Opinion: An ode to Norwich City’s wing wizard Wes Hoolahan
11:14 29 January 2014
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By Friday evening Wes Hoolahan may no longer be a Norwich City player. Columnist David Powles pays tribute to his efforts in the yellow and green.
A quiz teaser for you.
Once Wes Hoolahan leaves (and let’s face it if he doesn’t go by Friday it seems certain he will by the start of next season) there will be just two players left on Norwich’s books who appeared during the club’s season in League One.
One is Russell Martin - but you might find the second harder to guess (answer at the bottom).
For that reason it will be another symbolic moment in the modern day history of Norwich City and the squad transformation into ‘Hughton’s Men’ rather than ‘some of Paul Lambert’s as well’.
With such uncertainty now feels like a good time to pay tribute to his efforts, rather than mull over the rights and wrongs of his eventual departure (it’s wrong in case you can’t guess where I stand).
Canaries supporters have been so privileged to witness a player in the mould of the Irishman during his 200-plus games at the club.
So few clubs are lucky enough to possess someone of his type, one whom can transform a game with one pass, then take your breath away with a piece of skill or stun with his guile and invention.
What has really impressed me about Wes during his time at the club is his ability to not only adapt his play, but resurrect himself when the chips are down.
Arriving at the club under Glenn Roeder he looked like a decent winger, who scored a few goals, but could not be relied upon to help out defensively.
It took just two games for Roeder to turn on him, and then when Lambert arrived he looked to be on his way out, put instantly on the transfer list.
On both occasions he forced his way back in to the team and, especially under Lambert, brought new elements into his game, namely defensive work, tackling and I think he even won the odd header.
I also know from a friend who used to work at the club, he is often regarded as the fittest of all our players, scoring top in the infamous bleep test.
Not that this is the reason why we’ve all enjoyed watching ‘Wessi’ over the last four years - it’s simply another factor that made him so good.
Hoolahan is the type of player who doesn’t come around too often.
The sort of player only a handful of teams can boast they have had the pleasure to call their own.
The sort of player who does something in a game that makes the cost of a ticket worth every penny.
Whatever the circumstances behind his departure, wherever he ends up, I just want to say thank you Wes - the pleasure has been all ours.
*It’s Declan Rudd by the way - currently on loan at Preston.
THIS IS A PREVIEW PIECE OF DAVID POWLES’ FORTNIGHTLY COLUMN WHICH WILL APPEAR IN THURSDAY’S EDP AND EVENING NEWS.