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'Show everyone who is the best team in East Anglia' - Holty reflects on a time when Lambert was in the opposite corner

Grant Holt was the first Norwich City player in 42 years to score a derby hat-trick against Ipswich Town Picture: Chris Radburn/PA

Grant Holt was the first Norwich City player in 42 years to score a derby hat-trick against Ipswich Town Picture: Chris Radburn/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

It was a different era. Paul Lambert was green and yellow not blue. For Grant Holt a 9-2 aggregate thumping on the way to the Premier League in 2010/11 would prove extra special

Wes Hoolahan was a special talent for Grant Holt, but a maverick earlier in his career Picture Bill Smith/ArchantWes Hoolahan was a special talent for Grant Holt, but a maverick earlier in his career Picture Bill Smith/Archant

Grant Holt earned cult hero status during a Norwich City spell that saw him crowned player-of-the-season in three consecutive years, after leading the club from League One to the Premier League.

The 38-year-old's remarkable football journey is crammed into his autobiography, 'Grant Holt; A Real Football Life', in shops this coming weekend and now available to buy online.

Here, in extracts from his life story, Holty reflects on the derby double to end all doubles...

If there is one thing people ask me most about my career, other than 'how did a lump like you play in the Premier League?' it's my hat-trick for Norwich against Ipswich in the East Anglian derby.

Barely a day goes by without someone mentioning the hat-trick to me.

I could be shopping, or in a café, or out for a pint of milk, and someone will wander over and tell me they were there that day at Carrow Road, or that it was their favourite memory as a Norwich fan.

Russell Martin savours his goal in Norwich City's 5-1 hammering of Ipswich on the way to Premier League promotion in 2011 l

Picture: James Bass/ArchantRussell Martin savours his goal in Norwich City's 5-1 hammering of Ipswich on the way to Premier League promotion in 2011 l Picture: James Bass/Archant

I've become so used to being asked about it, but you never forget what an honour it is to be remembered like that, and to have given thousands of fans such a great memory.

The game was at the end of November, and the return match at Portman Road wasn't until late April, so bragging rights would last for a long time if we won.

Lambert was playing the match down in the press but privately he was telling us we were the better team, if we worked harder and ran further than them then our quality would show.

It helped having a gaffer who had played in one of the biggest derbies in the world, for Celtic against Rangers. He knew what he was talking about, and that always goes a long way for a manager.

We walked out, and the roar was ridiculous. I'd never heard anything like it. It was a freezing day, snow had been cleared off the pitch, but the atmosphere was absolutely red hot.

They equalised on 29 minutes but we were back ahead six minutes later.

A couple of minutes later the odds swung decisively in our favour.

Paul Lambert crossed the East Anglian divide but masterminded a 9-2 aggregate win over Ipswich in Norwich colours back in 2010/11 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdPaul Lambert crossed the East Anglian divide but masterminded a 9-2 aggregate win over Ipswich in Norwich colours back in 2010/11 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I got slid through and I turned Damien Delaney, but as I got away he grabbed my shirt and held on. I had a split-second decision to make, I was still quite far out so a goal wasn't a certainty. But Delaney was the last man so going down would mean a red. Quick calculation and down I went. I was in the ref's ear straight away.

The red card came out, the crowd went ballistic, and that was effectively the game done. Now we could go and blitz them.

The gaffer told us at the break not to do anything stupid because they would be looking to even things up and get us down to 10 men. His parting words were, 'Now go and dominate them and bury them. Show everyone who's the best team in East Anglia.'

We passed them to death at the start of the second half. But for all of our nice play, a bit of edginess crept in when we were only one goal to the good. Wes came on around the hour mark and immediately starting picking holes.

Suddenly we were rampant again. Bang.

A hat-trick in the derby in front of the famous Barclay. What a feeling. You don't forget those sort of moments. 3-1 up, cruising and I'd scored three against Ipswich.

We scored a fourth and came off that pitch bouncing. Not only were the bragging rights secured but the result had taken us back into the play-offs.

Grant Holt was back on the Carrow Road recently lending his support to former team mates Russell Martin and Wes Hoolahan Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdGrant Holt was back on the Carrow Road recently lending his support to former team mates Russell Martin and Wes Hoolahan Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

I got the ball signed and sat in the dressing room soaking it all in.

I was told I was only the second Norwich player to score a derby hat-trick and it was a surreal feeling when it sank in that I was forever going to be written into Norwich City history.

Some derbies are more important than others...

We faced Ipswich at Portman Road with only four matches left.

A win would take us back into the top two with three to go. We thought we'd be in for a tough battle. Instead, we absolutely battered them.

Surs (Andrew Surman) put us ahead after 13 minutes and I knew the game was already done.

Ipswich had tried to turn it into a kicking contest, but we were just too good for them.

There was one period in the game when we must have put 40 passes together without them getting near us. The only surprise was we didn't score our third until the 73rd minute. By the time the game had finished, the ground was empty, apart from a sea of green and yellow. We'd battered them so heavily that we'd taken over their ground.

People often ask me if I was gutted not to get on the scoresheet that night. Honestly, I didn't care. What was really satisfying was their fans had been saying we only beat them earlier in the season because they went down to 10 men.

Well, we'd just beaten them with 11. The bragging rights were there for all to see, you can't really gloss over an aggregate score of 9-2. We stuck the music on loud in the dressing room and it was a great place to be.

Everyone was laughing and joking, just a bunch of pals having a brilliant time together. The journey back up the A140 was great.

There was no drinking, just a real sense of satisfaction having smashed a team. A contented buzz you only get after really special wins.

Grant Holt: A Real Football Life tells the story of the City legend's stunning rise up nine tiers of English football from non-league grafter to scoring at Anfield, the Emirates, the Etihad and Stamford Bridge.

In shops from Saturday and available to order NOW from shop.canaries.co.uk

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