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Chris Goreham: It could have all been so different for “Hoooooolahaaaaaan” at Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 17:14 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 24 April 2018

Wes Hoolahan celebrates firing Norwich in front from the penalty spot against Ipswich during the 2015 Championship play-off semi-final at Carrow Road. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Wes Hoolahan celebrates firing Norwich in front from the penalty spot against Ipswich during the 2015 Championship play-off semi-final at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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There aren’t many advantages to being mid-table with two matches still to play but one for Norwich City will be the ability to stage manage Wes Hoolahan’s Carrow Road curtain call.

The crowd favourite will play his final match for The Canaries against Leeds United this coming weekend, ending a wonderful decade littered with great memories.

But it was nearly very different.

While looking back over Hoolahan’s Canary career I happened across an article that I wrote for the BBC Sport website in late August 2009.

Under a not very creative but matter-of-fact headline of ‘Norwich ready to sell Irish pair’ the piece details some comments made by Paul Lambert during which the newly arrived City manager hints that he is ready to allow Hoolahan and Gary Doherty to go.

At this point Wes had been with Norwich for just over a year. His first season was the farce that saw Glenn Roeder depart as City slid into League One. The then 27-year old had, and doesn’t this seem incredible for all sorts of reasons, just been left out of Norwich’s squad for a hard fought 2-0 win at, wait for it, Hartlepool.

“From Wes’s point of view, he’s been updated on certain things,” Lambert had apparently grumbled to us if my words can be taken as read.

“I’m not going to push them out of the door they’ll find it hard to play here, I’ll go with the group of lads that’s done well,” he added.

We can only guess what might have happened had Lambert not come up with the idea of playing Wes Hoolahan just behind striker Grant Holt in a game against Charlton less than a month later. Both players scored as City came back from 2-0 down to rescue a point and begin the slow and steady climb up the League One table until they reached the very top.

It’s been a pleasure to commentate on his decade with the club, I reckon I have described all but one of his 53 goals for the club. It’s a very satisfying named to shout when he scored with all those vowel sounds.

Try it yourself and see how long you can make “Hoooooolahaaaaaan” last.

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