From the bottom to the top, Norwich City striker Grant Holt steps down again to move to Wigan Athletic

The story of the English striker is one of the more remarkable in modern times

This may not be football's week in the sun, but one of the best stories of the modern English game has drawn to a quiet close.

Grant Holt is no longer a Premier League player. The Norwich City striker is signing for Owen Coyle’s Wigan Athletic, stepping down into the Championship after two seasons in the top flight.

It might seem rather unremarkable – Holt was probably not going to play much next season, given his age, given Chris Hughton’s approach, given the arrival of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and, possibly, Ola Toivonen. Some less charitable observers might even say he is finding his level.

Maybe this is the start of the fall, but the rise of Grant Holt remains a crucial part of Norwich City's history, the type of story to inspire players everywhere, the type of story that wasn't meant to happen anymore.

Holt arrived at Norwich City in League One in 2009, a man whose best spell to date had been five years before, in League Two, with Rochdale. Even there he had been no instant success - he was so poor on his 2004 debut, after his £10,000 move from Sheffield Wednesday, that one team-mate asked manager Steve Parkin if he still had the receipt. But he eventually found form, scoring goals, moving on to Nottingham Forest and then back to League Two with Shrewsbury.

But Norwich knew what they needed in 2009 - commitment, spirit and a ferocious determination to drag an ailing club back up to the top. Holt and Norwich were a perfect fit - the big number nine scored 24 in 2009-10 in League One and 21 in 2010-11 in the Championship as Norwich stormed to consecutive promotions, fuelled by Holt's sheer weight of goals.

In the Premier League, Holt was successful too, scoring 15 in 2011-12, the most prolific Englishman behind Wayne Rooney. He scored against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, and gave Ledley King a chasing at White Hart Lane in a famous 2-1 win.

It was the best example for years of how English football is still a pyramid, and the Premier League its reachable pinnacle. Even now, in the era of the £5.5billion TV deal, the scientific academies, the foreign owners, the foreign coaches and the rest, there is still a way for players with enough talent and enough grit to fight their way from the bottom to the top.

Holt was playing non-league football for Barrow at 22 and even League Two for Shrewsbury at 28. But he made it into the elite, to a league where the best strikers - Robin van Persie, Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney - are identified and nurtured before their 10th birthday.

He leaves Carrow Road as an unambiguous legend and one of the most important players in the club's history. He leaves the Premier League as a remarkable example of how players can shatter expectations. And, with a touch of luck, he may even be back with Wigan next year.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'