Grant Holt talks of his unfinished business at Norwich City
Grant Holt shocked City fans when he handed in a transfer request, but does he really want to leave? MICHAEL BAILEY interviewed him just five days earlier at the end of another hugely successful campaign – draw your own conclusions…
Despite three years of unprecedented success and a glut of goals, Grant Holt has unfinished business at Norwich City.
That was the view of the Canaries' skipper after coming off the pitch with his 15th Premier League goal of the campaign and a third Player of the Season accolade under his arm eight days ago.
Friday's news of Holt's subsequent transfer request – and the Canaries' rejection of it – appears to have altered the landscape since then.
However, with the opener against Aston Villa taking his Carrow Road career tally to 70 goals in 130 appearances and joint seventh alongside John Deehan in the club's all-time goalscoring charts, Holt was – at the time – keen to emphasise he wanted to catch and pass Ralph Hunt, Jack Vinall and the total of 84 goals amassed by Robert Fleck, who sits fourth in the iconic list of City legends.
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Johnny Gavin tops the pile with 132 goals, with Terry Allcock's 127 and Iwan Roberts' 97 strikes completing the top-eight names.
'I said in an interview at the start of the season, if I can get anywhere near the top five I'd be delighted,' said Holt after the season final� with Villa. 'I think this takes me within 14 or 15 now, so if I can achieve that it would be great.
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'There are things I still want to achieve here and things I want to do, and that's definitely one of them. I want to get into that top four and the names that have been associated with that.
'I've overtaken quite a few and I said to Iwan the other week I don't think I'll get yours. I don't think I will be here long enough – I will have retired by then.'
It has been an incredible three years for the Canaries, with Premier League survival sitting alongside the League One title and automatic promotion from the Championship as runners-up at the first attempt.
Manchester City and Watford are the only other sides to have enjoyed Norwich's achievement of successive promotions into the top flight since the Premier League came along in 1992-93.
However, Norwich became the first side to add survival to the list in their third season – the Citizens and Hornets were both relegated on their top-flight return.
And for that reason, Holt admitted City's 2011-12 efforts topped their previous two years.
'Of course it does – it's the biggest achievement; I know you don't see a trophy and you don't say you've done this and that or been promoted, but it's the biggest achievement by a country mile,' said Holt.
'We are in the toughest league in Europe, if not the world, and to do what we've done and turn in the performance we have – all credit to Paul Lambert, his staff and the players.'
That group, of course, includes the club's talisman – a man that has been revered across Norwich and beyond.
'I think I have said many times, a lot of people say it's the goals but I like to think that it is when people see me there they know I want to win,' said Holt last week. 'When people see winners and people who want to run and work, people like it.
'At this moment in time it's going well and winning three Player of the Seasons is fantastic and an achievement I'll remember forever.'
On top of the news regarding Holt, the Canaries are also dealing with speculation over the future of manager Paul Lambert, who continues to be linked with the vacancies at Villa Park and Liverpool.
And Holt conceded City's success makes Lambert a prime candidate for any job that comes along.
'Well he's good... that's why,' said Holt, speaking after Villa. 'He's got an aura and he has got something about him where you just know that when he is about he has got something that makes you want to work for him.
'That's why he is getting touted for most jobs going and I am sure any job that comes up in the summer his name will get chucked in, and only he can answer what he wants to do.
'I'm sure the club will do anything to keep him here and I'm sure if he feels it's right to stay he will stay. If he feels it's right to go he will go.
'He is strong willed and he will do whatever he decides to do, and whatever happens I'm hoping he is here next year when I come back.'
As for a highlight of Holt's first campaign as a Premier League footballer, two moments – relatively early in the season – stand out.
'Season-wise, I probably think about two,' said the striker. 'I always think about the one at Anfield when I came on and scored. It wasn't even about the goal. I was peed off because he didn't play me and after the weeks I'd had I thought he should have played me.'
Holt joked, 'But don't say it too loudly', before adding: 'To get the goal, I think that was the game where a lot of the lads believed we could go to these clubs and do stuff. I came on and we got the point.
'And then Blackburn here earlier in the season, it was 3-2 when I came off the bench and scored a penalty in the 93rd minute. It's moments like that where the lads realised and had the belief. It gives you that spirit.'