Canaries legends hail the desire of Daniel Farke's title chasing team of 2019
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Norwich City legends Wes Hoolahan and Russell Martin see similarities in Daniel Farke’s title chasers to the promotion winning team of 2011 that they both played such key roles in.
The former City duo are warming up for a celebration match at Carrow Road at the end of the season, when club legends will form Team Wes and Team Russ for a fund-raising game.
Ahead of that legends match, Hoolahan and Martin spoke to fans at a special Q&A session organised by Talk Norwich City, and spoke of their admiration for Farke’s team.
Irish playmaker Hoolahan, now at West Brom, said: “When we got promoted from League One and the Championship, the last 10 minutes of so many games we scored, and it’s been kind of the same here this year.
“They keep going and they get the goal for the winner or to get the draw.”
Martin, currently chasing promotion from League Two with MK Dons, continued: “That’s not just fitness is it, that’s desire, that’s a mentality, a belief that you’re going to win.
“The game against Swansea, they weren’t brilliant and Swansea probably played the best they had for a while, yet Norwich dust Swansea away 1-0 and that’s a real strength.”
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Both players covered a wide range of subjects during the Q&A, with Martin describing how a back injury had ruined his loan at Rangers and how his move to League One side Walsall didn’t work this season, after mutually agreeing to end his Norwich contract in August.
The former City skipper received a round of applause for his admission about the 4-0 thrashing at Millwall at the start of last season, which proved to be the last of his 309 appearances.
“That was by far and away the worst day of my career, personally, and not just my Norwich one, horrific,” Martin reflected.
“I got booed off on the 60-odd minute, whatever it was that I was taken off, I missed my train home and it was just a terrible day.
“I remember phoning my brother actually, he’d come to the game and he’d left early as well because he couldn’t take what I was getting any more, he just wanted to get out of there.
“So he was waiting for me after and he got the train so he was waiting for me and he just couldn’t deal with it any more, he was close to breaking. And I said ‘I think I’ve just played my last game’. And it’s really difficult because you don’t know, in football things can change really quickly but I just had that feeling – and it happened to be.
“Obviously I’d have loved to have finished on a better note – like Wesley here, who deserved it totally, 100 percent – but it’s what happened. I’m not bitter at all, I love the football club, I always will and what’s done is done.”
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Martin credited the added energy of the young players in City’s team for the upsurge being enjoyed, with both admitting the club had needed to go in a new direction after relegation from the Premier League in 2016.
Hoolahan, who scored 54 goals in 352 games, added: “It was probably time for a change and you’re probably seeing the benefits now. The gym and the facilities and everything was changing (at Colney), for the better, and obviously Stuart (Webber) has come in and done an excellent job. He’s changed the club, a great structure, young kids coming through.
“Obviously when we were playing we were playing Premier League, we had a lot of experienced players and when we got relegated it didn’t help that we lost a few players and couldn’t come back up. So it was the right time for Daniel to come in and for a fresh start.”
• The Team Wes v Team Russ legends game is being played at Carrow Road on the bank holiday Monday of May 6 (3pm kick-off), the day after City’s final game of the season.
Funds raised will go towards the Community Sports Foundation’s community hub, The Nest, near Norwich Airport as well as chosen charities of the Canaries legends.
Hoolahan’s has chosen Stepping Stones and Temple Street Hospital in Dublin,while Martin has chosen Crohns and Colitis UK and the Russell Martin Foundation.
During the TNC event the duo named some of the players who are hoping to feature including: Grant Holt, David Fox, Anthony Pilkington, Adam Drury, Simon Lappin and Alex Tettey.
Tickets are priced at £10 for adults, £5 for ages 16 to 18 and £1 for under-16s and can be purchased at canaries.co.uk, by calling 01603 721902 or by visiting the club’s ticket offices.
• Watch the full TNC Q&A at Youtube.com/TalkNorwichCity