New Norwich City signing Steve Morison may have been born in London – but he is now very much a Welsh international striker, after it was discovered that he qualifies to play for Wales through ancestry; Morison’s grandmother was born in Tredegar near Ebbw Vale. Steve has now played 7 times for Wales and it remains to be seen how the transfer to Norwich City will work out – but to help us predict – it seems logical to look at the records of three other Welsh strikers that have represented Wales & Norwich. These three mystery men will go down as three of the greatest strikers Norwich have had in the modern era; they are Iwan Roberts, Craig Bellamy and Robert Earnshaw.
Iwan Roberts will require no introduction to Norwich City fans and rightly has gone down as a Norwich City legend. Roberts, was born in Bangor and during his career represented his country 15 times – but he will be disappointed that he wasn’t able to score. Iwan Roberts arrived at Carrow Road in July, 1997 for a fee of £850,000 – when Mike Walker was the manager. However, his first season was a difficult one and he scored only 7 goals, so fans started to question the signing. But Iwan’s goal return quickly improved in the following seasons and he had two seasons scoring 19 goals and one scoring 23 goals. Roberts was also part of the squad that last won promotion to the Premier League. But in a surprise move he was dispensed of for the Premier League season; by the end of his Norwich City career Roberts had scored 97 goals and was elected into the Norwich City F.C Hall of Fame in 2002.
Craig Bellamy is really one of our own – having come through the youth system at Norwich. Bellamy also had some time playing with Iwan Roberts; perhaps best remembered for the season when Roberts struck 23 goals and Bellamy found the net 19 times. Bellamy was born in Cardiff and has played a very important part for the Welsh national team; to date he has scored 18 goals from 62 games for his country. Bellamy started life at Norwich as a midfielder before being converted into a striker and when Bellamy did move on Norwich received a decent transfer fee of £6.5m from Coventry. At the end of his time with Norwich, Bellamy had scored 34 goals and like Roberts was inducted into the Norwich City F.C Hall of Fame in 2002.
Robert Earnshaw may have only been at Norwich for a short time – but in that period showed what a capable player his was. Earnshaw arrived at Norwich on January 31st 2006 for fee rising to £3.5m; the transfer fee was raised through the £7.25m sale of Dean Ashton to West Ham. Earnshaw really hit the ground running by scoring 8 goals for the remainder of that season. The following season Earnshaw was simply superb despite having his season interrupted with injury; he still managed to score 19 goals. But that form attracted the attention of Derby County and Earnshaw moved on for a fee of £3.5m. Earnshaw has also played an important part for Wales – despite the fact that he was actually born in Zambia. However, the player grew up in Wales and was part of the youth system at Cardiff – where he was a prolific goal-scorer. Earnshaw has made 54 appearances for Wales scoring 16 goals.
It remains to be seen how good of a signing Steve Morison will be – but the omens seem to be good based on these three great Welsh strikers of Norwich City’s past. The Premier League is a big step up – but Steve has a fine goal-scoring record and Norwich fans should be confident that Paul Lambert has secured himself a bargain.