Three-time Canary player of the season Grant Holt could not hide his excitement at making a Carrow Road return as the build-up to City’s clash with ‘Inter Forever’ on Sunday, May 20, continued.
The 37-year-old striker – currently player-coach at Barrow back in his native Cumberland – is assured of a hero’s welcome as he joins up with the UEFA Cup Class of ’93 to play host to their Italian counterparts.
The whole show is designed not only to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Norwich’s remarkable run to the San Siro Stadium but also to raise funds for the Community Sports Foundation and their Nest project.
“I just think it’s going to be a fantastic game,” said Holt, back home in Norfolk and enjoying a break from his season-long travels up and down the length of the country.
“Fantastic for me personally to look around and see all the old boys back on the pitch,” he added, well aware of the game and it’s significance in terms of Canary folklore.
“I remember the game and I remember the result – it will just be a bit surreal being on the same pitch as them,” he said, as Mike Walker’s men were squeezed out of the competition by the narrowest of margins over the two legs.
Alas, there were no moments of Jeremy Goss like glory in the Olympic Stadium, Munich, the round earlier. Just a thoroughly gutsy effort against a great Milan side – many of whose stars will be returning to Carrow Road with the ‘Inter Forever’ set-up.
While not one of the Class of 93, the prospect of Holt lining up on the same City side as a certain Darren Huckerby is just one of a number of intriguing sub-plots designed to keep the supporters richly entertained.
“It’s not actually the first time we’ve played together,” said Holt. “I think it was two years ago now that I played with him in another charity game.
“I think you know what you’re getting with Hucks. He does what he does. He runs up and down and it’ll be good.
“I’m actually looking forward to playing with a few of them. But to be honest, I’m more looking forward to seeing the older lads, seeing them on the turf.
“I’m one of those that have seen them play on the TV but never seen them play live, so it’ll be good. Be interesting.”
He is expecting a competitive game. It’s just the nature of the competitive beast that lurks within them all.
“I think whenever you get pros on a football pitch, you get a competitive game. You cant just turn it off.
“If you asked any of our lads that are playing, as soon as you step over the line – whether it’s a charity game or a game with friends – you never really turn off. You never lose that competitive edge.”
Despite the endless miles travelled between his Norfolk home and his Barrow day job, Holt feels fit and ready for the occasion. There’s plenty life left in this 37-year-old, albeit if he didn’t actually score a goal this season.
“I’m feeling good,” he said, as he starts to learn the ropes coaching-wise. He has another year at Barrow, before deciding what and where next.
“It’s my off-season now, so I’ll have a couple of weeks off and then start again next Monday, building the fitness back up for the following week.
“I’ve got another year up there – it’s been good. It’s tough – you have to work hard in that division, but I’ve learnt a lot, coached a lot, done a lot of sessions which is good from a coaching stand-point – and played more games than I thought I would which is also good.”
The goals just didn’t flow as freely as they once did in Norfolk.
“Zero,” he freely admitted, when quizzed about his goal-scoring exploits in the National League.
“Just ten assists though,” he added. “I don’t get goals now, I just get loads of assists.
“I do the donkey work for everybody else. I’m not really that bothered about scoring all the goals – as long as someone else scores and we achieve wins, I’m as happy as anyone.”
Hospitality packages are also available.
Tickets are available online: tickets.canaries.co.uk, by phone on 01603 721902 or from the ticket offices at Carrow Road, Castle Mall or Chapelfield.
The proceeds from the match will go towards the development of the Community Sports Foundation’s new facility, which will be known as ‘The Nest’, after the Canaries’ former home.
To find out more, visit https://www.communitysportsfoundation.org.uk/build-the-nest/about-the-nest/