Only in Norwich – Wes so chuffed for Russ to get his big Norwich City send-off
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Wes Hoolahan had already enjoyed an emotional farewell to Norwich City – so this time, it was all about having a good time.
The Canaries favourite - now a member of the current West Brom squad preparing for the Championship play-offs - showed he's still got plenty about him in front of almost 20,000 fans inside Carrow Road, as Team Wes ran out comfortable winners over Team Russ.
But Hoolahan was just glad the occasion lived up to its billing, giving Russell Martin his own well-deserved chance to say goodbye, as well as offering another venue for the Canaries' continuing Championship title celebrations.
"To have so many people at a charity game and support mine and Russ' causes is amazing," said Hoolahan. "The support you get from the people of Norwich is brilliant. No doubt getting promoted helped and it was a fantastic atmosphere - I don't think you'd probably get 20,000 to watch a charity game anywhere else in the league.
"I wasn't as emotional this time - I got all that out of my system last year! I was just here to have a good time and Russ got the send off he deserved.
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"It was brilliant for him and especially all the lads that came, and they all hold an affection for the club. Everybody comes back, it's an important city and everybody loves it here."
Despite the banter, there was no chance the game was going to avoid carrying a competitive edge.
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"Upstairs we were all having a yap - and Hucks was in the corner not talking to anybody, getting psyched up ready for the game!" said Hoolahan. "It's brilliant because he wanted to win, to do well and score goals - and fair play to all the lads. They put a good shift in. I wanted it to be an entertaining game with loads of goals, and I think we got that."
Those were fitting sentiments given the season Hoolahan and Martin's former club has enjoyed, romping home to the Championship title.
"They've been brilliant," added Hoolahan. "I've come and watched them a few times with my little boy and they were the best team in the league, and they proved it. They came top, they are a joy to watch and they're clinical when they get in front. It's brilliant for the city as well - the fans always stick by them and it's an amazing achievement.
"I think when Daniel Farke came in and a lot of new players came in, people were thinking it needed to happen straight away - but it takes time to gel new players; a lot of senior players left and stuff like that.
"But it's brilliant that in a year and a half, we get promoted in that spell under Daniel."
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