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Daniel Brigham

Goodbye Grant Holt - Pinkun blog

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The back of Grant Holt’s Norwich shirt on May 7, 2011 said it all. ‘From Unibond Prem to the real Prem. Wow’. He

was on the Carrow Road pitch with his children celebrating Norwich’s

scarcely believable promotion. His 21 goals had thrust Norwich out of

the Championship at the first time of asking. He was basking in rare

glory.Back then, the message on his shirt – rounded off with a

little smiley face emoticon – was a charming nod to a euphoric rise.

Just eight words to encapsulate one of English football’s greatest

stories. Today, two years on, it has collected a poignancy. Grant Holt

is no longer a Premier League player. But he should always remain a

Premier League hero.We are in an era when elite sportsmen appear

more and more Hollywood, a distant, privileged, untouchable race of

people. Holt was human. You could relate to him, you could aspire to be

him, you could imagine having a beer with him, picture him in the

stands. There aren’t many like him left. Only Andrew Flintoff and

Bradley Wiggins spring easily to mind from the last five years:

sportsmen who are one of us. There were no clothing lines for

him, no sponsoring overpriced watches, no owning a nightclub. Instead he

started up a greyhound racing club, a move so unfashionable that it

added perfectly to the cult of Holt as a man of the people. He was

anti-Rio Ferdinand, anti-Lewis Hamilton, anti-Kevin Pietersen and all

the more likeable for it. We were privileged to have him at

Norwich. And, let''s face it, us City fans have always been a bit

defensive, a bit parochial. Holt gave us an excuse to revel in it and

boy did we take the opportunity. Others scoffed at this hulking chunk of

a footballer. They said he was a throwback. That he was slow. A bully.

An oaf. They were wrong.There were of course times when Holt

looked like his arms and legs had been swapped around so bad was his

control, but it was rare. The truth is he had – has – good feet. His

football brain is sharp, as showcased by his clever overhead kick

against Chelsea, his movement to win the headed equaliser against

Liverpool, his deft touch and then awareness to lob the ball over Wolves

keeper Wayne Hennessey and then nod it in. On the pitch he

created a gladiatorial atmosphere, opposition fans first mocking, then

braying and finally despairing as this man they believed to be a misfit

of a footballer would not only batter defenders but also, crucially,

outsmart them.Off the pitch he cursed his public image and

believed it cost him an England place. But he can have few complaints

about that image as he first cultivated it and then played up to it,

winding up opposition fans, charging into challenges, arguing with

referees, falling over too easily. He knew what people expected of him,

and he rarely failed to deliver.But goalscoring always came

first, until last season, when he lost the spark with some of the fans.

He sulked. He moaned. He became a parody of himself, slowly turning into

the kind of player his mockers always said he was. His touch would

often dessert him, his tackling became malicious rather than passionate.

He let himself down, because he was better than that, as he finally

showed in his ferocious and tenacious displays in the last two games of

last season.  Who knows the real reasons for last season’s

decline. There was a clearly a lot of family upheaval, and that’s a lot

for anyone to deal with. He didn’t like the system Chris Hughton

employed. The romance died with Paul Lambert’s departure. It

matters not, now. We will only remember the good times. The 78 goals.

The promotions. The giant killings. The Ipswich hat-trick. Particularly,

I will remember him making John Terry look as athletic as a haystack.

In truth, he made supporting Norwich City fun again. The Holt story doesn’t end here, though. From the Unibond Prem to the real Prem, and now to Europe. Best of luck to him.

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[quote user="Daniel Brigham"]


But goalscoring always came first, until last season, when he lost the spark with some of the fans. He sulked. He moaned. He became a parody of himself, slowly turning into the kind of player his mockers always said he was. His touch would often dessert him, his tackling became malicious rather than passionate. He let himself down, because he was better than that, as he finally showed in his ferocious and tenacious displays in the last two games of last season.  

[/quote]

 

Sorry, but that is crap.

 

When he scores goals he is ferocious and tenacious, when he doesn''t he''s malicious and a parody of himself? He always gave 100%, he never let himself down, he never let the club down. "Red-card waiting to happen" we kept hearing, "should have gone against Sunderland" etc etc - at that point of the season, people were wetting their pants left, right and centre and were finding ANYTHING to moan about - even to the point where some were advocating leaving Holt out of the squad because he was a "liability".

 

Thank god Chris Hughton picks the team.

 

Had Hughton thought Holt was a risk, had Hughton thought he was malicious, he (Holt) would never have gotten the opportunity to put in those tenacious, ferocious end of season performances that so beautifully represented what he was about.

 

Captain. Leader. Legend.

 

 

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Thanks for the kind messages. Warren. Were you at the home game against Swansea when he came on? He was out of control, both in mind and in touch.

In his seven appearances before the last game of the season Holt was yellow carded five times, with no goals. He then scored in each of his last three games, with no yellow cards.

So I don''t think that is crap.

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From the moment I learned Holt had left I had been looking for a thread for my general outpouring of grief and a place to pass on my thanks to Grant and everything he has done for the club. Excellent post and a fitting place for me to simply say - Thank you Grant Holt. Gutted to see you go, but understand that this is a good move for you, and if it is what you want then you have earned it. I will continue to follow you and champion you. You are a true club legend. Thank you for helping us fall in love with Norwich City and football again after the heartache. Thanks for the memories!

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[quote user="Daniel Brigham"]Thanks for the kind messages. Warren. Were you at the home game against Swansea when he came on? He was out of control, both in mind and in touch. In his seven appearances before the last game of the season Holt was yellow carded five times, with no goals. He then scored in each of his last three games, with no yellow cards. So I don''t think that is crap.[/quote]

 

Also Sunderland away, a heavy touch resulting into a two-footed lunge into Mignolet''s head . Could have easily resulted in Norwich going down to 9 players. More often than not when Holt came off the bench last season he was reckless - I think this was the deciding factor into him being allowed to move clubs.

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Yes Daniel, I was at the game and I think it''s crap. Our opinions differ, fine. I don''t have your psychic abilities so I have no idea whether he was in control of his mind or not.

I knew what I said wouldn''t be universally agreed with, much like you knew when you wrote what you did that it was the popular theory at the time.

He never got sent off in this "reckless, malicious" period, he got booked a few times. You guys will probably put that down to luck, just like all the penalties that the Doc used to give away that the ref didnt spot.

Holt doesn''t like being on the bench, that much was evident by how eager he was whenever he came on. To say he was malicious infers he was out to hurt people and, in my opinion, that was never the case.

He always gave 100% and he never let himself or the club down. That''s my opinion and I''m happy with it. If you want to run down his professionalism and his attitude, fine, but I don''t think you''re right and I think doing so is a disservice to a legend.

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Fair enough Warren, I''m keen to just remember the good times anyway.

Jan van Chopsburg - ha, I''m going 3-1 England. Starc and Pattinson have enough talent to win Australia a Test, but the Aussie batting is weak. And (plug alert) you can check out more predictions here: http://www.thecricketer.com/default.aspx?pageid=1144&topicid=41185

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Daniel - do you think this is a real opportunity for us to turn the screw against the Aussies though? I agree with what you say about Starc but this must be our best chance to whitewash them in, well, I don''t know how many years. They''re so powder puff with the bat...?

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Great read that, thanks. 

 

I will always be grateful for the part Grant Holt has played in the history of our fine club, so thanks Holty, and best of luck.

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Warren - my natural disposition with England is to be cynical, especially in the Ashes, so I think a whitewash is just beyond England! England''s batting has been brittle since they lost 3-0 against Pakistan so I''m not sure we''ll consistently score big enough runs needed for a whitewash.

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Some great posts on this thread.My biggest tribute to Holty is that I knew that whenever I travelled with the rest of the Yellow Army to an away game - be it League One, Championship or the Premier League, he would ALWAYS try his best. He might not always have his best game but I used to arrive at away grounds knowing he would give his all for the shirt.And that''s all we really want. 100% effort every single game.

Best of luck in the future Holty.WFL GH.

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[quote user="Daniel Brigham"]Fair enough Warren, I''m keen to just remember the good times anyway.

Jan van Chopsburg - ha, I''m going 3-1 England. Starc and Pattinson have enough talent to win Australia a Test, but the Aussie batting is weak.

[/quote]

 

At last! A discussion on a sport that matters...[;)]

 

My Australian friends would - through gritted teeth - agree about their batting, but ours - although stronger on paper - has shown signs of fragility as well, and we don''t seem to bat as far down the order as we did a few years ago.  I can see us losing 20 wickets.

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I can''t wait until he brings out an autobiography. I''d be the first in line to have a read of it. It''d be so much more informative than some of these prima donnas that had everything handed to them on a plate.

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Purple - Bell and Trott have been scarred by the 3-0 loss against Pakistan. Bell in particular hasn''t been the same batsman since.

Can definitely see Grant Holt as a trundling medium-pacer and a lusty No.8 batsman.

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A great read that sums it up really well. He''ll be missed, but it is prob'' the right time and will always be remembered fondly by us fans.

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[quote user="Daniel Brigham"]Purple - Bell and Trott have been scarred by the 3-0 loss against Pakistan. Bell in particular hasn''t been the same batsman since.

Can definitely see Grant Holt as a trundling medium-pacer and a lusty No.8 batsman.[/quote]The Flintoff/Holt comparison is apt.  I think part of it is that they seem so "normal" and give hope to us "normals" that it could have been us too (I still maintain that when I watch cricketers or footballers playing I am an aspiring 10 year old again and they are the adults, even though I''d have retired from both sports by now unless I was a goalkeeper).As for tomorrow...CookRootTrottPietersenBell?PriorBroadSwann?Anderson

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[quote user="Daniel Brigham"]Purple - Bell and Trott have been scarred by the 3-0 loss against Pakistan. Bell in particular hasn''t been the same batsman since.

Can definitely see Grant Holt as a trundling medium-pacer and a lusty No.8 batsman.[/quote]

I watched Holt play cricket once.

He bowled like Curtly Ambrose, fielded like Jonty Rhodes and made Tendulkar look average with the bat.

Pace, athleticism and elegance.

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