AUDIO: Grant Holt - Norwich City are ready to take step up to Premier League
Norwich City skipper Grant Holt cut a euphoric figure on the Fratton Park pitch last night as the Canaries partied all the way to the Premier League.
Simeon Jackson’s 50th-minute header topped 90 minutes of hard work, endeavour and no shortage of heart as City beat Portsmouth 1-0 – and took full advantage of Cardiff City’s shock 3-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough a couple of hours earlier, to secure second place in the Championship and historic back-to-back promotions.
“I don’t think you can (describe it),” said leading scorer Holt. “It’s unbelievable, the way it’s gone the last 18 months has been unbelievable. I’ve said it before but it’s an absolute pleasure to play with those boys and the desire to keep going is unbelievable, they’ve thrown things long and we have kept working and we have done it all year. We’ve seen a bit of the (Cardiff) game before and we knew what we had to do, and I thought they were unbelievable today. I think the way they have played all year has been fantastic and I don’t think it’s just about the way we play and how many we score, it’s just that we’ve been fantastic all year.”
The win and incredible scenes at the final whistle marked the Canaries’ return to the riches of the Premier League only 12 months after being crowned League One champions – and a ticket to be reunited with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal next season.
“I don’t think you can actually put it into words,” added Holt. “You can see when we were all coming off, and then walking around with Delia and everyone – you can see it means as much to them as it does to us. The unfortunate time here the club went down and this club was on the decline.
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“There’s no doubt about it, as a squad and the management staff, the players that have come in and battled with us, they’ve all been brilliant.
“I thought last season was some achievement but this ranks right up there.
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“The manager has got a bunch of lads in there who enjoy coming in, we hang around and see each other every day. And when you put that on the pitch – you see what Blackpool did with team spirit (by getting top flight promotion last season). No one would have ever dreamed they would have gone up.
“And no one talked about us going up, which was good for us. We went on a run and no one talked about it – and some of the football we played is ready to go up.”
Holt added: “We talked about Cardiff. It didn’t matter what they did today, we needed to win. What they did maybe took the edge off, but we also knew it put a little bit more pressure on us to win the game.
“It was the longest 50 minutes of my life in the end, but I thought the lads at the back were fantastic.”
Jackson struck in the 50th minute when he buried David Fox’s superb cross.
It was a ninth goal in seven matches for the striker, formerly of Rushden and Gillingham, who will now be lining up against Manchester United and Chelsea next season.
He said: “It’s been a magnificent effort by everyone.
“It’s not down to me, its down to everyone throughout the season. I cant believe we’ve done it.”