Gary ‘Three Lungs’ Holt was a man for all seasons at Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:04 20 March 2020

Play-of semi-final delight against Wolves for Gary Holt and, left, kitman Terry Postle and coach Steve Foley Picture: Archant

Play-of semi-final delight against Wolves for Gary Holt and, left, kitman Terry Postle and coach Steve Foley Picture: Archant

It may have been that mythical third lung, but Gary Holt was regarded as one of Norwich City’s bargain purchases.

Gary Holt's Kilmarnock tattoo 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdGary Holt's Kilmarnock tattoo Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Just £135,000 changed hands when the former Army chef left Kilmarnock to sign for City on this day, March 20, in 2001.

His Scotland international manager at the time, Craig Brown, described him as a “real up and at ’em player”.

“He reminds me very much of (former Celtic and Canaries midfielder) Peter Grant – Peter Grant when he had the legs that is. He’s very positive, fearless, aggressive. And if you give him a specific job to do for you, he’ll do it. He might need to change the tattoo though!”

The tattoo reference referred to the Kilmarnock crest which he wore with pride on one of his legs.

Gary Holt during an autograph signing Picture: ArchantGary Holt during an autograph signing Picture: Archant

But Holt never let down Norwich City – arguably, he never got the credit he deserved. Holt was the destroyer, patrolling the strip of land in front of his defence, determined not to let the opposition make contact with the last line of defence.

He was a player’s player. And a good bloke with it. Interview him and he’d tower over you - close up he seemed a lot taller. And his face got really close: it meant interviewers knew just as well as opponents how imposing he could be.

Rumour has it that coach Steve Foley nicknamed him Three Lungs, and it was a perfect sobriquet.

Holt even managed to get through the 2002 play-off final at the Millennium Stadium despite playing the latter stages with a leg injury or, as told to me at the time, “a hole in his foot”.

Gary Holt getting a hug from the boss Picture: ArchantGary Holt getting a hug from the boss Picture: Archant

Holt left Carrow Road in 2005 after 182 appearances and three goals. In 2002 he received the ultimate accolade, named Norwich City Player of the Year.

Worthington said: “The £135,000 we spent on Gary Holt is probably one of the best value for money signings this club has made in recent years, I would like to thank Gary very much for his contribution to Norwich City and wish him the very best for the future.”

Holt did return, as a coach, having had management success at, in June 2014 but left two years later by mutual consent.

“I’ve had some great and memorable times at Norwich City both as a player and as a member of the coaching staff,” said Holt, now head coach at Livingston. “Now the time is right for me to seek a fresh challenge as a head coach or manager and I want to thank everyone at the club and the fans for their support for me over the years.”

Gary Holt, back at Norwich as part of the coaching team along with manager Neil Adams, left, and fellow coach Mark Robson Picture: Denise BradleyGary Holt, back at Norwich as part of the coaching team along with manager Neil Adams, left, and fellow coach Mark Robson Picture: Denise Bradley

Who’s your favourite Norwich City cult hero? Let us know and we’ll try and dig out some nice photos and words! Email norfolksport@archant.co.uk

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