Grant Holt is the classic old-time striker: strong, workmanlike and heavyset; the kind of player you can’t shake off the ball. I played with a guy like this in college; a bulky dude who didn’t look like a footballer but who could outrun, out-muscle and out-skill 95% of the guys on the pitch. Grant Holt is this guy. He wins for you with raw athletic ability above all else.
Holt took the Jimmy Bullard, bin-man to big-man route to the top flight. In 2001 he played in Singapore for four months, basically doing anything to get back into English football. He returned to several lower league clubs before spending a turbulent three years at Nottingham Forest (including a short loan to Blackpool) and eventually finding success at Shrewsbury Town. His 28 goals in 51 games for the club earned him a move east to Norwich City, where he presided over their two-year plundering of League One and the Championship en route to the Premiership.
And he is a bigger dude to be sure. Witness the Facebook fan/slander page, Grant Holt is a Fat Prick, or the messageboard thread, Grant Holt is Fat and Maybe Even Chronically Obese. These aren’t made up. He’s so maligned for his weight that even the Norwich home fans chant, “You fat bastard!” when he has possession. A bit of perspective shows that Holt is still shy of the size of someone like John Hartson in his prime. But perspective aside, someone decided that Grant Holt is fat, and so Grant Holt is fat.
Holt’s size worked to his advantage in the slower-paced lower divisions, where the extra weight prevented him from being knocked around. In the Premiership, where fast and agile is the name of the game, his heft (though he’s not terribly big at the moment), age (he’s 30) and the nature of his game (win possession, hold the ball up and wait for support) may inhibit his longevity. But who cares about that when he’s scoring goals like his recent effort against Everton and celebrating like this?
By all accounts Grant Holt’s career is one that shouldn’t have reached the heights is has, and for this he has the hearts of Norwich fans. He seems genuinely thrilled to be where he is, and similarly aware that his dream turn in the Premiership and his successes beforehand didn’t come without trial. It’d be nice to see more players keep their egos in check in this way. Even if Grant Holt is Diving Scum,as another Facebook fan page has it, you can’t get too mad at a player who advocates on Joey Barton’s behalf while playing for the opposing team. What a gem. Cheers Grant.