City skipper Grant Holt has admitted that it’s all finally starting to sink in, as the Canaries prepare for life back in the Championship.
Speaking at last week’s civic reception to celebrate winning the title by a whopping nine points, the goal machine revealed that he’s going to savour the moment for as long as possible.
And now the dust has settled on 2009/10, Holt is well aware of just how smoothly his first season in Norfolk went.
Let’s face it, with a League One winners’ medal, 30 goals and the Barry Butler Memorial trophy to his name, it was perfection.
“Now you look back at our form, to finish nine points clear is fantastic achievement. Great credit has to go to the management staff and the lads.
“To do it in the manner in which we have, grinding out results and playing good football when we could, is fantastic.
“The gaffer said to me several weeks ago to lift that trophy high and be proud, because you never know in your career when you will do it again. I will try and lift that trophy as many times as I can before it goes next year; I might take it home!”
For the title-winners, they can now put their feet up and relax while the chasing pack sweat it out in the lottery that is the play-offs. And Holt admitted that he was glad City aren’t a part of it.
For the likes of Millwall, Charlton, Swindon and Huddersfield, the path to the Championship is still one littered with obstacles. But Norwich can watch on, knowing their job is well and truly done.
“We wanted it done as soon as possible and we got to the stage where we had beaten Leeds and wanted to get it all done and dusted. I wanted to get my operation done and get my foot up but the team just wanted to get the job done.
“We did get a bit twitchy, as you do, and it’s normal that if someone gets nervous, they panic; but we ground out results. That is what the lads did at Charlton; we came out fighting and nicked the 1-0.”
Despite this season’s success story for Holt, next year will represent a personal challenge for the former Notts Forest man, having never made a real impact in the second tier.
But the 29-year-old now feels he has the perfect platform to be a real hit at that level, under a manager he enjoys a great relationship with.
“You always want to prove yourself at the next level as a player. I have a chance now, under a manager who likes the way I play, to take that into the Championship; I’ll go and give it my best shot.
“But we are under no illusions as to how hard it is going to be. There are good sides, consistent sides, but we have a good team as well.
“We keep clean sheets, we score goals and I have no doubt that the manager will bring in the four or five players which we need to keep us fighting at that level. It is about consolidation next year; we want to win the league but it’s about getting our heads down and seeing how we get on.”
But for now, it’s plenty of rest for Holt and that troublesome ankle. And boy does the Cumbrian deserve it.
“I’ve now got a chance to get my leg up! We will take our personal programmes away and that will get us ready for when we return, fresh for pre-season. But first we will soak this up and enjoy it with everyone.”