The Recent Struggles of Grant Holt
When MOMS first saw reports of the Grant Holt to Villa rumour, we made a mental note to include it in the next Media Muppets column, that over the months has focused on ridiculous transfer rumours. Journalists have a thing about linking managers and their ex-players, but this player was over-weight, had dropped down a division and also at 32-years-old, seemingly past his best. Yes, there was some logic in getting a loan player to cover Libor Kozák’s injury, but Holt? It was a major surprise after the 2-1 Arsenal defeat to hear Lambert actually confirming in his post-match interview, he was making it happen and gleefully saying that Holt was a “proper man”.
To get a good insight into what has been happening with Grant Holt in the past year, we contacted our learned and trusted sources, Alan Moore @ Wigan supporter site This Northern Soul and Richard @ Norwich Site CarrowRoad.net to get their views and wisdom on Mr Holt. Many thanks to them.
The Wigan Holt Perspective
Ah, the enigma that is Grant Holt.
I think that, to a man, woman and child, Latics fans were excited at the prospect of seeing Grant in blue and white stripes. In the end, we’ve ended up wondering, if vertical stripes are supposed to be slimming, then just how much weight he must have actually put on over the summer?
Grant should probably have been the ‘missing link’ for a Latics team that had cried out for a goal-scorer for the previous four seasons. At 32, his star was clearly waning at the top level, but the step down should have been good for him and his, erm… robust style should have been suited to the Championship. Where it went wrong for Holt is a matter of debate, even the biggest optimist is now struggling to make any argument that it hasn’t actually gone wrong, or even that there’s any chance of things coming good for him at the DW.
He’s looked lethargic and lazy, he’s struggling to get chances and the few that he does get are spurned, he just doesn’t look very good. Given that he was linked with international honours not that long ago, the growing conclusion is that he can’t be bothered and there’s a ‘one last big pay-day’ stench about his place in our squad. That’s not to say there aren’t points to make in his defence.
Holt Under Coyle
Firstly, he’s not been utilised that well. Owen Coyle’s tactical stupidity quite often saw us playing with wingers on the wrong side whilst Holt was in the middle crying out for crosses. He’s not your typical hold-up man and I think 32 is too old to start trying to change a player’s style. Coyle seemed to want a Kevin Davies type playing up front, and that’s definitely not Grant Holt. Who knows, if Coyle was a better manager, then Holt’s time with us might have got off to a better start and we’d probably not be having this conversation.
Holt Under Rosler
The Rosler reign could have been good news for Grant, the German seems to have a better idea of how best to use him, but he’s clearly suffering from the lack of a ‘proper’ pre-season. The meticulously planned schedule put in place by the previous regime was the first thing that Owen Coyle disposed of when he arrived at the club, replaced by a Jolly Boys outing to the States. Fitness levels across the squad went downhill from there but, as anyone of a certain age will tell you, it becomes harder to turn such things around once you get into your prime. Holt’s problems might be rooted in the Coyle regime but the fact that they’ve continued are probably just down to him being old and out of shape and surely we can all empathise with that.
The Holt Elephant
There’s little doubt that Holt is getting fitter and it may well be that time would see him come good, but there’s an elephant in the room. No, his backside hasn’t got *that* big, but his wage packet might be. Owen Coyle had been given a certain amount of lee-way with the squad by Dave Whelan who had been blinded by the European campaign and the optimistic hopes of an immediate return to the Premier League. Holt may have taken a wage cut to come to Latics, but it’s almost certain that he’s getting closer to a Premier League salary than a Championship one. Any plans for recruitment that Rosler has are being hamstrung by the current squad and, given his ineffective start, Holt is an easy target to clear space, if not for a permanent signings then maybe for a couple of loans.
Not many Latics fans would mourn the passing of Grant Holt’s time with us, in fact parallels are already being drawn with Geoff Horsfield, another player who turned up for a pay packet, didn’t like it and then buggered off to the midlands. The replacement then was Jason Roberts. I know neither name will go down particularly well at Villa Park, but it’s arguable that Roberts, was the missing piece of Paul Jewell’s jigsaw, he certainly played a massive role in getting us promoted and keeping us in the top flight.
Only time will tell whether we will be so lucky again.
The Norwich Holt Perspective
Most Norwich fans will be in agreement over Holt, in that we did well to get £2m for a player who no longer wanted to be at the club and wanted to move back north to be closer to his wife and daughters who were living in Carlisle, that being said he remained a good pro behind the scenes from what everyone has heard.
Last season it seemed as though his legs might have gone slightly and he just didn’t quite have the pace to do what he had done so well for us the year before, also most teams and referees seemed to have his game plan worked out and knew how to combat him.
I think the telling fact is that he doesn’t seem to get that close to the Wigan team… when we benched him last season he had a bad habit of getting booked within five minutes of coming on for lunging in to bad tackles, we couldn’t quite work out why, the feeling was this came down to a bad attitude having been made to warm the bench.
All that being said, he gave his all for us while he was here, and without his goals we probably wouldn’t have got back to the premiership so fast so most Norwich fans wish him well, but all seemed to agree at the end of last season that the deal we got from Wigan was a good one.
Thanks again to Alan and Richard for their input. What do you think about this signing? Crazy or inspired? Please comment below.