It's Team Wes v Team Russ! Canaries announce celebration match for legends
PUBLISHED: 22:12 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 22:12 10 December 2018
Paul Chesterton/Focus Images
It will be 'Team Wes' against 'Team Russ' next year, after Norwich City confirmed a special celebration match is being organised to mark the Canaries careers of Wes Hoolahan and Russell Martin.
The match is due to be played at Carrow Road on the bank holiday Monday of May 6, 2019, a 3pm kick-off, and will feature a host of former City players to raise funds for selected charities.
That will be the day after the current Norwich team finish their regular Championship campaign fixtures, away at Aston Villa.
If Daniel Farke’s team can continue in the top two for the remained of the campaign then the charity game could be a perfect opportunity for a promotion celebration, but if it is the play-offs to come, would be played before a potential semi-final first leg.
The teams of former players will wear the 2011-12 kits worn by Norwich in the Premier League, with Team Wes wearing the green away kit and Team Russ in yellow.
Funds raised will go towards the Community Sports Foundation’s drive to fulfil their plans for their community hub, The Nest, near Norwich Airport.
Hoolahan’s chosen charities are Stepping Stones, a Norwich-based charity for adults with learning difficulties, and Temple Street Hospital in Dublin, where he was born.
“I’m really looking forward to the game and delighted that Russ and I can play in this celebration match and get a send-off and chance to say goodbye to the fans together,” said Hoolahan.
“The club have been great to us and it will be wonderful to get some legends and old players who’ve I’ve played with over the last 10 years together, and I am really looking forward to it.”
While Martin has chosen the Russell Martin Foundation, his charitable operation in his hometown of Brighton, and Crohns and Colitis UK, having spoken publicly about dealing with ulcerative colitis during his career.
The former City skipper added: “For me the game is a brilliant chance to say goodbye properly to the fans and to catch up again with all the people at the club, the staff and the players, who supported me during my time at Norwich City.
“All of my friends and family will be there too so it’s going to be a great day – and to be part of it with Wes as well makes it perfect.”
The match was announced at a media briefing at Carrow Road this evening, with City’s chief operating officer confirming the game will be on May 6 irrespective of City’s final league position and any play-off involvement – with tickets going on sale tomorrow, see below for details.
Kensell said: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming these two legends back for the game in May. It’s going to be a special day for two very special players and we hope as many fans as possible will come and be part of the occasion.”
The club legends left the club during 2018, with Hoolahan completing his 10th season for the Canaries before not having his contract renewed.
That left questions about the Irishman’s testimonial, with City making clear that plans for that game would be made at a later date, having made 352 appearances since joining from Blackpool in 2008.
The 36-year-old former Republic of Ireland international went on to join City’s Championship rivals West Brom in September, where Martin had also been on trial, and has made five appearances for the Baggies this season.
Hoolahan has joined Darren Moore’s promotion hopefuls on a short-term deal until January, with the potential to extend beyond that. Norwich are scheduled to travel to The Hawthorns to face West Brom on Saturday, January 12.
Martin went on to join Walsall as a player-coach in October, having come to a mutual agreement with the Canaries to end his contract early in August as he remained out of contention for the first team.
The 32-year-old defender has made nine appearances for the League One side since joining, having made 309 for Norwich between November 2009 and August 2017.
The Scotland international, who initially joined on loan from Peterborough during the League One title winning season of 2009-10, spent the second half of last season on loan at Rangers.
But now more than eight years of fine service, including two promotions to the Premier League alongside Hoolahan and lifting the play-off trophy as captain at Wembley in 2015, will be appropriately recognised.
After Hoolahan enjoyed such a memorable farewell fixture during last season’s final Carrow Road game, scoring during an emotional 2-1 win over Leeds, linking the duo’s achievements together should make for an enjoyable afternoon – following on from May’s successful legends fixtures against Inter Milan, in aid of the Community Sports Foundation.
• Tickets and hospitality will go on sale from 9am on Tuesday, December 11, initially for the South Stand and City Stand. Tickets can be purchased at Canaries.co.uk, by calling 01603 721902 or by visiting the ticket offices at Carrow Road or Chapelfield.
General admission tickets will be priced at £10 for adults, £5 for ages 16 to 18 and £1 for under-16s, with hospitality packages also available