'I thought I'd milk it a little bit' - Wes dries his eyes to talk through his emotional exit
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
It was written all over his face, and no one cared. For a player who put so many smiles on Norwich City faces, Wes Hoolahan's tears were the fitting finalé.
That Hoolahan could also inspire his current crop of Canaries team-mates to a Carrow Road victory at the final attempt this season to dismiss Leeds, just added to a day and farewell that will live long in City memories.
The end of an era, and the last contribution of a true Norwich City legend.
“I was speaking to Simon Lappin the night before and he said make sure I milk it when I went off, and I said I was going to take about a day to come off the pitch!” said Hoolahan.
“It wasn’t quite that but yeah, it was the last time I was going to be playing here so I thought I’d milk it a little bit.
“It was very emotional. I got a big cuddle off Grant (Hanley) and that was very nice. I had a little tear in my eye and then the fans cheered me on, and it was an amazing feeling.
“I had to go back inside to calm myself down and relax, come back out and then cheer the boys on.
“That send off at the end will stick with me. Everybody coming up to me and saying well done, it was very emotional.
“It’s been a fantastic day. I said to the boys in the huddle if we don’t win then it doesn’t count, and fair play to them. They won their 50-50 battles, played brilliantly – especially in the second half, when they were really on it – and we deserved to win.
“It will be a wrench walking away because I’ve spent a decade here, met a lot of good friends and there are a lot of people I know here. My kids were born here. And you know what, after football I’ll probably end up coming back here.
“There were a few tears. It’s been an emotional week, getting lovely messages off people. It’s been pretty good and I just kept saying goodbye to everybody – 10 years here, it’s a long time and you get attached to people.”
Among those is joint-majority shareholder Delia Smith, who waited in the centre circle before kick-off for Hoolahan’s final arrival.
Hoolahan added: “Delia just said thanks for everything, it’s been a tremendous 10 years, you are a joy to watch and have a good game. It was great and fair play to (sporting director) Stuart (Webber) and the board for organising the guard of honour and giving me this day. I really appreciated it.”
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…