Sunday, 17 April 2011
342 Grant Holt
Position : Forward
Played : 2003-04 to 2005-06
Appearances : 75
Goals : 35
Grant was signed in January from Sheffield Wednesday for an undisclosed fee (see below). He was something of a slow starter, first appearing for Workington in 1999 then an undistinguished spell at Halifax from where he went to Barrow on loan in 2001. After a brief time in Singapore with Sengkang Marine he signed for Barrow permanently and the goals started flowing, 35 in 69 appearances. In March 2003 Grant returned to league football with Sheffield Wednesday but didn't cement a first team place scoring 3 goals in 24 appearances , half of them as a substitute.
Grant's signing on a two and a half year contract angered me not because I thought Grant was a poor player but because it was so obvious the financial goalposts had been moved for Parkin. He wasn't going to have to muddle through with trialists and loanees like Buckley. No wonder the Board didn't want the fee known. OK, the ability to screw money out of the Board is a useful talent in a manager but it still left a bad taste in the mouth.
Grant made a low-key debut away at Darlington at the end of January. In fact he made a relatively modest contribution to our escape from relegation not really sparking until the precious win over Leyton Orient in April where he came out on top in a feisty personal duel with their centre half John Mackie and scored twice. He also picked up a knock which kept him out for the remainder of the season.
It was the following season when he really came good , making him for me the best striker I've seen at Spotland. and without question Parkin's best signing. He was certainly the most complete. He could be the big centre forward or he could play off one. He could create goals out of nothing and he could poach them. He was good (not exceptional) in the air and had good control on the ground. He was also exceptionally physical and sailed close to the wind with some of his challenges but of course you admire that in your own player. He scored 17 goals in the League and every one of the 5 we got in the FA Cup which took us to the Third Round. He also scored in the League Cup and FLT. He also collected 16 yellow cards but amazingly no reds.
The following season he carried on where he left off and equalled a club record in September when he scored for the sixth successive match. Strangely he never managed a hat-trick for us but then neither did Steve Taylor. Of course all this goalscoring didn't go un-noticed and it became obvious that his days in a Dale shirt were numbered. Grant slightly sullied his reputation by the manner of his leaving. His sending off for fighting at Wycombe in December was perfectly timed to give him a nice break over Christmas in which to negotiate his next move. He made one more appearance after his suspension then he was off to Nottingham Forest for £300,000 plus sell-on clauses.
Grant scored on his debut against Oldham but had a chequered time at Forest, always seemingly more popular with the fans than the manager. After less than a year there he was offered to Bristol City but Grant turned down the move. In 2006-07 he was the club's top scorer and the fans ' Player of the Season despite starting half the games on the bench. He asked for a transfer in the summer but was refused. Manager Colin Calderwood then stuck him out on the wing ensuring a disappointing return of only three goals. He spent the last part of 2007-08 on loan at Blackpool making four substitute appearances and failing to score. He then made a surprise return to League Two when Paul Simpson paid a club record £175,000 to take him to Shrewsbury. His 20 goals in 43 appearances wasn't quite enough to get them promoted and after one season he moved back up to Norwich where he became team captain and scored 24 goals in 39 appearances to take them into the Championship. This season he's proved himself in the second tier with 20 goals in 39 appearances at the time of writing and is on the cusp of going into the Premiership.