Time to pull together in positive thought for Holt

You know last week when I made a soppy, somewhat forlorn, even considering that we’d all seen the evidence, appeal to the heavens for the swift healing of Wes Hoolahan’s damaged hamstring muscle?

Well, guess what?

I’m doing it again!

When Wes grabbed the back of his thigh muscle meaning an inevitable hamstring injury, I said at the time that my heart sank. Just as it did on Tuesday night at Vicarage Road when Grant Holt hit that shot towards goal which nearly deflected into the net off a defender’s leg and then reacted in exactly the same manner.

To his eternal credit, and with all three substitutions already having been made, Holt refused to come off the pitch, despite hardly being able to move.

He was constantly clutching his hamstring and clearly in pain. Now how many players would do that instead of instantly hobbling off the pitch for immediate medical treatment … and tough luck on the 10 men?

But of more pressing concern was exactly just how bad the injury was.

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A few people threw just a chink of light on the depressingly worrying situation afterwards when they said that the reason Holt felt that he could stay on the pitch might just be because he was suffering from a bad dose of cramp to his hamstring muscle.

Of course that could be a possible explanation.

But it was hard to tell given that Holt wasn’t going to come off the pitch anyway, no matter whether he was suffering from cramp or if his leg was hanging off.

We can only hope.

Because the nightmare scenario of Hoolahan and Holt both being unavailable for duty at such an important time in the club’s history doesn’t even bear contemplation.

Get your prayer mats out, everyone.


I had a brief chat with Malky Mackay after the game in midweek.

He’d stealthily made his way up the ladder to the temporary TV gantry that we were stationed at to do an interview, and when I suddenly felt a slap on the side of my head and angrily turned around to see what the hell was going on, it was the Watford manager broadly smiling back at me.

He’s a great guy is Malky. Always has a good word to say about the people and his time here at Norwich, and ever respectful and humble.

And I’m delighted for him that he’s done such a great job at Watford. He deserves it. He’s worked as hard as he always did as a player and it reflects in the way his team play for him.

Good on him.

But of course I wasn’t going to let him get away with his sneaky slap though, but wisely decided on a verbal rather than physical attack in retaliation.

I waited until he went back down to pitchside — directly underneath me. And then I hurt him bad.

Because having seen him pamper himself for hour on hour after training every day when we were team-mates, and all the creams, lotions and potions he’d use and particularly the amount of fiddling he’d do to his barnet until he was happy that every single hair was perfectly in position, I know what a big girl he really is.

And the bird’s eye view I now enjoyed afforded me a good look at what can only be described as a rapidly expanding circle of emptiness in the middle of the Mackay crown

“Oi, Malky,” I shouted leaning over the gantry, “You do know that you’re going bald, don’t you?”

I don’t know what he said in reply. He was speaking too quickly and I couldn’t understand his accent.


Five games left, 15 points to play for. Let’s look at what’s needed.

Here’s my take.

Looking at the remaining fixtures of all the teams in with a possible shout of joining champions-elect QPR in the Premier League next season, I’m sticking with my prediction of 82 points as being the magic number.

I can’t see Swansea or Reading — as good as their recent run of form has been — getting to 82 points.

Cardiff are the danger. They have the easiest run-in for my money, even accounting for their home clash with Neil Warnock’s men, and are quite capable of adding another 10 points to their current total of 72 points. Which means that City might need to secure four wins from these last five games.

But like I said after the Watford game in midweek, if the Canaries can continue to play with the same amounts of passion, desire, determination and conviction as they did at Vicarage Road — particularly in the second half, and in all fairness the same as they’ve produced all season — there’s still every reason to believe that they can achieve their dreams.


It’s never nice when the phone rings early in the morning at silly o’clock.

You immediately know that something’s up.

Well, at 7am last Saturday morning, in my case it was to learn that Chris Goreham had failed a fitness test and was too ill to make the trip to Swansea.

“Ok, so who will I be sitting alongside today then?” I naively inquired. “Oh... Erm... Well, we’ve tried, but I’m afraid that it really is too late to arrange a replacement for him,” came the reply I hadn’t expected at all.

Of course it meant that yours truly was the only alternative if BBC Radio Norfolk was to be able to provide a service for the listeners last Saturday.

Now then. The sum total of my commentating experience up to this point — and by which I mean, actually calling the game ball by ball, kick by kick as lead commentator — amounted to three minutes I think.

A brief period one year when the dearly-missed Roy Waller suddenly took his headphones off and put his microphone down to try to cure a fit of coughing and spluttering and basically stop himself from choking.

I had no choice but to fill in for him there and then. Otherwise there would have been total silence down the air waves.

So off I set to Swansea. Alone. Just a short 5� hour hop to South Wales. With 90 minutes of arguably the biggest game of City’s season to try to call accurately and competently.

After they had stopped laughing themselves silly when they learned of my predicament when I arrived at the Liberty Stadium, Iwan Roberts and his crew from BBC Wales helped me set up all the equipment.

And, to my eternal gratitude, James Ponting, also from BBC Wales, agreed to act as my summariser, just to give me an occasional breather and fill the gaps between breaks in play that would otherwise seem like an eternity if you had to try to ramble on throughout them alone.

Apparently I’m told that I didn’t do a bad job, and I have to admit it was more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

But I don’t think Motty, Martin Tyler, Clive Tyldesley et al need lose any sleep. Or Chris Goreham for that matter.

I was more than happy to hand the microphone back on Tuesday night!