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26 April 2017

City icon scored in Final's first leg against Rochdale

ON 26 April 1962, City travelled to Rochdale to contest the first leg of the League Cup Final, having progressed to that stage of the competition via victories over the likes of Sunderland and Blackpool.

At Spotland, they cruised to a 3-0 win to take firm control of the tie; left-winger Bill Punton finding the net alongside a further brace from forward Derek Lythgoe.

Giving an interview to about that day in the foothills of the South Pennines, Punton said: "We thought it would be a hard game because they were in the division below us.

"Rochdale had a good side but we'd done really well because we'd beaten Blackpool who were in the First Division. We felt they would be tough on their own ground but we played ever so well.

"The ground was packed and I scored one of the goals to help us win 3-0, which killed the tie off really. It's one of my favourite memories.

"In those days we were all on the same wages and the same bonuses, so the team spirit was top-class."

The second leg was a less emphatic affair; a 1-0 triumph at Carrow Road courtesy of Jimmy Hill's solitary goal still more than enough to earn a convincing 4-0 aggregate win as the Canaries clinched their maiden major honour.

"It was a nice, comfortable feeling to know you were 3-0 up before you kicked a ball," the 82-year-old added.

"We knew Rochdale would have to come at us, which they did, and that left them open at the back. It was 1-0 but we were all over them really and they defended really well.

"Norwich City always got big gates and the atmosphere. The away supporters were mixed in with the home supporters but there was never any trouble. 

"All we got when we won it, which I've still got, was a silver cup which was inscribed and our £4 win bonus. It's very different to nowadays but the biggest thing was the great team spirit we had.

"We used to have a day out every week; the Club would put a bus on and we'd go golfing at Sheringham or Cromer. Then we'd all go out together for a drink on Saturday night."

Punton now works as a matchday host for City, a role he thoroughly enjoys as he explained: "I meet a lot of people who used to watch me play, which is really nice.

"That keeps you in touch with all your friends, so it's a really good idea. Several of us ex-players work there now, like Terry Allcock and Dave Stringer, so it's great to still have such a connection to the club."

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