On this date 30 years ago, Norwich City sat top of the inaugural Premier League table after 15 games of the season. 

Even writing those words now feels somewhat surreal given the trajectory of the football club since that point. 

Pre-season predictions were largely unanimous - we were going to be struggling against relegation. Robert Fleck had departed the club, a club legend and our best player. Mike Walker had just been appointed manager having been in charge of the reserves. 

After 39 minutes of our opening game at Highbury against Arsenal, those predictions looked set to become a reality. 

An inspired substitution from Mike to replace me with summer signing Mark Robins at half-time had a positive impact. He scored twice as we completed a remarkable comeback to eventually leave 4-2. 

On the coach home from the capital, I remember John Deehan having two cans of beer in celebration and then nodding off to sleep. It was an incredible result. Even that game felt like we had won the lottery. 

I honestly believe that had we not won that game against Arsenal, we wouldn't have had the season we went on to enjoy. 

There was a resilience that was created that day, an inner belief that couldn't be shifted in spite of some intoxicating highs and devastating lows - namely a 7-1 defeat to Blackburn. 

Who knows what may have happened if we were beaten that day - but it served as the catalyst to one of the best seasons in the club's history. 

Throughout the season we were in a tussle with Manchester United and Aston Villa for the Premier League title. 

United's squad contained the likes of Steve Bruce, Peter Schmeichel, Eric Cantona, Gary Pallister and Paul Ince. Villa had Paul McGrath, Dwight Yorke, Dean Saunders, Ray Houghton and Dalian Atkinson. 

None of our players would have gotten into United's starting XI, but we had a mentality that kept us in the hunt for the majority of the season. It was the start of their dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson and we pushed them so close. 

In essence, we found ourselves laughing through it all. We felt bulletproof because of the lack of expectation. 

I don't know if we actually ever thought about winning it when we were top. We were just smiling thinking 'this is incredible!'. Maybe we did miss an opportunity and things could have been different. 

That mentality is maybe why we missed out - but it was a great era for Norwich City. One where we were pitting ourselves against the best players, in the biggest stadiums and often leaving triumphant. 

We had some excellent players. If you're a Norwich City fan, seasons don't get much better than that one, do they? We had major setbacks but we were able to shake them off and move forward - it is a somewhat odd way to think but we believed in each other and our approach. 

I played a lot of that season as a centre half rather than a striker, which I half wonder is why we finished with a negative goal difference. That in itself sums up how bizarre it was - to finish third with a -3 goal difference has not happened since then. 

We had some excellent players. Ian Culverhouse was steady. Ruel Fox was intelligent. Ian Crook was one of the best technical players that the Premier League has seen - imagine how good he would have been if he could run, tackle or head. Bryan Gunn was great for the group and a terrific goalkeeper. Jeremy Goss was the heartbeat. 

I have so many positive memories from that season. Just to be a part of it, as a local boy, was an experience I look back upon with real fondness. In two years, I had gone from fearing my chance had gone to playing Premier League football. 

It served as an excellent grounding. Towards the end of that season, I discovered my confidence and scored a hat trick against Leeds - that set me up for my 25-goal campaign the year after. 

In November of that season, we only played three matches. It came at a point where we endured a difficult October that included that hefty defeat at Blackburn and a 4-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield. 

After beating Oldham 3-2 on November 9, we had an international break and one that allowed us to collect our thoughts and have a much-needed breather. 

We won our next three matches after that and continued our charge. We were eight points clear at Christmas - the rest of the story is known. 

Norwich now have a break of their own, under extremely different circumstances, to try and find a spark in their season. Dean Smith will be hoping to discover a consistency within their own performances and find a mentality that lets them roll with the punches.  

With modern football becoming increasingly money orientated, those underdog stories are now rarer than ever before. 

It is a season that will live with me, and thousands of Norwich City fans, for the rest of time. 

The Pink Un: James Maddison was named in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad last week. James Maddison was named in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad last week. (Image: PA Images)


I was delighted to see Norwich City old boy James Maddison included in the England squad last week - but forget a place on the plane, I would start him against Iran next Monday. 

England have struggled for creativity and Maddison boasts better numbers than any of his competitors in that area of the pitch. Gareth Southgate should be picking on form - and nobody is in a better place than Maddison at present. 

He has been involved in 23 Premier League goals in 2022, scoring 14 and assisting nine for a struggling Leicester side.

That is more than Mason Mount (13) has got for Chelsea and Jack Grealish (3) has for Manchester City - it should never have even been a debate. 

Any decision that would have seen the 25-year-old miss out on a spot in Southgate's spot would not have been for footballing reasons - but he isn't the only player in England's squad to have made a mistake whilst on international duty. 

He deserves his chance to prove his quality on the world stage - he will offer something different to England in the process. Southgate is a loyal coach, but Maddison is proving difficult to ignore through the quality of his performances. 

Of course, Norwich must take praise for the rise of his career. It was a stunning season of Championship football under Daniel Farke that elevated him to the Premier League. 

You could see even then the ability he had - without him, Norwich's season may have looked radically different. There is little wonder why Stuart Webber saw him play for the first time and assessed that he would play for England. 

The transfer fee that saw Maddison depart Carrow Road helped them survive and build a squad that would go onto win the Championship title a year later. You only need to speak to the midfielder to realise how grateful he is to Norwich for their role in his journey.

Leicester have been the beneficiary, but nobody can doubt the technical qualities that he possesses. 

Norwich supporters will have been delighted to see him in the 26-man squad for Qatar and they will join the rest of the country in hoping he has a meaningful impact in the tournament.