Although ranking third in the custodian appearances table behind Maddison and Bly, Norman's number of clean sheets (135) and goals conceded per game (1.24) are markedly superior to the afore-mentioned gentleman. His style was not flamboyant; neither did he seek attention or publicity. He was just an exceptional goalkeeper.
Norman's early career at Burnley had been in the shadow of Alan Stevenson. As such his opportunities were limited and when he joined the Tigers' ranks he was relatively unknown. It was not long though before this rough diamond began to glint and as he gained in experience and confidence he produced a level of consistency that became his hallmark and made his worth inestimable to those fans that suffered through some of the most traumatic times the club has endured.
It was not all gloom and doom however for Norman at Boothferry Park. He enjoyed two promotion seasons and whilst his 5 international appearances might seem a pathetic reward for his talents it must be remembered that he was in contention with Neville Southall - then at the height of his powers and possibly Wales's greatest ever goalkeeper. He also set a new record for the Tigers for consecutive appearances. Between August 1983 and September 1988, Norman never missed a single League or Cup match.
It was foreseeable that the day would come when football of a higher standard would demand the presence of Tony Norman. When it came, in December 1988, the pill was only slightly less bitter for the swallowing when the deal that took Norman to Sunderland included the return to Boothferry Park of an ex-Tiger and favourite son Billy Whitehurst. Norman's elevation did not find him wanting. His performances were maintained at their usually high level and in his time at Sunderland he became a firm favourite with the fans and an equally firm fixture in the team.
His was a career that gave a modest return when measured in terms of medals and caps. Yet such measurement cannot dilute the talent, consistency and sportsmanship that Norman displayed throughout that time.