Tonight it was officially official – Grant Holt has, indeed, signed a three-year deal with Championship Wigan.
A legend has passed on as the Canaries confirmed yesterday’s reports that the two clubs had agreed a fee for the three-time City Player of the Season.
With medical complete and personal terms agreed, all that was left was the obligatory shirt picture for one, famous chapter in Norwich City history to draw to a close.
Other heroes will emerge, no doubt. But for those four seasons since Holt arrived from Shrewsbury Town have been like few other in the club’s long history – and the one-time car tyre fitter was centre stage for nigh-on every moment of unbelievable drama. Of which there were many.
The only thing missing was an England cap which, if nothing else, would have been due reward for the sheer determination the player demonstrated in rising right to the very top of the English professional game from the very depths of the northern non-league scene.
“This is a fantastic piece of business for us at a really good price,” said new Latics boss Owen Coyle this evening, with reports linking the 32-year-old to a £4 million price tag as the Canaries, rightly, cashed in on the two remaining years of the City skipper’s contract.
“Grant is a proven goalscorer at every level,” added Coyle. “He will definitely bring something new to the table that we were missing in the squad.”
The Latics chief was well aware of Holt’s revered status among the Canary faithful.
“He’s been a hero to the fans at every club he’s been and I know the Norwich fans are sad to see him go, he’s been one of the icons of their success in recent years.
“But now it’s the Wigan fans’ turn to enjoy him and we’re all delighted he’s coming on board.”
As ever Twitter proved an unending source of farewells and best wishes.
City chief executive David McNally was swift to pay tribute: ‘Best wishes to @Grantholt31 at Wigan and thank you for your huge contribution over 4 fantastic years at #ncfc’
For his part, @Grantholt31 responded in kind: ‘Thanks for all your lovely messages been a great four years with the club great memories and some great friends made along the way.’
Ex-City boss Bryan Gunn – the man who took the plunge that summer transfer-wise – also bid the Big Man every success in his new adventure.
‘Grant Holt joins Norwich City Seems a long time ago but I wish @Grantholt31 all the best at #WAFC,’ wrote @MrGunny1963, with City supporters equally swift to acknowledge his part in bringing Holt to the club.
It is certainly, by some stretch, one of the most amicable of partings in recent years. Timing, price and destination all ensuring that he will be afforded a true hero’s welcome should the two clubs paths cross again.
The odds must be already shortening on a cup reunion – such is the way with football.
Coyle has certainly wasted little time in building a squad to his own liking after arriving at the JJB this summer following Roberto Martinez’ exit for Everton.
Holt was Coyle’s seventh signing of a busy summer. He will, finally, get a trip to Wembley too for the FA Charity Shield clash against champions Manchester United.
Norwich, meanwhile, continue to be at the centre of other transfer storms – not least with regard to Chelsea’s on-going interest in England City keeper John Ruddy.