Aside from recently spanking Brentford, Norwich have been lacking a certain something of late. Jon Punt might just have stumbled upon what it is while being ridiculously juvenile....
Recently it was 6 years to the day Grant Holt scored 3 goals against the scum and a City legend was born. Super Grant Holt, Norwich's Number 9 deservedly elevated himself into Canary folklore forever in the middle of an amazing journey to the Premier League and talk of an England call up was testament to how far the man and the club itself had come.
His 2012 induction into the club’s Hall of Fame was a fitting tribute to the part he played in a remarkable transformation at the club. McNally and Lambert were of course key, but as captain, Holt did more than anyone among the playing staff to first create, then maintain, the relentless kind of momentum that would restore Norwich to the top flight. And all of this happened just 14 months after entertaining the mighty Yeovil in a league fixture at Carrow Road.
The fact he's been gone for well over 3 years and still supporters clamour for a player of his ilk is slightly annoying, but no coincidence. The thing is, as much as WFLGH bellowed around the stands, I could never warm to the guy as a person. There was always a part of me that knew what he was up to. Maybe it's the fact had I come up against him on the field of play I'd have wanted to stick him up in the air, trying to simultaneously knock the arrogance out of the lad. Maybe it was his theatric dives at the sign of a featherlight touch to the back. Or maybe it's just the fact he was a bit of a dick. I know, I know, I just called a club legend a dick, but stay with me here.
The wonderful thing was, he was our dick, the king dick. And we wouldn’t have swapped him with anyone else’s dick for all the money in the world. However, put yourself in the opposite corner for a moment. Gareth McAuley’s hilarious own goal at Portman Road (the one when we beat them 5-1, there have been a few) caused Holt to celebrate with a cheeky giggle to himself in front of the helpless home fans and inevitable empty blue seats. It was beautifully antagonistic and a moment City fans will never forget, but can you imagine an opposition player having the audacity to do that in front of the Barclay? From where I sit in Block E, it’s highly likely I would be able to shower in the inevitable amount of saliva and venom that would have spewed forward from people’s mouths. In short, had Holt have played for Ipswich, Leeds, Wolves, or whoever else we decide mildly annoys us because of petty rivalries, we would have HATED him.
Holt’s irritating traits aside, its an inescapable fact every great team needs a dick, and some lacklustre outfits have been fortunate enough along the years to enjoy their dicks too.
Robbie Savage stands out as the most noteworthy example, a man moulded by the gods purely to be called four letter expletives, but a talented and clever footballer nonetheless. A floppy haired arse of a man, he was the archetypal player opposition fans loved to hate, yet if he was in your corner, if he pulled on YOUR team's colours you'd celebrate him come what may. As an outsider looking in it was obvious his levels of fuckwittery were almost at Piers Morgan levels, yet he could often influence a game not just by conning a referee.
Mr Barton springs to mind instantly too. Joey’s overly aggressive tomfoolery, betting scandals and ridiculous social media meltdowns may have seem him despised by most, but ask Burnley or QPR supporters about his strengths and they’ll bore you for hours.
Our very own Craig Bellamy is another case in point, his petulance and arrogance added to the gifts he was naturally given. Being a dick made him better, and as a result the team benefited too. Luis Suarez remains a complete tool even if you take away the fact he was a little bit bitey, yet in any other era he’d be a Ballon D’or candidate. Had Roy Keane not been a complete spunktrumpet it’s highly plausible he’d have lost that edge which made him an Old Trafford great. The list is almost endless and each football fan will have their own unique ‘hate’ list. But whatever you want to say about them, it’s better to have a dick in your team than not, and looking at Norwich 2016/17 I just can’t see one dick standing tall at the moment.
For what it’s worth, having listened to Holt in close quarters since his Norwich career ended its apparent he probably wasn’t that much of a dick all along. He speaks eloquently and passionately about his time at the club, coming across as a genuine and grounded bloke. It’s probable his on-field persona we loved so much was all an act to give him that extra 10 percent. So I’m sorry for what I said Grant, you’re possibly not a dick after all. But you seemed a dick, while you were simultaneously amazing for us, and we have missed more than you know.
The point however is this, as much as Norwich are well stacked in the Balls department right now, we're crying out for a solid dick to save our season. The current squad is just, well, too flaccid. Anyone got David Nugent's (insert better name here…) phone number?
You can follow Jon on Twitter @puntino