Saturday, December 15, 2012
There was plenty for Wes Hoolahan to celebrate on Saturday after Norwich City confirmed the forward had signed a “new and improved” contract.
The news extends his deal to 2015 and ends tabloid speculation the Republic of Ireland international might fancy a move away from Carrow Road.
The forward and fans’ favourite arrived with great fanfare in the summer of 2008 and despite Championship relegation in his first season, Hoolahan has enjoyed two promotions and now the Canaries’ impressive 10-match unbeaten run in the Premier League – and of course, setting up Anthony Pilkington’s opener and heading home the winner in the 2-1 weekend win over Wigan.
“I’m over the moon,” said Hoolahan. “I always wanted to sign a new deal and the club has given me the opportunity to sign a long-term deal here. I couldn’t be happier.
“I’m here until 2015, I’ve been here for four years and that would take me to seven.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here, my family love it here and it’s great to pencil it down and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season now.”
With Simon Lappin and Chris Martin currently on loan at Cardiff and Swindon respectively, Hoolahan is City’s longest serving player with the club.
“I don’t feel like one of the longest serving players here,” admitted Hoolahan.
“The last couple of years have been great coming up from League One, all the way up to the Premier league and doing so well last year. We’re doing even better this season and hopefully we can keep that run going.
“The last few months I’ve been playing and it’s just great to be involved with the lads. We’ve got some top quality players here and I’m really enjoying it.”
The 30-year-old has been in the form of his life in recent months and even earned his second Ireland cap in the autumn friendly with Greece. Former Blackpool and Livingston man Hoolahan now has 33 goals in 174 appearances for City, and five goals in the Premier League – three coming against Wigan.
As far as City boss Chris Hughton is concerned, Hoolahan is full value for his new deal.
“Wes, fortunately for us, has signed a new deal,” he said. “Any player who signs a new deal, it is because he’s earned it. He is in very good form at the minute and he’s earned it, not only this season but in the period of time he has been at this football club.
“The only way you can earn contracts is by performing and performing well enough, and Wes has certainly done that.
“I am probably more pleased for Wes. It is not even a question of his future or leaving here because I don’t think there was any question of him leaving here. He certainly never showed any desire to want to leave here. It has all been about getting a longer deal for himself and we’re delighted with that. I’m really pleased.
“I thought he was excellent today and to see Wes get a headed goal was worth the entrance fee alone. Tackling, headed goals, he can do everything – he might be a little bit too small to play in goal.
“But he capped off a really good all-round performance, and a team performance, particularly the fact we played in midweek and had the disappointment of losing as well.”