City skipper Grant Holt made a simple vow last night: ‘I’m going nowhere…’
The 28-year-old bagged his 19th goal of an increasingly extraordinary individual season to set the Canaries on the road to a very regulation 2-0 win over Oldham Athletic yesterday.
Afterwards and certain questions were inevitable. Particularly with the New Year transfer window now less than four weeks away.
I’m going nowhere, was Holt’s simple message as Norwich continue to look a team transformed with Holt on point and Paul Lambert in charge.
“I’ve signed a contract for three years – and I’m here to stay for that,” said Holt, fresh from bagging No19 with a smart, diving header to convert Chris Martin’s dipping, 21st minute cross.
“I’ve come here to do a job at a fantastic club with a great fan base,” he added. “And there’s only one direction that this club is going.
“And I’m fortunate that I came here in the summer.
“I’ve adjusted really well to the football club and, obviously, the fans have taken really well to me here and I’ve no doubt in my mind that I want to be at this football club.”
With Wes Hoolahan’s 11th goal of the season all-but ending the contest in the 32nd minute, Norwich pretty much coasted home after the break.
Newly-crowned November Player of the Month Fraser Forster needed to keep his wits about him twice in the second-half, otherwise he was a virtual spectator for long periods of the game as Holt, Hoolahan, Martin and Co proved to have too much about them for a labouring Latics side.
City’s strike trio now have 40 goals between them; itself a remarkable tally for the first weekend in December.
End the season with all three having played 30-plus games apiece and sheer goal-power alone will put the Norfolk side there or thereabouts promotion-wise.
Little wonder that Holt appears intent on hanging around for the ride.
“Look, if anyone comes down to Norwich and sees the club, knows the club, sees the fans, goes and walks round the city, you know what a fantastic club it is – and it isn’t where it should be.
“Everyone in football knows that. It’s just up to us on the pitch to go and do it for the fans, for the club, for the directors – everyone involved with this football club deserves to be at a higher level and we’re going in the right direction to do that.
“And I gladly want to be a part of that for as long as I can be.”
With 19 goals to his name, Holt is the leading marksman in all four English divisions; it is a long, long time since a Norwich City player could ever lay claim to that title.
Ricky Lambert at Southampton and Adam Le Fondre at Rotherham are his nearest challengers with 17 goals apiece.
“When you score goals, you always get confident, but as I’ve said before – it’s not all about me scoring goals. It’s about the team winning.
“And if people go out every week and score and I don’t score another goal between now and the end of the season and we get promoted I’ll gladly take that.”
His performance was all a bit too much for ageing Latics war-horse Sean Gregan who tried to leave a big impression on the City hero before the game was out.
Right down either leg.
‘Robust’ would be one description; ‘agricultural’, another. Dog & Duck, a third.
Afterwards Holt could afford to smile.
“He’s a good experienced pro; he’s done a lot in the game,” said Holt of the man who once scored from nigh-on the half-way line at Carrow Road in his Preston North End days.
“And it’s a battle – that’s what you get in these games. And if you take that out of football, then there’s no point in playing. And it is getting to the point where you can’t touch anyone nowadays.
“But part and parcel of football is having battles – and that’s what we had today.”
The Canaries can, at least, look forward to a week without a Tuesday game; time for Holt to catch his breath and rest his battered limbs.
“I took a little knock when he [Gregan] came in, but I’ll be fine.
“I’ve got a long week now to relax and get ready for the next week.”
And the chance to hit the big two-o. Had he ever had 20 goals before Santa’s come to call?
“Not that I know of – no,” he said. “To be fair, I don’t really ever look at stats. And Christmas is nothing; it’s end of season – that’s the main goal and we’ll just see where we end up.”
In the Canary Hall Of Fame, if nowhere else. The man’s got it.