Norwich City legend Grant Holt opens up to Michael Bailey over his possible Canaries future, his latest honour at Hibernian and why he is so relaxed heading into another summer unsure of where he’ll end up next
PUBLISHED: 06:14 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:30 19 May 2017
Back home with another honour in the bag, Norwich City legend Grant Holt chats to Michael Bailey about proving himself all over again, the next chapter in his playing career and any potential Canaries return.
At times, Norwich City fans would have known exactly how supporters in the stands at Easter Road were feeling.
Maybe his single season at Scottish Championship winners Hibernian wasn’t quite the intensity of Grant Holt’s four-year love affair with Carrow Road, but it’s worth noting the back story.
Holt had so much to prove after falling off the radar with Wigan, suffering a serious knee injury so late in his career – and then came the cancelled flights that left him regularly commuting from Norwich to Edinburgh – by car.
Yet Holt still managed to do what Holt does: score goals, lead his team-mates through battle after battle, and come out the other side with wins, medals, titles and promotions.
“I’ve done all right,” Holt played down. “I keep saying I’ve been lucky. The places I’ve been, they’ve always been there or thereabouts trying to get involved in stuff. Predominantly where I’ve been, I’ve got it right.
“I went up there with an open mind. I knew Hibs were a big club and (manager) Neil Lennon had told me exactly what he wanted to do. Once I went up there, I realised we had a good young bunch of players who wanted to achieve stuff and a manager that wanted to get back to winning things.
“But it’s not to do with the medals, it’s the achievements and the people you do it with. The memories you take over the season of being with them, being in certain games, travelling on the buses having the debriefs and trying to rectify it.
“And then at the end of it, having the euphoria of winning it, looking around the dressing room at a group you are delighted to be with and achieve with. That’s the most gratifying thing. That’s the most you’ll take out of it.
“Standing on balconies like we did at Norwich castle, with all the fans out. We had it with Hibs, 19,000 at the end of the season all singing Sunshine on Leith.
“It’s not the medal, but the people you’ve done it with and the enjoyment they got out of it.”
Which no doubt made all that travelling worthwhile.
“It has been mental. Flybe saved me on numerous occasions with an early morning flight, but Easyjet and Ryan Air weren’t as kind when they cancelled the Saturday evening flights. So it put a bit of a spanner in my works. I’d done all the groundwork of getting home. It was only to be an hour from Stansted – then I found myself driving it all.
“But the manager was good as gold with me. I got days off and we managed it well. It was difficult with the driving and not seeing the kids as much as I wanted to, but you’ve got to make sacrifices with football. It’s not easy.
“I’m at a time where I am only going to be offered a year at a time and I hadn’t played for two years before this season, all due to injury and the manager at Wigan (Uwe Rosler) not playing me. So I needed to prove to myself I could still get going and keep doing it.”
Holt’s time with Hibernian lasted one season but unlike 12 months ago, Holt is far more relaxed about what happens next.
“Last year was a bit more stressful. I’d just came back from the injury and all of a sudden you’re out of contract, even though you want to keep playing.
“This year I’ve got the media stuff I do, my A-licence is now signed off – plus I made 37 appearances. I’m enjoying being at home, I’ve told the people I need to speak to, to leave me alone for a few weeks to spend time with the family. Then I can look at stuff and see what suits me.”
Holt has been open about his desire to head into coaching, and found a bit of time for it at Hibernian, where he helped out with their Under-20s side for the last three months.
He isn’t done playing his own game yet – however when he is, don’t rule out a return to wearing Norwich City tracksuits.
“I’d be foolish to say I didn’t want to come back to Norwich and do coaching, because this is where I live,” Holt added.
“Everyone knows I enjoy being here, my family does. I do the ambassador stuff with the club and the Community Sports Foundation, and I enjoy trying to give back. This club was good to me and I hope people think I was good for it. So it’s nice to come back and try to help out.
“So yes, you’d like to be involved at some point. I’m not sure at the moment there are any jobs there that are right for me, but that’s up to them to have their own structure – and at the moment, I think they have probably got more important things to worry about than whether Grant Holt can have a job.
“They’ll sort their stuff and then I’ll do my stuff, and we’ll see where we are next year. I’m just going to take it as it comes.
“If they offer me something then I’ll sit down and speak with them. And if they don’t then we’ll see what happens in the future.”