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Iwan Roberts: Class of 2004 civic reception almost brought me to tears

Iwan Roberts salutes the City fans from the balcony of City Hall in 2004. Picture: Archant

Iwan Roberts salutes the City fans from the balcony of City Hall in 2004. Picture: Archant

For the second time in 15 years Norwich City have been crowned champions of the Championship.

Iwan Roberts looks over the hoards of City fans at the civic reception in 2004. Picture: ArchantIwan Roberts looks over the hoards of City fans at the civic reception in 2004. Picture: Archant

Once again that famous old Football league trophy will take pride of place in the club's trophy cabinet!

The lads brought it back to Norwich on the team bus after their 2-1 at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon. I bet it needed a bit of a clean before Monday's civic reception and open top bus parade, as I can only imagine how much alcohol it would have been covered in after some wild and deserved celebrations.

Mario Vrancic will always be known as the player who won the club promotion after that wonder goal against Blackburn and now he can add to his CV that his 86th-minute winner on Sunday was the goal that finally clinched the Championship for the best team in the league.

I haven't seen a lot of Vrancic if I'm honest, however what I have seen is a player who glides across a football pitch with great vision and a wand of a left foot which we've seen more than once in these last few weeks.

The celebrations on Sunday and Monday (and for the rest of the week I bet) looked magnificent, it's amazing how a football club can influence and have a feel good factor not just in a City but a whole county!

It brings everyone together and puts a smile on people's faces. That is exactly the impact Daniel Farke and his squad of players have had on everyone and unlike the last two summers where things have been all doom and gloom people now can't wait till the middle of June when the fixtures come out and then the second week of August when it all kicks off again.

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Looking back to 2004 and our celebrations seemed a bit tame having seen some of the lads on Monday morning, especially the new mayor Kenny McLean! You got the impression he'd enjoyed the last 15 hours very much, he even topped Norwich legend big Gunny who was made sheriff a few years ago, but never got anywhere near wearing the mayor's hat!

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We were all sober on the Monday. We had our civic reception and open top bus parade as we'd been up at Colney in the afternoon for our last meeting with Nigel and to say our final goodbyes before we all went off on our summer holidays.

We then boarded two double decker buses and headed for the city centre. It was a very funny day for me as of course I was so proud to have been part of this great team that had won the league, but I was so sad as this would be my last day as a Norwich City player which broke my heart, I didn't quite feel as part of everything as maybe I should have.

I remember standing on the balcony at Civic Hall and being interviewed in front of the thousands of Norwich fans who'd once again come to show us their fantastic support and I could feel myself welling up as all that could be heard was 'IWAN, IWAN!'. The bottom lip started to go but somehow I kept it together so I could get my words out and thank everybody for the amazing seven years I'd had at this great football club and how I couldn't have wished for a better ending when I signed on July 1, 1997.

The lads will now go away with their families for a well earned break, the time will fly by and they'll soon be driving through the gates at Colney before they know it and straight into the hardest pre-season they've ever faced.

I said last week that over the last 10 or so months Norwich have looked the fittest squad of players in the Championship. I think they are going to have to be even fitter next season as it's another level up, but there's no reason with their incredible fitness levels, their style of play, their togetherness and the spirit we've seen this season that they can't cope with life in the Premier League.

Have a great summer everyone.

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