Wes Hoolahan has admitted that it is going to be an emotional afternoon, as the former Republic of Ireland international prepares to bring down the curtain on his ten-year stay at Norwich City.
Hoolahan, 35, will skipper the side against Leeds United in what will be his 352nd and final appearance for the club ten years after arriving in a £250,000 deal from Blackpool.
He said: “I really appreciate the fans. I’ve had such a great connection with them. I’ve had an amazing ten years.
“The boys have put a lot of pictures around the dressing room. It’s been great.
“It’s been a surreal week. It’s been very emotional. I’ve got a lot of messages. I’m looking forward to the game.
“I’ve got 40 friends and family coming so we are going to be cooking some big fry ups Sunday!
“I’ve got a mate coming who is going to stick 10 Irish flags around the stadium.
“This club means the world to me. It’s been amazing. When I finish football, I’ll come back here and cheer the team on week-in, week-out from the stands.
“Norwich is a wonderful place. It’s a great club. Every week you have 27,000 fans. Everyone in the city is so nice.”
As for his future that can wait a while. He added: “I’m looking forward to a first summer off in a long time with my family. I can’t wait to do some sunbathing!
“I’d love to come back to the club one day, whether as a coach or as a scout or something else.
“I just want to say ‘thanks very much’ because it’s been an amazing ten years.”
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Hoolahan has some top class memories to take with him and he said: “Against Ipswich in the play-offs, scoring the penalty, you could heard the fans everywhere. It was a great moment.
“Getting to the Premier League under Paul Lambert was big. Then, the Wembley play-off final, you can’t beat that. It was a great day.”
Norwich manager Daniel Farke has paid a rich tribute to Hoolahan and he said: “Carrow Road is Wes’s living room. He wants to finish there, not at Sheffield Wednesday (in the final game of the season). We respect that.
“When Wes speaks, everyone listens. He’s been so good for our young players.
“The players want the perfect game for Wes. They are very motivated. Wes has been a role model, on and off the pitch.
“It’s totally deserved that this week we have been talking mostly about Wes Hoolahan. It’s the right thing to do.
“It’s important to identify with a club and Wes has proven that to have such a relationship is still possible in modern football.
“I feel honoured to have been his coach for the past 12 months.
“He has so much passion, emotion and dedication. He has created some magic moments. There’s a deep relationship between the club and Wes.
“Wes Hoolahan is a big legend at this club. It’s outstanding to be at a club for ten years. We are thankful for this.”
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