The latest in the series looking back at the Carrow Road careers of players who, for whatever reason, never quite cut the mustard in the fine city. This week Stephen Curnow asks Quo Vadis?
Norwich City are no different to any other club, in that they have a virtually inexhaustible list of “near misses.”
We can all recall a few players that were signed with decent, if not great, expectations attached to them, but who ultimately failed to make an impression and subsequently slipped back into the shadows.
The exquisitely named Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe is one such example.
Signed by Neil Adams in the summer of 2014, Vadis had Champions League football under his belt as well as international caps for Belgium, earned in the company of Hazard, Lukaku and co.
While his stay at Carrow Road lasted two seasons, it consisted of just 15 games. When he slipped away to the anonymity of Legia Warsaw in the aftermath of our relegation in 2016, he must have been cursing a stay which seemed to deal him a poor hand at every conceivable turn.
He certainly didn’t benefit from being injured during much of his first season with us season, it taking until Easter Monday for him to clock up four appearances. By this time Adams had been dismissed and replaced by Alex Neil.
The momentum of Neil’s team and their ascent towards the play-offs left few justifiable opportunities for experimenting with new personnel, particularly with the attacking positions being well-stocked by any combination of Jerome, Grabban, Hooper, Hoolahan, Redmond and co. Even Bradley Johnson had the cheek to chip in with 15 goals.
Conversely though, as Norwich struggled in the Premier League the following season, the reverse proved to be true. Neil stabbed around in the dark for a workable formula, apparently caught between the two stools of persevering with the attacking instincts that had served him well until then, or trying to build a more grown-up and pragmatic team for the Premier League.
Yet even in his most befuddled moments he still showed little appetite to put his faith in Odjidja-Ofoe. The exception to this was a few cameos in the winter of 2015, which proved to be the fulcrum of his scant football in a yellow shirt.
Perhaps his most notable moment came in an effervescent contribution against Southampton on New Year’s Day, when his wingplay bamboozled not only the Saints’ defence but also Alex Tettey, who was so astonished that he forgot that he can’t shoot and stroked in a magnificent winner.
Vadis’ career has continued to ebb and flow since extricating himself from Carrow Road.
His sole year in Poland harvested an appearance in the domestic cup final and saw him clinch a domestic league title. He also rose to more widespread prominence with a superb goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League. When you bear in mind the amount of “we never gave him a chance” rhetoric that proliferates on Canary Call every time Kyle Lafferty scuffs one in against either Armenia or Falkirk or whoever, it must have been off the scale when someone who hardly got a game for us danced round a couple of Galacticos and smashed it in to the top corner with his swinger.
Vadis now plies his trade with the perennial Greek champions, Olimpiacos, and is currently well on course to chalk up the fourth domestic league title of his career, not bad for someone who is still only 28.
To a Latin scholar, Quo Vadis might be a question about where someone is going, for a Norwich City supporter, questions about Vadis tend to be more about where he’s been.
While you're here. Two things; first, did you know we have a new podcast? It's available via iTunes and Soundcloud. Alternatively you can just listen to it in your browser via our podcast page. Club legend Bryan Gunn was our recent guest as we debated the latest talking points regarding NCFC.
Second, to keep AlongComeNorwich advert free and to help us fund additional initiatives aimed at improving the Carrow Road atmosphere, we occasionally produce exclusive t-shirts/merchandise.
This time we've produced another t-shirt, celebrating the further German invasion at Carra Rud. As always, we take no profit from these and put all the revenue back into the site and things we can all enjoy.