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Signed, sealed and delivered: Norwich City Football Club captain Grant Holt (centre) with new signings Jacob Butterfield (left) and Steven Whittaker with manager Chris Hughton (front) at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The good news came in threes for Chris Hughton on Tuesday, after influential Norwich City striker Grant Holt pledged his future to the club – alongside two new faces.
In a bumper afternoon press conference at Carrow Road originally set to present Saturday’s new arrival Steven Whittaker, the ex-Rangers defender and Hughton were joined by Holt – fresh from agreeing a new deal to keep him at City until 2015.
Holt’s future had been up in the air as far as most City fans were concerned since putting in a transfer request at the end of last season.
And while that would have been more than enough to whet the appetite ahead of pre-season training, which starts next week, Hughton pulled out ace number three – confirming the arrival of England Under-21 international Jacob Butterfield from Barnsley on a four-year contract.
The midfielder turns 23 next Tuesday, while a fee for his switch from Oakwell is likely to decided by a tribunal after the two clubs failed to agree one between themselves for the Tykes youth product.
Any one of the arrivals on their own would have helped lighten the mood after a turbulent start to the close season brought about by Paul Lambert’s departure. But with Hughton now getting his feet under the table, there was no doubt which figure was the day’s big news.
And having secured the extra 12 contracted months he wanted at the club he aimed to stay at, Holt was delighted to look forward.
“It’s been a long time and I think a lot of people would have liked to have got it sorted a lot sooner,” said the City number nine – and scorer of 70 goals in 130 appearances since arriving in 2009. “We got there in the end and I’m happy to do that.
“The intention was never to leave. You don’t put a transfer request in for no reason when you’ve achieved what I’ve achieve here. I felt I was maybe being unrewarded for what I’d done, and I explained I wanted to see my career out here. I’ve had three great years – why would I not want to stay?
“Everyone knows I’ve got three young kids I want structure for and I want them to stay. Everyone knew I was settled and I just wanted to make sure I had that for three years and everything was right.
“There was a lot of speculation and a lot of things said, people’s quotes, rumour mills, and a lot of it was nonsense. When you’re reading it you get annoyed but you don’t want to comment because you don’t want to drag all the club’s stuff through it.
“I’m just delighted to get it to bed. It’s been six weeks where we are supposed to be enjoying ourselves – I’m looking forward to getting back to work now and seeing the lads.”
While Holt’s situation had little to do with City’s managerial switch, the timing did not ease supporters’ fears over their second season in the top flight. But one conversation with Hughton and things could move on for the three-time player of the season.
Holt said: “It’s a good appointment. I spoke to Chris this week and he told me his plans and what he wanted to do, and he told me he wanted me to stay, which was the main thing I wanted to hear. As I said to Chris, you speak to the board and get it sorted this week and I’ll do it.
“My goal has been reached because I got my three years. Obviously there are things I can’t really say too much about. There were things said in the last six weeks that maybe shouldn’t have been, and we’ve resolved them.
“We sat down, spoke about it, dealt with it and we will move on. At the end of the day, we’re all here to keep this club where it is. I have to do that on the pitch and they’ve got to do that with the finances.”
Holt added: “My situation made me a little unsure as it was, and with Paul going it added to it. But you’ve got to get on with it. All I could do was worry about my own stuff and make sure I was ready for the season, wherever that was going to be – and thankfully we got the deal done and it’s here.”