City skipper Grant Holt hailed a “massive” victory for his beloved Canaries as City further cemented their place in the top half of the Premiership table with that 4-2 win over Newcastle United.
A game which featured the 30-year-old’s 50th and 51st league goals for his Norfolk employers – and all from just 98 league appearances since his switch from Shrewsbury Town in the summer of 2009.
It is an extraordinary record – one that has long ago secured the two-time Norwich Player of the Year a lasting place in the club’s affections.
And with wife and young family now happily settled in a new home in Norfolk, who knows when the story will ever end?
“I’ve given the manager a few nudges from the bench over the last couple of weeks – thankfully he chucked me in today and it worked,” said Holt, after still delivering big moments in his recent role as a second-half ‘impact’ player.
In fairness, it has been a delicate balancing act for boss Paul Lambert; Steve Morison delivered his fifth goal in six Premiership outings with his own, thumping header to help secure a big, big home win for the Canaries. And if the City chief opts for just the one ‘up top’, there is precious little to separate the two, old-fashioned hitmen.
Both have that inner hunger that comes with knowing what it is like on the other side of the street – working as a tyre-fitter in Holt’s case; as a paper shredder in Morison’s.
“You’ve got a lot of lads that have had their set-backs – you look at Stevie [Morison]; three years ago playing non-league and now playing in the Prem and scoring goals for fun,” said Holt, with the likes of Andrew Crofts (Chelsea), Bradley Johnson (Arsenal) and David Fox (Manchester United) all falling into that category.
“Been at bigger clubs, come back down and want to go back there. And I think when you get that belief and desire in the squad, then – as I think everyone has seen – we put in a performance.”
Particularly at home where the walls of ‘Fortress Carrow Road’ continue to withstand the club’s new elevated status.
“We’ve got to let people know that, whoever you are, you come here and you’re going to be in for a game. And if we keep churning out three points at home and looking to nick things away from hope, we’ll be OK.”
The Canaries have now scored more headed goals than any other team in the Premiership with this weekend’s thriller providing three more for their growing collection.
Holt’s explanation was simple – and to the point. “Maybe it’s because we’re good in the air…
“But if you’ve got players who get good balls into the box, then we’ve got players who don’t mind putting their head where it hurts.”
Equally, they are scoring goals full stop. Given that they always have at least one ‘Ooops!’ moment in them defensively – Zak Whitbread’s walkabout moment being the latest – it is just as well that goals are still coming easily for the Norfolk side.
Yesterday and Lambert’s decision to throw Holt back in alongside Steve Morison and to have Wes Hoolahan floating in the hole behind was a signal of their positive intent; best foot forward from the start.
“I think it’s the way that we set-up,” said the City skipper. “We always go positive, although you have to be careful how you do that. We want to go and win games; we want to go and score goals. But we’ve just got to be careful sometimes that we don’t get sucked in that way and give a sucker punch away.”
For as long as the Canaries continue to find the net at one end, they can get away with the odd moments of murder at the other; they have still to rack up a clean sheet this season, but have 19 points on the board – a position that a Bolton, a Blackburn or a Sunderland would give their right arm for.
And in adding to Newcastle’s winter woes, City had racked up another decent scalp.
“We knew that we had to come out of the blocks flying and we knew that we needed the three points,” he added. “We’ve got some tough games coming up and we need to take as many points as we can at home.”
Personally, it is clear that Holt’s love affair with club and county continues. It has been a dream move and remains arguably Bryan Gunn’s greatest managerial legacy.
“I’m very lucky that I’ve scored a lot of goals since I’ve been here and I enjoy my football,” said the former Shrews forward, who at 30 years of age is still in his pomp.
“I’ve come here and I’m happy. I’ve settled down; the wife and kids are happy; I’ve just bought a house in Norwich. And I think when you enjoy your football and you enjoy being in a place, it works. And I’ve been lucky that I’ve come here and coincided with being in a fantastic side.”
Leave a Reply