Norwich City top 100 appearances: Dennis van Wijk (95)
PUBLISHED: 10:22 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:22 17 May 2017
Dennis van Wijk
Dennis Johannes van Wijk was a highly popular player at Carrow Road, serving the Canaries for four years.
The Dutch left-back began his career in the famed youth set-up at Ajax Amsterdam, although he was unable to break through into their first team. However, having played for their youth side at the Montlaire tournament in France in 1982 he impressed officials with the Norwich side who were taking part – and so his move to Norfolk began, in 1982.
Van Wijk made his first team debut against Everton on September 19, 1982.
The big news that day was that John Fashanu would step out of the shadows of brother Justin and make his senior debut, although EDP reporter at the time Malcolm Robertson wrote: “Realistically, Van Wijk’s only hope of action is by coming on as a substitute.”
As ever, he was spot on: van Wijk replaced Dave Watson with 10 minutes to go after the cental defender took a nasty elbow in the face from Toffees striker Graeme Sharp.
Still, it was enough time to leave a favourable impression.
“Young van Wijk came on for the final 10 minutes and even in that short time proved he is a player of some intelligence and skill,” wrote Robinson in his report of the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
Van Wijk was also a member of the City side that won the 1985 Milk Cup final against Sunderland at Wembley as well as the Second Division Championship in 1986.
The 85 final was memorable for van Wijk given that he conceded a penalty kick when he handled in the area. Much to the Dutchman’s relief, Clive Walker missed the spot kick.
Van Wijk left Norwich in 1986 and headed for Club Brugge where he won the championship and the Belgian Cup, making 87 appearances.
He also played for Greek side PAS Yanniana and another Belgian side, KSV Cercle Brugge, on loan before a second spell with Club Brugge, but a broken leg finally ended his career before a spell running a bar in Bruges. At the last count, van Wijk, now 54, had been involved with 17 clubs, either managing or coaching. He is currently coach at Belgian First Division B side OH Leuven.
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