Our columnists pick their favourite Wes Hoolahan magic moment
Wes Hoolahan will make his 352nd and final appearance for City on Saturday. Our columnists pick their favourite piece of magic from 'The Irish Messi'
Saturday will mark the end of an era for Norwich City as Wes Hoolahan dons the club’s colours for the last time.
There have been so many to choose from but, after much deliberation, our columnists managed to pin down their favourite Hoolahan moment.
Norwich City 2 Charlton Athletic 2 - September 19, 2009
Wes arrived in June 2008 with big boots to fill; a new hero to help assuage the desperate fall-out of Darren Huckerby’s thankless exit – and 15 months in, Hoolahan had been injured, out of form, criticised by the man who signed him, relegated and touted to other clubs by Paul Lambert.
Then after a September defeat at MK Dons, came the spark.
Wes was not only handed his first league start against Charlton under Lambert at home to a side relegated with them. It was his first real chance to shine centrally – and the spotlight couldn’t have been brighter.
Hoolahan equalised on the stroke of half-time. Grant Holt did likewise 45 minutes later. Late goals, never say die, Holt and Hoolahan.
Wes had scored 13 by Boxing day and City were flying.
That goal not only kick-started one of the greatest spells in Canaries’ history. It set one of its favourite sons on a path to City folklore.
Norwich City 3 Ipswich Town 1 - May 16, 2015
There are so many fabulous moments of Wes’ mastery, trickery and magic to pick from over the last decade.
I’m going for the little maestro’s penalty in the play-off semi final against the Tractor Boys in 2015.
The tie was evenly poised after a draw in the first leg and stalemate in the first half at NR1.
As minutes ticked on, I feared that somehow the Blues could finally get one over us.
The spot kick was a pivotal moment and Wessi was cool, calm and masterful as he stroked home and sent Carra wild.
The fist pump picture as he celebrated in front of the Barclay has become iconic and the goal laid the foundation for one of the best days of my City supporting life.
Winning at Wembley and being with my Mum and son at the home of football was unforgettable.
Thanks Wes, we’ll miss you so much.
Republic of Ireland 1 Sweden 1 - June 13, 2016
Considering Wes created so many magic moments in City colours it’s tough to choose just one. Therefore, I’m picking one from when he was wearing his national colours.
June 13, 2016, will always be the day the world woke up to what we all already knew.
In a game when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was captaining the opposition, there was one name on everyone’s lips at full time: Wes Hoolahan.
I remember hearing commentary of his sublime volley and yelped as if it was our goal.
I always feel such unbridled joy when a City player scores for their country – I feel a sense of ownership which gives me great satisfaction.
For me, that Euros will always be his tournament. The cross for Robbie Brady in the dying moments against Italy was particularly stunning because moments earlier he fluffed his lines with his own chance. Others would have disappeared – not our Wes.
MORE: Do foreign fields beckon for Hoolahan?
Norwich City 1 Preston North End 1 - March 5, 2011
It’s 5th March and City have drawn level against Preston at Carrow Road when they get a penalty 15 minutes from time.
City needed to win to keep the pressure on leaders QPR so three points were vital and up stepped Wes. Would he send the keeper the wrong way or go for power?
In fact, he attempted to gently dink it over him and succeeded only in chipping it tamely into his arms as 26,000 people groaned.
Of course, his career is littered with brilliance, but that incident summed Wes up for me; mercurial, unpredictable and happy to march to the beat of his own drum rather than conform to the strictures of the coaching manual. He could be infuriating but he could also win games on his own and we have been blessed to enjoy him for 10 years. He is truly a City legend.
Norwich 4 Ipswich 1 – November 28, 2010
The icing, cherry, chocolate sprinkles, cream and syrup were all delicately placed on a yellow and green cake by every City fan’s famous Irishman at Carrow Road during a delicious defeat of the Canaries’ bitter rivals.
Grant Holt – moustache and all – had bullied and blasted Norwich ahead twice to lead 2-1 going into the break, in front of the watching millions during a match televised live on BBC One.
The Tractor Boys were also down to 10 men and Paul Lambert’s team finished the job, with Wes at the heart of the success.
Hoolahan’s wonderful touch to control a Henri Lansbury cross firstly allowed Chris Martin to shimmy and tee up Holt for his hat-trick goal in front of the Barclay in the 76th minute.
Then less than two minutes later he put Town to the sword in typical Wes style, with a drop of the shoulder to the left of the six-yard box confusing the visiting defence and keeper Marton Fulop, before lifting a delightful chip into the net to spark the victory party.
He may have frustrated and lost the ball at times but Hoolahan was capable of moments of magic that most players can only dream of.