David Norris: Pompey goal still talked about in a Bolton gym

David Norris celebrates his goal against Southampton.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (121221-534)
David Norris celebrates his goal against Southampton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (121221-534)
Erhun Oztumer Picture: Joe Deny

Pompey v Walsall: The Opposition View

  • David Norris scored eight goals in 42 appearances for Pompey
  • The 35-year-old is now a co-owner in Unique Fitness in Bolton
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THE reminders are always there for David Norris, much to his pleasure.

‘There is a member of the gym who has given me some stick about that goal, he’s a big Southampton fan who lives up this way,’ he told The News.

David Norris in his gym. Picture: Neil Allen

David Norris in his gym. Picture: Neil Allen

‘I’ve spoken to him about it, ran him through it a few times!

‘They would still be sick because it was not that long ago and at the time their best chance of winning a trophy.

‘It will stick in their throats and that is Pompey’s claim – “You’ve not beaten us for God knows how many years now”.’

To be precise, it is 11 years, four months and 30 days since the Blues suffered defeat to their fiercest rivals.

Back then you might have done a little bit for a week or two before the beginning of pre-season. Now you have to go back fit and in a decent shape ready for games

David Norris

Of course, had it not been for Norris’ dramatic intervention, that prized statistic would have halted in April 2012.

The midfielder’s sweet left-foot volley secured a 2-2 draw at St Mary’s – and engraved his name in Pompey folklore.

Now aged 35 and living in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, it ranks as the greatest moment of his career.

There remains footballing life in his legs for a free agent, however, Norris realises that iconic Blues strike and its circumstances are insurmountable.

Yet while he savours the past, the future suggests success on a different front.

A level three qualified personal trainer, in February he became co-owner of Unique Fitness in Bolton while playing for Blackpool in League One.

Specialising in fitness training, the Bark Street premises situated two floors above intriguingly contain no conventional gym machines.

It is a unique environment to have already attracted a sporting client base consisting of footballers Luke Murphy and Alex Mowatt (Leeds), Tom Aldred (Blackpool), Lewis Hardcastle and Craig Conway (Blackburn), Joel Coleman (Huddersfield), Mike Jones (Carlisle) and former Leeds defender Scott Wootton.

Then there’s local lad Amir Khan, the boxer signing up to work on strength and conditioning while away from his American training camp.

And Norris is delighted with how his new career path is progressing.

He added: ‘We focus on functioning movements instead of isolating the body on an exercise machine working on a specific area.

‘The fitness process is changing. People in gyms can go on the treadmill for 10 minutes and then the cross trainer for 10 minutes, but nothing is happening.

‘Yet they can come to us for those same 20 minutes and have a full body workout, sweat and breathing, everything, and that will be 10-times better.

‘We cater for everyone, age or size it doesn’t matter, but obviously my links to football has also given us a different market to tap into.

‘Players like to tick over during the close season, although the lads wouldn’t have done that when I first started!

‘Back then you might have done a little bit for a week or two before the beginning of pre-season.

Now you have to go back fit and in a decent shape ready for games.

‘You are body weighed and fat tested at most places and while you might get a little bit of leeway it’s not much, so it is important to arrive back fully prepared.

‘Whereas years ago pre-season was used to get you fit, now you go back fit and it ties you over.

‘This is where I see my future. I won’t go into the coaching side of football, if I ever did stay in the game it would be in a strength and conditioning role at a club.

‘There are too many people doing different jobs and no-one lasts.

I have travelled around now and trained at set-ups where managers have lasted 18 months on average, probably less than that, and their staff go with them when the sack comes. That is not for me.

‘I am qualified to take the sessions myself and during the off-season try to get in three or four times a week, there is loads to do.

‘It keeps me fit, I can just join in and do my own thing, practicing what I want, I would only go to the gym anyway.

‘Most of our stuff lasts 20-30 minutes, plus a 10 minute warm-up, so people can come in, do what they need to do, feel great and get out.

‘It is not going to be the time-consuming ordeal it can sometimes be in the gym – and you get the results.’

Norris finished that 2011-12 Fratton Park campaign as top-scorer, with eight goals in 42 appearances, although Pompey were relegated.

With the club in administration, he was among the senior contracted players forced to depart to keep Pompey in existence, securing a move to Leeds.

Since then he has featured for Peterborough, Yeovil and Blackpool – and still sees at least another year in the game.

He said: ‘Blackpool offered me another year, but with a 60 to 70 per cent cut I didn’t want to sign it and turned it down.

‘I started 35 games last year. Obviously my age is against me now, but I am hoping the fact I played that amount of games can get me something.

‘And I’m definitely in the right place to keep myself ticking over.’