Have we seen the last of Grant Holt? If the rumours are to be believed Melbourne Heart are considering a second, ‘improved’ bid for our talismanic leader. The first, which apparently fell short of City’s £2M price tag, was seemingly rebuffed by David McNally quicker than you could say Neighbours.
If the Sporting Life is also to be believed, the great man is ‘interested in Australia’, although quite how Heart’s CEO Scott Munn would know that – given the initial bid was turned down – is anyone’s guess.
Cards on the table… I’d hate to see the big man depart.
Where once City were renowned for injecting new life into the careers of thirty-somethings – Martin Peters and Mick Channon being two fine examples – our recent history has been littered with examples of us being the premature discarder of said footballing demographic.
Nigel Worthington’s decision to wave steely goodbyes to Malky Mackay and Iwan Roberts post the 2003/04 promotion party were, in hindsight, massive mistakes. The qualities of both gents, on and off the pitch, were horribly underestimated at the time and the scatter-gun flurry of summer transfer activity that followed did little (nothing actually) to fill the respective voids.
To this day I’m still haunted by the image of Simon Charlton and Craig Fleming lining up as a central-defensive pairing in the early-season mauling by Arsenal; both good honest pros – Fleming a great Canary servant – but would Malky have fared worse than either against Thierry Henry and co that Saturday teatime? Certainly not.
Similarly, given Worthington’s early penchant for playing Gary Doherty as a striker, would we have fared any worse in those turgid opening months of that season by having Iwan leading the line? Same answer.
Another case in point – and I can feel the hackles rising as I write – was Glenn Roeder’s heartless and spiteful ending of Darren Huckerby’s City career. It’s hard to believe Hucks was just 31 when deemed by Roeder to be no longer fit for purpose; the manager’s venom extending to announcing his departure after the final game of the season; a well-deserved and fitting send-off thus denied.
Sadly the rest is history – the following season our club sank to a record, pain-ridden, low – but would it have been so with Hucks still marauding down that left wing? Obviously we’ll never know –some perceive our dally with the third tier as a horrid blessing in disguise – but there’s no doubting the soul of the club suffered a huge dent the day Huckerby was shown the door.
I’m sure there are other examples of City’s management perceiving age as a barrier to progress, but these three in particular smack of poor judgement based on the player being the wrong side of 30 (with a sprinkling of vindictiveness on the part of Roeder).
I hope we don’t make a similar mistake with Holty.
It’s clear, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel ‘s route to Colney now clear (summer diving/swimming accidents aside), the club captain may well enjoy less game time next season, but if he were to leave he’d have to be replaced.
With Simeon Jackson and Chris Martin now no longer of this parish, Hughton is left light in the striking department. Assuming Luciano Becchio is afforded a chance to impress and James Vaughan returns pre-season that still only leaves four senior strikers; if Holty disappears Down Under we’re left with three.
We’ve long established strikers who can score goals at the highest level come at a premium; how could we possibly afford one who – for example – has scored 23 Premier League goals over the last two seasons? And don’t even get me started on those with ‘impressive’ scoring records in the Scottish Premier league…
Since the day he arrived Holty has continually proved us all wrong; even going back to the very early days when some questioned why Bryan Gunn was picking this bloke from Shrewsbury ahead of the goal-machine that was Goran Marić (or perhaps it was just me).
Hardly a season has passed since when a mini-barren run and the ensuing questions have been answered in the only way he knows how (well almost; he does enjoy the occasional tweet): by scoring goals, loads of them.
His sense of timing has invariably been impeccable and how many of us commented that the home win against WBA saw him ‘back to his best’.
For all of these reasons I’d hate to see him leave.
While the way ahead looks to be one that relies on a lone striker, who better to have up your sleeve than a lean, mean goal-scoring machine in the form of Grant Holt. Premier League defenders still hate playing against him and that’s good enough for me.
Besides… the round trip to Cumbria would be a nightmare wouldn’t it?