Tag Archive: Grant Holt

It is clear that England have a shortage of top class strikers at the moment. With Wayne Rooney constantly struggling to re-produce his club form for the national team, and the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck lacking experience on the international stage; there is an opening for forwards to stake a claim to be a fixture in Roy Hodgson’s future squads.

The Likes of Grant Holt, anyone who follows Premier League news  will have seen that he bagged 15 League goals in his debut Premier League season last year for Norwich City, and Danny Graham at Swansea City have consistently been overlooked for a place in the Three Lions squad despite performing superbly for their Club sides.

But another man who has not as yet been given a look in is Gary Hooper at Celtic. The Harlow born front man has been nothing short of a goal machine for the Bhoys after making a £2.4 million move from Scunthorpe United back in 2010.

Since then, Hooper has netted over half a century goals for the Hoops and his manager, Neil Lennon, has urged England to give him a chance.  His blistering form has led to both Scotland and Wales making enquires over whether the 24 year old could be eligible to play for them, but such a turnover of goals should have caught the attention of Roy Hodgson.

Many sceptics will point to the fact that Hooper has been plying his trade at a relatively poor standard in the SPL,  but the ball still needs putting in the back of the net; no matter what level you play – and Hooper does that better than most.

What’s more, he has dealt with the pressure of playing for one of Britain’s biggest club’s in the shape of Celtic and thrived on the atmosphere. The prospect of playing for his country in front of big crowds is something that is unlikely to faze him and natural born goal scorers will always have that ability to create something out of nothing.

If you like a football bet , you will see that Hooper is the favourite to be the leading scorer in the SPL this campaign.

It would be great to see players rewarded for their league form, no matter who they play for, with international friendlies offering the perfect chance to try out new faces. In the shape of Hooper, England may have a predatory forward on their hands; but they will never know unless they give him a chance to prove his worth.

By Andrew Ward


By Tony Alvarez

Following 26 year old referee Michael Oliver’s nightmare game at the Emirates between Arsenal and Aston Villa and some previous shockers Mr Oliver some have called into question whether the man is up to the job and whether fast tracking him due to his age was a good idea.

At the Emirates on Sunday Mr Oliver denied Arsenal a stone wall penalty when Dunne got none of the ball whilst attempting to tackle Aaron Ramsey in the Villa box, he also disallowed a Chamakh goal for a push on Kyle Walker, a push which wasn’t even appealed for by Villa players. This is not my Arsenal biased Mr Oliver had an all round bad day he was booking players and then letting similar tackles minutes later go completely unpunished, a challenge by Kieran Gibbs comes to mind shortly after he had booked Petrov.

This as mentioned above isn’t the first bad performance of Mr Oliver’s career, in his 9 Month career as a Premier League select group referee, he received criticism after sending off two West Brom players in a fixture against Blackpool of which one was later rescinded by the FA. Another decision that was heavily criticised by players, managers and the press was Mr Oliver’s decision to show a straight red to Grant Holt in a Championship fixture betweenNorwichandReading, he also sentNorwichmanager Paul Lambert to the stands for leaving his technical area. After the game Lambert questioned Mr Oliver’s experience and criticised the red card Reading manager Brian McDermott also criticised the decision, again it was later rescinded by the FA.

My problem is not with young referee’s we would like to have the fittest ref’s possible in order to be in the correct position to be able to make calls, but I think on many instances Mr Oliver has made decision which have shown he has never played the game, for me that should be paramount if you don’t understand Football how can you rule on it.

 I was reading a popular Football website yesterday and Mr Oliver was listed amongst others as one of the worst performances of the weekend with the line “If Oliver is the best of the next generation of referees then the game will be reduced to a state of farce within ten years” that maybe a bit harsh but if the next batch of referee’s are to be fast tracked due to fitness and the ability to keep up with play rather than understanding of the sport we could find ourselves in a very sorry state in years to come.

What are your thoughts? Are the FA right with their fast tracking system? Do you agree that Mr Oliver does not have the knowledge of Football to referee at the top level? Are you in agreement that Football understanding is more important than fitness? How can the FA rectify this problem? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Tony Alvarez

Following Grant Holt’s brace at Coventry on Saturday in Norwich’s 2-1 victory at the Ricoh Arena, Norwich sit 5th in the Coca Cola Championship 4 points clear of Reading who sit outside the play off places.

Following relegation from the Championship in the 08-09 season and then losing their first fixture 7-1 at home to Colchester United, manager and club legend Bryan Gunn was sacked and replaced by the Colchester boss Paul Lambert.

Under Lambert Norwich won promotion as well as the league one title at the first time of asking, the summer transfer window saw the strengthening of the squad with the likes of Simeon Jackson from Gillingham, the loan signing of Leon Barnett from West Brom, Wolves utility man Andrew Surman and goal keeper Jon Ruddy amongst others.

Following their promotion and new acquisitions Norwich lost their first game of the season 3-2 at home to Watford, They picked up their first points of the season with a 1-0 victory away at Scunthorpe.

Despite not putting together any stand out runs of victories Norwich have been steadily picking up points all season thus far and are looking set for a promotion push to get the club back into the big time.

With the highlight of the season so far being their 4-1 victory in the “Old Farm Derby” against Ipswich, prior to this fixture Norwich were boosted by the loan signing of Arsenal youngster Henri Lansbury.

With fixtures against two of the lower clubs in the table to come, in Crystal Palace and Sheffield United Norwich could really secure there status as a promotion chasing club by early January.

However, the true test will come on January 11th when Norwich host current league leaders QPR, should Norwich win all three of these fixtures then you would be hard placed to bet against them gaining automatic promotion let alone a play off place.

What do you think? Can Norwich’s form continue? Will they get promoted or at least reach the play offs? If not what more do you believe the squad needs to take the next step?

 Leave your thoughts and let me know.

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