Can you solve the mystery of Norwich City's Elmhirst Cup?
- Credit: Eddie Elmhirst
The Elmhirst Cup was once the most sought-after award for young Norwich City players.
And the impressive trophy has been dished out to a few rather talented youngsters in the past.
The first recipient was Canaries legend Chris Sutton and it was also awarded to a young Darren Eadie.
But somewhere along the line the cup disappeared. And now the Evening News is appealing to find it and even reinstate the prize.
The Mary Elmhirst Memorial Cup was first dished out around 1990 in memory of its namesake who left £1,000 to the club when she died in 1987.
It was decided the best way to remember the well-known City fan was to encourage young players.
Eddie Elmhirst, Mary's son, was invited to present the award to the most ‘up and coming player of the season’ at City annually over the course of 20 years.
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He said: “I was always invited to present the cup at an open day or similar event.
“I would find out in the weeks prior which player would be the recipient of the cup and I would personally arrange to have the cup inscribed with the winners name.”
Other recipients included Andrew Marshall, Danny Crow and Steven Arnold.
Eddie added: “The last time I saw the cup must have been around 10 years ago but before this I saw it every year for 20 years.
“I wrote the winner a letter each year congratulating them and I would also get a silver mini cup for them to keep with their name inscribed on it.
“The mini cup would be £100 so over the years I spent £2,000 but I didn’t mind because it was for my mother.”
Eddie would like to know what happened to the prestigious cup as it is hugely sentimental to him.
He said: “I wonder if anyone cleans it or if it is just sitting there collecting dust - it would just be nice to know what happened to it.”
Chris Sutton, who went on to play for England and now enjoys a varied media career including writing for this newspaper, said: "I’d been rejected by the club as a 12-year-old and thought my chance of being a professional footballer had gone.
“So, to get another crack as a Youth Training Scheme trainee and to win the Elmhirst Cup was a big deal for me.
"It showed I was making good strides and progress in my development. It gave me plenty of confidence and belief which as we all know is a big deal for any young sportsperson."
What happened next?
From being one of the first recipients of the Mary Elmhirst Cup Chris Sutton then became a professional player for Norwich City from 1991 – 1994.
He then moved to Blackburn Rovers for a then record British fee of £5m and was part of their Premier League winning side.
He went on to play for Celtic, Birmingham City, Aston villa and Wroxham.
Darren Eadie also won the cup when he was a youth Norwich.
He went on to play in the UEFA Cup in 1993 as part of Norwich's famous side.
He was later sold to Leicester City for £3m in 1999.
In March 2020 Eadie was appointed joint manager of Leiston alongside Chris Wigger.