So that’s that then. Bye, bye Madders. All the best. Go do us proud in the Premier League, lad.
Yes, it’s a move we all knew would happen. But I must admit this one has still hit me in the feels.
Maybe it’s the blue kit young James proudly displays on his social media. Maybe it’s the realisation that we’re once again in the situation where we’ll never be able to hold on for a player of Maddison’s class for more than a couple of seasons. Or maybe it’s because he’s one of the most naturally gifted footballers to ever wear the yellow and green. And we’ll probably never see him in Canary colours again.
Yes, seeing him leave hurts.
Here we go again City…
Years ago, these emotions were more commonplace. In my younger days, I idolised the players. Darren Eadie. He was my first hero. Hell, he’s still my all-time favourite player. Seeing him play against Inter Forever was like reliving my childhood all over again. When he left, also to the Foxes, I went full on tantrum mode: ”I hate them!…”. “I’m never going to watch them again!…”. A half season ticket in my Christmas stocking a few weeks later changed that, but still…
Eight months later and my next hero Craig Bellamy was gone too. What a time!
Nowadays it’s harder to make these emotional connections with the players. It’s my age, almost certainly. Wanting to emulate your heroes is harder to do when at 34, even your unsuccessful career in Sunday league football has come to an end.
Accepting that your own England call-up is never going to come is hard enough. Being able to empathise with the multi-millionaire twentysomethings is something else. Especially as many of them are, well, how to put this politely, twats.
James Maddison the team player
Madders never appeared to be like that. Appreciative of his parents, respectful of his club, its fans and his teammates. You never can tell 100%, but Maddison’s leaving message on his Instagram seemed genuine.
Can’t go without saying a massive massive thank you to everyone involved with Norwich City. From Delia & Michael, to Stuart and the Boss. Can’t forget my brilliant teammates and most importantly you amazing fans! I can’t thank you enough! You installed confidence in me and gave me the freedom to go and be the player I wanted to be, so I will be forever grateful for that. You didn’t get on my back if I made a mistake and you supported me whether I was scoring worldies or getting tackled near my own goal.😂 I hope Norwich gets back to where it belongs and that is most definitely the Premier League! I am now a canary for life and it’ll be the first result I check. Good luck to everyone involved with Norwich City💛💚
The way he’s handled himself on and off the pitch for the Canaries is a credit to himself, his family and his upbringing with the Sky Blues.
We can’t let the young man from Coventry go with anything but good wishes.
A player who only played one full season at a club can’t be classed as a legend. But the way he carried the side last year, and that goal at Portman Road, will ensure his place in Norwich City history is guaranteed.
Last week, Josh Murphy departed for Cardiff. He was one of our own. But he never had the same connection with the fans as Madders. Fans demand 100% commitment as well as skil. Maddison displayed both, never shirking a challenge, despite some rather ruthless treatment from some of the more ‘agricultural’ players in the Championship. Certainly players with less talent than the City #23.
Although, that description could apply to most in England’s second tier. For James Maddison is heading to the top. Leicester fans should enjoy him while they can, because this is a player who’ll soon be at one of the big boys.
For now though, this is an excellent move for him and the Foxes. One which should see him get plenty of game time in a good team. And one that should help him showcase his talents on one of the biggest stages of all, the Premier League.
Look after him Leicester, you’ve got yourself a gem.
What now for Norwich City?
But where does this leave City? Mo Leitner looks sure to rejoin on a permanent transfer, while Emi Buendia has already signed. Hopefully, between them, they can mask, if not fill the gaping hole left by Madders depature.
City failed to effectively replace Bellamy in 2000 and almost got relegated because of it. Today that’s not an option.
Given Maddison’s depature has been known for some time, there must surely be a plan in place to cope with it.
Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber, it’s over to you…