Triumph in adversity defines Norwich as a club

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Norwich celebrate winning the FA Youth CupPA PhotosNorwich celebrate winning the FA Youth Cup

The storm clouds that threatened to envelop Norwich City cleared to reveal the most wonderful end of season glow.

In the space of little over 24 hours this week the angst and tension of securing a third season of Premier League football, which ended with Sunday's emphatic 4-0 home win over West Brom, has been matched by sealing a first FA Youth Cup victory in 30 years.

- Davitt: Norwich pass Premier League test

The achievements of Neil Adams' youngsters deserve to rank alongside those of Chris Hughton and their senior counterparts. Both underline the rich seam of character running through the club from top to bottom. Both were achieved in the face of stifling adversity at times, but the rewards are now immense.

Hughton spoke of sleepless nights and the burden of responsibility prior to plotting West Brom's weekend downfall to guarantee a fresh opportunity to go through it all again next season. Adams' young starlets caused a major upset to dethrone holders Chelsea 4-2 on aggregate in the two-legged final. Cameron McGeehan's stoppage time penalty success in front of nearly 22,000 fans at Carrow Road had armed City with a slender first-leg lead to take to Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Backed by a 3,000 strong travelling support that descended on London buoyant after watching Hughton's side clinch safety the previous day, City rose to the challenge magnificently. Even when the young Blues drew level with an early strike from Jeremie Boga they refused to buckle. The luckless Adam Nditi deflected Josh Murphy's cross past his own keeper before McGeehan displayed fresh nerves of steel to slot his second penalty of the final to put Norwich in command. Josh Murphy's close-range match-winner triggered celebrations that were barely muted by Boga's late consolation with three minutes left of normal time.

Flushed with Premier League success fresh in the memory there was almost a surreal quality to the euphoria at the final whistle. City's youngsters raced towards the away end to share those special moments, whilst Hughton and his first team coaches watched on as the latest unforgettable chapter unfolded in a quite remarkable season.

Few outside Norfolk would have given City much of a chance of retaining their Premier League status or of shocking Chelsea's next generation. That they achieved both is a testament to their collective will to resist. Victorious FA Youth Cup-winning boss Adams revealed afterwards his team had sought inspiration from Wigan's Wembley FA Cup triumph in stunning heavy favourites Manchester City.

Luck is always proffered as that indefinable quality every successful side needs. But it pales into insignificance with the desire to overcome, to prove people wrong, to display copious self-belief and nerve in the face of seemingly prohibitive odds. Norwich City have it in abundance. The future is bright for so many reasons.

ESPN Conversations