When we first signed Aaron Wilbraham I wondered… Why? It seemed like a strange move. Here was a player in his thirties who didn’t have a very good goal scoring record who had spent most of his career in the lower leagues. When you look at his record on paper at Norwich it justifies my scepticism. A handful of appearances and only 2 league goals. So why, you may also wonder, am I so sad to see him leave?
Wilbrahimovic as he shall now forever be known, was a player who was more than a by-the-numbers footballer. Tall and often ungainly looking he didn’t have grace or sophistication. But what he lacked in terms of his technical ability he more than made up for in heart, effort, desire and character. Once you had actually seen him play it was hard not to like him, because even though he was often thrown on towards the end of a game and given little time to make an impact, he ALWAYS gave it everything and quite often made a difference.
Character is a much underrated quality in a footballer. It’s a trait that is sadly lacking in many modern day professionals, who struggle to open up to the media and fans and often hide behind bland clichés in interviews. Character isn’t a substitute for technical ability which is why, perhaps inevitably, Wilbraham has been released, but it goes a long way in endearing you to the fans.
His goal at Leicester was vital in helping us secure automatic promotion in a win which made many of us believe that it was possible. Those who watched Wilbraham at White Hart Lane will know how effective he could be as a player. Unsettling two talented and experienced central defenders in Ledley King and Younes Kaboul and playing an integral role in perhaps the team’s best performance and result of the season. His performance and goal from the bench at Fulham were just reward for the hard work and impact he had made as a substitute in recent games and I’ll remember him as an important part of the team that stayed in the Premier League.
When journalists, fans and alike look back in years to come at players from the club’s past and the Lambert era, it’s sad that all too easily players like Aaron Wilbraham will slip through the net. However, those of us who saw him play, those of us who saw him give everything for Norwich during his time here, those of us who remember when #Wilbrahimovic was trending on twitter, those people will never forget him. I for one wish him the very best of luck wherever he should go from here.
In a related matter, Zak Whitbread has also left the club.