Pictured above is the back of a card produced by Gallaher Ltd which reads :
'Norwich City - joined the First Division of the Southern League in 1905-6 and have not yet ascended within reach of the championship. Nor have they established themselves as successful cup fighters'.
Which struck me as a bit like a report from a sports master at a school. I remember a woodwork teacher once wrote of me 'has no natural talent for the subject, has fallen behind in his work and shows no intention of trying to catch up'. Which was roughly the equivalent to the message on that Norwich City card of just over 100 years ago (I believe this series was first released in 1910).
Unfortunately I do not have any of the other cards of that series to see if the writer made any attempt to be a bit more creative about the other ninety nine teams. He certainly had us down as an outfit there to merely make up the numbers! Perhaps he genuinely didn't know what else to say about us, but given the fact we had in the couple of years prior moved from Newmarket Road to The Nest and changed our name from The Citizens to The Canaries, there are two things that instantly spring to mind that could have been used. And the little matter that we had been FA Cup giantkillers in both 1908 and 1909, over The Wednesday (who were cup holders at the time) and Liverpool respectively!
Perhaps the cards had been issued in 1910 but written some years earlier. The Norwich player featured on the front was Billy Bushell, who actually joined City in 1905, so that remains a possibility.
Or maybe there were Lawrensonesque forces behind the scenes as early as 1910 ! We may never know.
[This item has been updated, and was first published on the 28th of March 2010]