Norwich City's 5 Best Strikers of the Last 10 Years

Andy WardContributor IIJune 12, 2013

Norwich City's 5 Best Strikers of the Last 10 Years

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    The transfer window is now in full swing and Norwich City look set to increase their firepower.

    Ricky van Wolfswinkel has, of course, already signed on the dotted line from Sporting Lisbon, but Chris Hughton doesn't look intent on stopping there.

    According to the Daily Mail, a fee has been agreed with PSV Eindhoven for the purchase of Swedish star, Ola Toivonen, but with many other clubs reportedly interested in his services, that particular deal may still be far from completion.

    Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror believes that Celtic's Gary Hooper is still very much on the radar, although with Sky Sports reporting that Hull City have offered £4 million for the former Scunthorpe man's signature, Norwich will have to move quickly to get their man.

    Whoever ultimately does come through the doors at Carrow Road will know that they will have a tough act to follow, as Norwich have had some very good strikers on their books in recent years.

    Here is my personal countdown of the five best forwards to have worn the yellow jersey in the last decade, with players being rated on the impact that they had on the club during their respective spells in Norfolk.

    So, without any further ado, let's get started.

     

    (NB: Please note that for the purposes of this slide show, Darren Huckerby has been classed as a winger, and not a striker)

5. Dion Dublin (2006-08)

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    Dion Dublin may have joined the Canaries in the twilight of his career, but that didn't stop him from making an impression at Carrow Road.

    Eyebrows were raised when Nigel Worthington brought the veteran to Norfolk after Dublin's release from Celtic, but those concerns were soon put to bed as Dublin showed that he still had it.

    There was a feeling that things had come full circle as Dublin ended his career with the club that gave him his start 20 years before, and he more than did himself justice as he continued to be one of the Canaries more consistent players, despite his advanced age.

    The versatile Dublin performed admirably at both striker and centre-half and his influence on and off the pitch was instrumental in setting an example to his teammates.

    The curtain was brought down on his career in a fitting setting at a packed Hillsborough, as he left the pitch to a standing ovation from Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday fans alike in the final game of the 2007-08 season.

4. Rob Earnshaw (2006-07)

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    Norwich City knew that they were getting an all-out goalscorer when they broke their club transfer record on deadline day in 2006 to lure Rob Earnshaw eastward from West Bromwich Albion, and so it proved as the Welshman continued to find the back of the net on a regular basis at Carrow Road. 

    A lack of quality from those around him meant that Norwich generally flattered to deceive during his time at the club, but Earnshaw's individual efforts could not be faulted.

    All in all, the pacey striker registered an impressive total of 27 goals in 44 appearances for the Canaries before moving onto then-Premier League outfit Derby County in 2007

    In his day, Earnshaw was a remarkably accomplished finisher, and Norwich found it desperately hard to replace his goals after his exit.

    In truth, Earnshaw probably didn't receive the credit that he deserved for his contributions during his 18-month stay at the club, but his goal record means that it's almost impossible not to include him in the top five here. 

3. Dean Ashton (2005-06)

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    In terms of pure footballing ability, Dean Ashton is undeniably one of the most gifted players to have ever pulled on a Norwich City jersey.

    The talented front-man made a monumental impact in the short amount of time that he spent in Norfolk, with his goals towards the back end of the 2004-05 Premier League campaign almost transforming the Canaries from relegation certainties to escape artists.

    Crucial strikes against the likes of Manchester United, Newcastle United and Birmingham City more than justified the £3 million transfer fee paid by Norwich to secure Ashton's services from Crewe Alexandra, as City battled for their top flight lives. 

    Ultimately the club faltered at the final hurdle, after a disastrous 6-0 defeat at Fulham on the final day of the season consigned them to the Championship. But Ashton's future was clearly destined to be in the Premier League as clubs fought for his signature.

    In the end, West Ham United won the race for Ashton, signing him for £7.25 million in 2006. But the brilliance of Ashton will not be lost on the majority of Norwich fans who were privileged to watch him play.

    Sadly, in 2009 Ashton was forced into premature retirement at the age of 26 after failing to recover from an ankle injury picked up on international duty with England, the cruellest way to end a career that had promised so much.

    With England desperately short of top class strikers in the modern day, who knows how many caps Ashton could have gone on to get had he remained injury free.

2. Iwan Roberts (1997-04)

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    The name Iwan Roberts will forever be inscribed in the Norwich City history books, with the big Welsh striker sitting proudly in third place in the club's all-time goalscoring charts.

    Physically menacing and clinical in the box, Roberts scored 96 goals in total for the Canaries during his seven year stint in Norfolk, before he was released following Norwich's promotion to the Premier League in 2003-04.

    He scored goals at vital times, including the opener in the 2001-02 playoff final between Norwich and Birmingham City, as City just missed out on promotion. 

    Despite seeing other players come and go, Roberts stayed loyal to the Canaries through the good times and the bad and rightly claimed his place in the club's Hall of Fame in 2002.

1. Grant Holt (2009-Present)

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    Grant Holt has simply been a revelation since joining the Canaries for a bargain at £400,000 in 2009.

    Despite his status as a journeyman player for the majority of his career, Holt has truly found his home at Carrow Road, banging in goal after goal.

    His contribution has been immense during his time at the club, having scored 68 league goals in 135 appearances and taking the captain's armband.

    If that wasn't enough, he even threw in a hat-trick against Norwich's bitter rival Ipswich Town in the Canaries 4-1 victory back in 2010, in order to cement his place in City folklore once and for all.

    Holt's goals have helped Norwich progress through the leagues, and who knows where the club would be now without his firepower. 

    Things haven't gone quite as well recently, with Holt struggling to hit the same rich vein of form that he's grown accustomed to in recent years, but he still remains an immensely popular figure in Norfolk.

    Speculation over the Cumbrian's future is once again rife this summer, with Melbourne Heart already confirming their interest in signing Holt, according to Sky Sports. Meanwhile, the signing of Ricky van Wolfswinkel is likely to cast further doubt upon his starting place next year. 

    However, whatever happens in the future, Holt's efforts will not be forgotten.

    It quite simply has to be the best £400,000 that Norwich City have ever spent.

     

     

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