Emotional celebration from Norwich City skipper Russell Martin against Reading was due to loss of club stalwart Peter Oldfield
PUBLISHED: 12:58 09 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:40 09 April 2017
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The release of emotion was clear for all to see as Norwich City skipper Russell Martin passionately celebrated his first league goal of the campaign.
The Canaries captain followed up Nelson Oliveira’s parried shot to turn home a snap shot which put his team 4-0 to the good in their 7-1 humiliation of Reading.
Having endured a rocky relationship with some fans this season, for some shaky performances on the pitch and brutal comments off it, Martin was clearly pumped to score – but there was an added emotion to the 31-year-old’s reaction.
“Obviously it’s nice to do it because we’ve all been in for criticism at some point, to show people that we still want to be here and play at this level, do well at this level, but mostly it was for Pete Oldfield’s family and for Pete really,” Martin said, following City’s staff member of over 40 years recently losing his battle against illness.
“He was an amazing character at the football club, been here a long time, we were all wearing black armbands and I saw his family in their box before the game as well and they asked for a goal and a performance and we gave them one.
“It meant a lot because he was a great guy and it’s those sort of people at the football club that the community is built on.
“I went to see him in hospital before I went away with Scotland and it was very clear he wasn’t very well. I was hoping to see him when I got back but it wasn’t to be, so I’m pleased we did that for him and his family.”
The win extended City’s home unbeaten streak to nine matches and was also a first win over a team in the current top seven.
“To be honest it could have been a lot more,” Martin added. “We’re disappointed to concede the goal we did but we could have scored a lot more. At half-time we talked about being professional and making sure we didn’t take liberties with it, making sure that we enjoyed the second half and turning it into the game that we wanted it to be, and we did.
“We could have come out and been open and tried little flicks and tricks, there was plenty of them but at the right time and in the right areas. So really, really pleased with the boys and for Alan (Irvine) because he needed a response, he wanted a response and we gave him one.”
The match also saw City legend Wes Hoolahan reach a notable landmark, when the Irishman’s second goal saw him clock up 50 goals for the club, as he closes on his testimonial season in 2017/18.
Martin has played alongside the skilful playmaker for seven years and was happy to sing the praises of the 34-year-old, as he has done on so many occasions.
“We haven’t had anyone else like him over the years,” the City skipper said. “Now we’ve got James Maddison and Alex Pritchard who are hot on his heels and trying to be a success and fighting for that but he’s still got plenty of life left in him has Wes.
“He’s never relied on blistering pace or anything like that, he’s just a brilliant footballer. He’s still got it, he has to look after his body a bit more than he used to but he’s important to us.
“When he plays well, we play well, more often than not. He’s disappointed he didn’t get another assist, he wants his 10th of the season, but he’s a great player.
“I’ve said it all before, he’s different to anyone I’ve ever played with and probably will, he’s just a natural footballer.”
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