A record-breaking start - but what of City’s finish?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
10:38 AM

David Cuffley

Norwich City's season began in record-breaking fashion - in the worst possible way - but in the weeks ahead a whole string of club records could come under threat in a much more positive sense, if the Canaries maintain their League One promotion charge.

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Norwich City's season began in record-breaking fashion - in the worst possible way - but in the weeks ahead a whole string of club records could come under threat in a much more positive sense, if the Canaries maintain their League One promotion charge.

The 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Colchester United on the opening day of the season was the heaviest home defeat in club history, but acutely painful as it was, it was only the scale of that reverse that hastened hugely significant changes at Carrow Road with the arrival of Paul Lambert and his management team.

The impact of those changes has been dramatic, to say the least, and never more so than in City's stunning 5-0 revenge victory over the U's on Saturday.

It is very tempting to say that he who laughs last, laughs longest, but with the two clubs awaiting a Football League hearing into Lambert's controversial job switch, let's just say that on the field, at least, the boot is now very much on the other foot.

Victory at Colchester also moved the current City side a little closer to breaking some long-standing records. Some are more realistic targets than others, but here are a few of the key ones to keep an eye on for the rest of the season:

t Most goals in a league season (99): Norman Low's City side of 1952-53 fell one goal short of 100 in their 46-match Division Three South campaign, but it was still good enough only for fourth place in the table. There was an 8-1 win at Shrewsbury and they scored five four times. The goals were shared around with Johnny Gavin and Alf Ackerman scoring 20 each. With 59 goals so far from 26 League One games, including three fives, the Canaries' current strike rate would give them 104.

t Most league wins in a season (28): Nigel Worthington's Nationwide League winning team of 2003-04 won 28 of their 46 matches en route to regaining Premiership status. It was two more victories than the team of 1951-52, who finished third in Division Three South. With 16 wins so far, City would need 13 wins from their last 20 matches to beat this record.

t Most points in a season (94): Three points for a win since 1981-82, perhaps making teams less likely to settle for a draw, as well as a variation in the number of matches played, has made comparison more difficult. But Worthington's title winners gained 94 points, so City would have to take 41 from the last 20 games to beat that total.

t Most successive home league wins in a single season (10): Lambert's men can equal this record if they beat Brentford on Saturday for a 10th successive home win. Ken Brown's Division Two title-winners won 10 home games in a row between November 1985 and April 1986. The overall club record is 12 in 1952, but it comprised the last seven home matches of one season and the first five of the next.

t Most successive away league wins in a single season (5): City's official history shows five away wins in a row at the start of the 1988-89 Division One season as the best they have managed. Dave Stringer's team won at Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Derby, Manchester United and Wimbledon, before a dodgy penalty robbed them of a sixth win as they drew 1-1 at Everton. Can the current side build on successive wins at Wycombe and Colchester?

t Most successive league wins, home and away (10): The 1985-86 team, in which current assistant manager Ian Culverhouse played right-back, won 10 straight league games in Division Two between mid-November and the end of January. Victory at Colchester made it five straight wins for Lambert's team.

t Most successive home league games unbeaten in a single season (21): The Division Two title-winning team of 1971-72 went through the entire campaign without losing a home match, winning 13 and drawing eight of their 21 games. The 1950-51 team that finished runners-up in Division Three South were unbeaten for the first 21 home games, before losing 3-1 to Ipswich. City are unbeaten in 12 at home since Lambert's arrival, but if they don't lose another home match this season they will reach 22.

t Longest unbeaten league run, home and away (20): Between August 31 and December 30, 1950, the Canaries went 20 league games without defeat in Division Three South. The current unbeaten run, since the 2-1 defeat at Leeds in October, is 13 matches. The last time City went 13 league games without defeat was just two seasons ago, in the Championship under Glenn Roeder.

t Top league goalscorer in a season (31): Centre-forward Ralph Hunt scored 31 league goals for the Canaries in 1955-56, missing just one of their 46 games in Division Three South. Skipper Grant Holt has 17 league goals so far, so needs 15 from 20 League One matches, plus a maximum of three possible play-off games, to set a new record.

t Top goalscorer in a season in all competitions (37): Terry Allcock's record has stood for nearly half a century, since he scored 37 times in Division Two, FA Cup and League Cup in 1962-63. Holt currently has 23 in all competitions, so needs another 15 to break the record.

t Most clean sheets in a league season (20): John Bond's promotion-winners of 1974-75 managed 20 shut-outs in 42 league fixtures, finishing third in Division Two. Kevin Keelan was the goalkeeper responsible for 19 of them. City have managed 12 clean sheets in 26 League One games so far, with Fraser Forster in goal for 11. And they have four more fixtures than Bond's team.

t Fewest league defeats in a season (6): A very tough one to beat, this. City's 1933-34 Division Three South champions and 1971-72 Division Two title-winners each lost just six league games. City have currently lost four with 20 still to play. But with just one defeat in the last 19, this particular miracle is still possible.

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