half-time.
Mark Robins scored his first goal for Norwich after 69 minutes to give the visitors some hope. Three minutes later, David Phillips equalised and Arsenal were suddenly on the back-foot.
Robins then shocked most of the Highbury crowd into silence, scoring to give Norwich an unlikely lead on 84 minutes. Ruel Fox then sealed all three points for the visitors moments later to complete an unlikely 4-2 win.
In the first home game of the season, Chelsea were the opponents. Norwich conceded the first goal of the game for the second game in a row.
Two second half goals from David Phillips and Mark Robins gave Norwich the win.
Everton were the visitors three days later and Norwich dropped points for the first time. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, Ruel Fox scoring for the hosts.
The next game was worse as they lost 3-1 at Manchester City but this defeat was followed by five straights wins that put Norwich firmly at the top of the table.
A trip to Highfield Road saw the end to the wining streak, with Coventry earning a 1-1 draw.
In the following game, Blackburn thumped Norwich 7-1, the highest scoring game of the season. Tim Sherwood, who had left Carrow Road in the summer, scored one of Blackburn’s goal that afternoon.
Norwich then beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 in the first game after the Blackburn debacle, taking them back to the top of the table.
Another heavy defeat followed, this time Norwich were on the receiving end of a 4-1 defeat at FA Cup holders Liverpool. They still sat at the top of the table but dropped down to second place with a 1-1 drsw at home to Middlesbrough.
Norwich won all three games in November and also the first game in December. This would be their last victory until the end of January.
Despite losing three matches and drawing another three, Norwich still just about clung on to the top of the table.
In the FA Cup, Norwich had beaten fellow Premier League Coventry by a goal to nil. They then went out in the Fourth Round, losing 2-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite winning three of the next four games, Manchester United and Aston Villa had gained on City and overtook them on 20th February.
Norwich were still close to the top of the table but dropped valuable points with two consecutive draws at home and a 3-1 defeat at QPR.
Three wins in a row kept Norwich in the hunt for the league table. A disappointing 3-0 defeat at Wimbledon followed but the next two games were to be vital.
The two teams above them Aston Villa and Manchester United, were up next on the fixture list. These two games were to be the litmus test for Norwich. They were both to be played at Carrow Road, so they had their fans behind them.
Bookmakers were offering odds of 10/1 for Norwich to win the League before the Villa game. Defender John Polston scrambled in an 81st minute winner to give Norwich all three points and shorten those odds!
All confidence that came from the win over Aston Villa came crashing down in the first half of the next game against Manchester United.
The United game was played in front of the Sky cameras on a Monday Night Football special. Viewers were treated to a great first half performance from United as they stormed into a three goal lead after only 21 minutes.
Mark Robins scored a consolation goal against his former team mates just after the hour mark but the damage had been done early on.
Tottenham Hotspur put five past Norwich in the next game at White Hart Lane. The hosts had lost 1-0 in the FA Cup Semi Final the previous weekend to bitter rivals Arsenal.
Norwich’s title race was all but over now but they notched up an impressive 4-2 win at home to Leeds United, league champions from the previous season.
A 3-1 defeat to rivals Ipswich Town ended Norwich’s title dreams live on Sky Sports. It was a bitterly disappointing way to lose out.
A 1-0 win over Liverpool in their final home match of the season was followed by an exciting 3-3 draw at already-relegated Middlesbrough.
At the end of the season, Norwich finished in third place, two points behind Aston Villa in second and 12 points behind eventual champions Manchester United.
The winless run through December and most of January was probably the pitfall. Norwich only won 3 points from a possible 18 available. During that time, both Villa and United amde up ground and caught City.
New boy Mark Robins ended his first season at Carrow Road as the club’s top goalscorer, scoring 15 of their 61 league goals.
It was a huge achievement for City to finish in third and was totally unexpected. They also had the bonus of European football the following season, having qualified for the UEFA Cup by finishing in third place.
It truly was a season to remember for the Canaries.