It’s been a while - and Wes Hoolahan is cherishing his Norwich City’s player of the season award
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It's been a few years in the making, but Wes Hoolahan has finally got his hands on the biggest prize in Norwich City's private trophy cabinet.
The Barry Butler Memorial Trophy for the player of the season is adorned with some famous names – but in recent years it has somehow bypassed Hoolahan.
But yesterday, Carrow Road was able to show its appreciation for the efforts of one of its most loyal servants as the 34-year-old held the silverware aloft.
While Hoolahan would be the first to admit it hasn't been a vintage season at Carrow Road, it was hard for him to disguise his pride as he pipped Jonny Howson into the runners-up spot, with Ivo Pinto third.
'It's been nine years waiting for it and obviously I am elated to be voted for by the fans,' said Hoolahan after picking up a brace of goals and a couple of assists in City's season-finale 4-0 win over QPR.
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'It is a great achievement for myself and my family. To be up there with Jonny Howson and Grant Holt, who won it three times - yes I am delighted with it.'
Holt's heroics saw him take an award hat-trick from 2010-2012 – a fact that brought a smile from Hoolahan.
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'I've had nine years and Grant Holt kept winning it ahead of me,' he laughed. 'It is a pleasure losing to Grant, but it is up there in my Norwich career – a great accolade to win, a great achievement.'
Hoolahan joined City from Blackpool in the summer of 2008, signed by Glenn Roeder, but his award winning season hasn't coincided with the 'ups' of his time in Norfolk.
'Obviously as a team it hasn't been the best season for us,' he said. 'The main aim was to get promoted and we didn't do that. Obviously over the few years it has been good but obviously this year it hasn't been.'
If there was a silver lining it was the result – on a day when the spotlight was shared with the departing John Ruddy.
'It was the perfect way to end, especially for John to get his clean sheet and the standing ovation he got – he deserved a good send-off,' said Hoolahan. 'He has been here seven years at the club and he has pulled off some great saves and he will be remembered for a long time.'