Manchester United vs Norwich City. The fixture which ended the Canaries’ title dreams in 1993 and kick-started United’s. A bogey side for the Red Devils during the 1980s and also known for that “stamp” from Eric Cantona on John Polston.
Well add the East Anglian’s side first victory over United since 1989 at Old Trafford to that list, thanks to a wonderful display.
For one particular individual the game had added significance: Cameron Jerome. The boyhood United fan could have just inflicted the defeat that leads to the departure of Louis Van Gaal at the Theatre of Dreams.
Where did it all start for Jerome?
Born in Huddersfield, it was apparent that Jerome had a gift from a young age; perhaps it was because he was around some gifted footballers with him growing up with the likes of Fraizer Campbell and Reuben Noble-Lazarus – all of whom would make the grade alongside Jerome.
His youth development was certainly inconsistent with him representing Huddersfield, Grimsby and Sheffield Wednesday at academy level. Eventually he was offered a professional contract at Middlesborough, but failed to make an appearance. Instead he made his name in South Wales and Cardiff where he was dubbed as one of Cardiff’s “rising stars.” After making his debut in a 0-0 draw against Leeds in October 2004, he continued to blossom and only a season later finished with 20 goals – unsurprisingly he was the Bluebirds’ top scorer.
What Happened Next?
Despite still being classed as a youth player, Jerome was progressing and maturing into an exceptional footballer. So where did he go from here? To the Premier League of course. That accomplishment came with Birmingham City. How would he perform? Extraordinarily. His first goal in England’s top division came just 32 seconds into his fourth appearance; he would eventually bag two against a woeful Derby side who would collate only one victory throughout the whole season.
Despite relegation back to the Championship for the West Midlands side, the attacker would notch seven goals that season thanks to a great relationship with veteran, Kevin Philips.
He would establish himself as a legend at St Andrew’s, however they say that all good things must come to an end and, for Jerome, it came to an end on deadline day 2011 when he put pen-to-paper at the Britannia Stadium with Stoke City.
How did he get to this stage?
Jerome produced the best possible start for the Potters, with him scoring on his debut in a Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev. However, that goal wasn’t to help the striker gain a plan in the starting line-up, with him rarely making a start in a red and white shirt, leading to a lot of frustration. If his career was going to progress, it was essential that he gained vital top-flight experience.
The experience came in South London where he signed for Crystal Palace on a loan deal at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. In total he would play 29 times for the Eagles, scoring twice, as he played a key part in an 11th-placed finish for the newly-promoted side.
His career in Staffordshire was over. The next move was a drop down to the Championship, but not for long as he played a key part in the Norwich promotion push, netting 18 times as well as also winning the man of the match award in the play-off final triumph against Middlesbrough.
Was the goal against United a surprise?
It had to be the Theatre of Dreams – a venue he grew up aspiring to play in. Before this match some were calling for Norwich City’s strikers to step up and provide more of a goal threat after scoring just five between them, and his third Premier League strike this term is by far the most important and the greatest on a personal level.
Why is he so dangerous?
Standing at 6ft 1in tall, Jerome is lethal in the air and has the ability to take the ball down and strike powerfully as we saw in the opening game of the season against Crystal Palace. His height also enables him to hold up the ball successfully, before finding the likes of Nathan Redmond and Irishman Wes Hoolahan.
Super Stat: Jerome became only the second player to score against United at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season on Saturday.