Sporting director role ends as City legend is linked to managerial return

Norwich First Team Coach Gary Holt and Norwich Manager Alex Neil during the Barclays Premier League

Gary Holt on the sidelines for Norwich City during the 2015-16 Premier League campaign - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City legend Gary Holt has left his role as sporting director of Falkirk, amid speculation he’s returning to management with another Scottish club. 

The 48-year-old is being linked with the managerial vacancy at Championship side Kilmarnock, his hometown club where he made almost 200 appearances as a player – getting the club crest tattooed on his left calf after their 1997 Scottish Cup triumph. 

Having started out as a chef in the British Army, Holt had trainee spells at Celtic and Stoke City, then joined Norwich for £135,000 in 2001 after six years at Killie had earned him Scotland caps. 

The touch-tackling midfielder was known as ‘three lungs’ for his hard work and scored three goals in 182 games for City, playing a key part in the Nigel Worthington teams that reached the 2002 play-off final and won the second-tier title two years later. 

After spells with Nottingham Forest and Wycombe Wanderers, Holt played locally for Lowestoft Town and started coaching academy youngsters at Norwich. 

After assisting Neil Adams as the under-18s won the FA Youth Cup in 2013, he became manager at Falkirk and led the Bairns to third in the Scottish Championship. 

He returned to Norfolk in 2014 though after Adams had taken over the first team at City and then remained as part of Alex Neil’s coaching staff, reaching a mutual agreement to leave in the summer of 2016 after relegation from the Premier League to pursue a return to management. 

That arrived at Livingston at the start of 2018-19 and after finishing ninth in his first season, a fifth-place finish in 2020 earned a nomination for the Scottish Football Writers' Association manager of the season award. 

A disappointing start to the next campaign led to Holt resigning in November 2020 but a couple of months later he arrived as sporting director at Falkirk, citing a chat with Canaries chief Stuart Webber as he had assessed his options. 

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Having sat top of League One for much of the season, joint head coaches David McCracken and Lee Miller were sacked after a downturn in form, with Holt taking charge of the team for the final four games but being unable to halt a slide to fifth place. 

Aberdeen Under-20s boss Paul Sheerin was the new head coach Holt turned to but the former Arbroath boss was dismissed at the start of last month after a 6-0 loss at Queen’s Park left Falkirk fifth and nine points adrift of top spot. 

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Gary Holt in Premier League action for Norwich City in 2005, tracking Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - Credit: James Bass/Archant library

Much-travelled Scottish coach Martin Rennie, who has spent his career in the USA, Canada and South Korea, was appointed on December 10 and former Scotland striker Kenny Miller arrived as his assistant a week later.  

Holt’s exit as sporting director was confirmed today, as Rennie assumed his duties, with The Herald reporting speculation that he could now return to Kilmarnock to fill the managerial vacancy - who sit fourth in the Championship and five points adrift of leaders Arbroath.

A statement on Falkirk’s website says: “We’d like to thank Gary for all his hard work over the past year and wish him every success in his future career.” 

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