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Lee Payne: Why I'm going to keep saying 'yes' as a City fan

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:16 07 October 2019

Adam Drury - a true Norwich City legend. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Adam Drury - a true Norwich City legend. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

I've made a concerted effort to say yes more in the last few months.

'Do you want to go for a seven mile walk in the rain?' Sure. 'Are Norwich going to stay up?' Of course they are.

As a result of this effort I found myself in the Norfolk Lounge at Carrow Road one Friday night last month for 'A Night With Norwich City Legends'.

There I was, sat at a round table with my mum and her partner Dave - fellow season ticket holders - either side of me, making my way through a three course meal before a Q & A with the aforementioned legends.

Darren Eadie was the host and lead the discussion between Jeremy Goss (before my time, but we have all seen the volleys against Bayern Munich and Leeds), Darren Huckerby, Grant Holt and my all time favourite Norwich player Adam Drury.

The ever dependable Adam Drury. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesThe ever dependable Adam Drury. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

You see, I wasn't the average kid.

From when I was about 12 and on into my early teens, my peers wanted to be Huckerby. Those are the years when you are most impressionable. The lads at my school wanted to be able to dribble the ball like Huckerby, to score goals like Huckerby and to have a haircut like Huckerby. In the playground, everyone wanted to be that kind of player - it wasn't cool to be a defender.

But like I said, I wasn't the average kid, so my idol was Drury.

Drury remains my all time favourite Norwich City player, maintaining that status despite players like Wes Hoolahan and Teemu Pukki following him into successful spells at Carrow Road. So let me tell you why I admired him so much.

He didn't have the gleaming, multicoloured boots. He didn't look like he spent most of his wages at the barber's. On the pitch, he wasn't one of the modern full backs who flies down the wing and attacks almost as often as they defend. He was just a solid defender who would never let you down.

That's what I liked about him - he got on with his job and did it well. When you're a teenager, so many changes happen in your life. In every sense. It's an incredibly confusing time, so we reach out for constants. We seek out something to rely on. And while all these changes were going on around me, I could rely on the fact that Adam Drury would be playing at left back for Norwich City.

Barry Fry was the Peterborough manager when Drury broke into their first team and described him as 'the best left back outside the Premiership'. He played 150 games for Posh before he joined Norwich in 2001. I became a 'proper' City fan during the run to the play-off final in 2002, and so my first memories of the team had Drury in its defence. He stuck with us through thick and thin, after that defeat in Cardiff on to promotion as champions, to the hammering at Fulham that sent us back down, through the Roeder years, through League One and into the Lambert era that saw City back in the Premier League. He joked at the dinner that he didn't exactly have offers flooding in from elsewhere, but I find that hard to believe.

They say you should never meet your heroes and being an awkward, some might say shy, person I was quite happy to have been in the same room as my hero and listen to his stories. My mother had other ideas, however, and as I was getting ready to leave I received a tap on the shoulder.

As you might have guessed, it was Adam Drury. I am delighted to say he was one of the nicest people I've ever met and he happily posed with me for a photo and signed the menu from the meal. This saying yes thing is pretty good really.

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