Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett in rallying call to Grant Holt
Norwich City's top brass have urged Grant Holt to stay and spearhead Chris Hughton's bid to establish the Canaries as a fully-fledged Premier League outfit.
Both club chairman Alan Bowkett and chief executive David McNally reiterated again yesterday at Hughton's unveiling that they want Holt to remain a key figure under the new manager's stewardship.
Holt has been the subject of confirmed interest from West Ham after lodging a transfer request last month – but Bowkett made a very public appeal to City's serial player-of-the-year to reconsider.
'Now is an ideal opportunity. It is a completely clean piece of paper,' he said. 'This is an opportunity for Grant and his agent to row back from a rather intractable position and have a sensible conversation with the football club. Our door is open. We want him to stay and to play for us and I think he would really enjoy playing for Chris. I have to say the messages we have had from team members about the potential appointment, when it was a potential appointment, have been extremely supportive. A lot of people want to push on.'
McNally made it crystal clear Holt's most recent pronouncement on his official Twitter page that he still wishes to leave Carrow Road cut little ice.
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'Clearly there is a different view on the future between the club and Grant. We want Grant to stay,' he said. 'He is our captain, top goal scorer for the past three years, 70 goals in 130-odd games, player-of-the-year in three successive seasons. We would like Grant Holt to stay. He is under contract for the next two years. He is not for sale and we are not encouraging anybody to make offers for him.'
Bowkett believes Hughton can play a leading role in the rapprochement after demonstrating his ability to handle a variety of difficult situations at both his previous clubs Newcastle and Birmingham.
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'Apart from the standard things in terms of intelligence, drive and hunger he has a calm attitude,' he said. 'He has a slightly detached view of the issues, identifying problems and coming up with reasoned ways of solving them. The other thing I quite like about Chris is he has managed under adversity. It hasn't always been easy for him. He has had to manage some tough situations. The outcome at Birmingham was remarkable.
'With Chris we have got a manager who can help us kick on from a very strong position which Paul (Lambert) has left us. Chris has won the Championship, he has managed a huge, huge club in Newcastle and he also has Europa League experience. I think we are moving on.'
Bowkett revealed Hughton was top of a shortlist of five candidates with a heavy continental flavour. The 53-year-old also featured prominently on a provisional list drawn up last summer, after what the chairman described as a 'wobble' from the club's former manager Lambert.
'Not to put too fine a point on it, when Paul had a wobble last year, last summer, we started drawing up a shortlist, and Chris was top of the shortlist then,' he said. 'We had a shortlist this time around of five people and Chris was top, with a German, two Italians and a Scotsman – and I'll leave you to guess which one's which. That was certainly different to three years ago when David and I got our heads together and had to sadly replace Bryan (Gunn). We had to take a gamble, a calculated gamble, but this time I think we were able to attract very, very strong candidates with outstanding potential.'