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Norwich City A-Z: D is for debuts - they don’t always go to plan

THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE OF PREMIERSHIP MATERIAL UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED
WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE. Norwich City players celebrate a goal scored by Marc Libbra (third left) against Manchester City during the Nationwide Football League Division One game at Carrow Road, Norwich today, Saturday 18th August 2001. **EDI** PA Photo: Gareth Fuller

THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE OF PREMIERSHIP MATERIAL UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE. Norwich City players celebrate a goal scored by Marc Libbra (third left) against Manchester City during the Nationwide Football League Division One game at Carrow Road, Norwich today, Saturday 18th August 2001. **EDI** PA Photo: Gareth Fuller

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Debuts, there’s been a few, but not many as memorable of that of Leon McKenzie.

Norwich City's Leon McKenzie celebrates his first goal for the club during the match at Ipswich

Pic Simon Finlay
copyright EDP 2003Norwich City's Leon McKenzie celebrates his first goal for the club during the match at Ipswich Pic Simon Finlay copyright EDP 2003

As the Canaries travelled across the border just four days before Christmas in 2003, most of the focus was on whether Darren Huckerby would return after his loan had finished.

But a new £500,000 signing from Peterborough, striker Leon McKenzie, soon eased those worries with two goals at Portman Road to not only seal derby triumph in his first game but also send City top of Division One.

Not bad but McKenzie couldn’t quite match the feats of Laurie Sheffield or Roy Hollis – who both scored hat-tricks on their debuts.

Sheffield managed his treble in a 4-1 home win over Derby in the Second Division in November 1966 and Hollis in a 5-2 victory over QPR in Division Three South at Carrow Road in April 1948.

Norwich City v Colchester United  08/08/09
Norwich 'keeper Michael Theoklitos misses the ball for the first goal





EDP sportNorwich City v Colchester United 08/08/09 Norwich 'keeper Michael Theoklitos misses the ball for the first goal EDP sport

No-one can match the electrifying impact of French forward Marc Libbra though.

Anyone who was at the second tier home game against Manchester City in August 2001 will never forget the style with which Libbra lashed home on his bow, timed at just 19 seconds after coming off the bench!

That strike fired the Canaries ahead in the 75th minute, with Paul McVeigh finishing the job late on. Just seven goals in 38 appearances followed but Libbra will always be remembered for that moment.

Of course, not all debuts go to plan, as goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos knows all too well.

The Australian was brought in by Bryan Gunn ahead of the 2009/10 season following relegation to League One and had looked solid enough.

A 7-1 opening-day loss to Colchester later however and his Canaries career was over.

Legend has it Theoklitos was carrying an injury that he failed to shake off that day. New manager Paul Lambert wasn’t interested in hearing any excuses though.

He’s far from the only player to endure a tough first game of course, Michael Turner needs no reminding of a 5-0 Premier League loss at Fulham in 2012, or how about Steve Bruce?

The Manchester United legend-in-waiting was credited with an own goal just a minute into his City bow, in a 3-3 draw at Liverpool in the top flight, with Tony Spearing also finding his own net on debut, in a 2-0 loss at Spurs just three months earlier in May 1984.

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