Grant Holt and the Premiership's Greatest
'The Premiership's Greatest' was a show first broadcast on Sky One in 2004. It is the tenuous link between Norwich City, Oldham Athletic and last Saturday's game at Carrow Road, which gave the Canaries their sixth home win on the spin, this time by two goals to nil.
“The Premiership's Greatest” was a show first broadcast on Sky One in 2004. It is the tenuous link between Norwich City, Oldham Athletic and last Saturday's game at Carrow Road, which gave the Canaries their sixth home win on the spin, this time by two goals to nil.
A few months before the show was broadcast, I remember completing a questionnaire on the Sky website. The Premiership was ten years old and one of the anniversary celebrations was to be a series of programmes featuring the greatest match, player, moment, and goal.
Bizarrely there was also a category for the sexiest footballer which I didn't vote for at the time, as it was a girls only thing. Looking back I should have voted for Darren Huckerby, and if I could vote again, who would have I have chosen? Although it would have been bending the rules, nineteen goals scored by six foot of Cumbrian muscle would have been enough to secure my nomination.
At the time the show was filmed, a total of thirty seven teams had played in the Premiership, so thirty eight fans were invited on to the show to discuss the awards and vote on which really were “The Greatest” of the first ten years. And why thirty eight fans for thirty seven clubs? In a bizarre act of football political correctness, two fans from Wimbledon had been invited on to the show. One “real” fan from AFC and one “franchise” fan from the land of the concrete cows.
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I was the Norwich City representative, as the Capital Canaries had received a request from the football club asking for a volunteer. There were a few celebrity fans present, and not unsurprisingly they supported the big clubs. Mark Chapman from Radio 1 was the Manchester United fan, Harvey from So Solid Crew (who at one time did play for AFC Wimbledon) was the Liverpool fan, and Shovel, the drummer from M-People was the Arsenal fan. There was also one of them from down the A140 who I tried to avoid during the day, but failed.
The show was filmed at the Sports Caf� in Haymarket and was the easiest free day out I've had in years. We watched football, talked about football, voted on the different categories, and in between the production company bought us all lunch and made us drink lager. We all said a few things on camera in between the chatter and banter, and when it was all done and dusted, we went back to the bar for the evening.
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And what is the connection between all this and Saturday? On the Premiership's Greatest show, the Oldham fan was Tom O'Dea, a die-hard Lactic who hated all things to do with Manchester City. After the show we all got chatting, email addresses were exchanged and we've kept in touch as one day our clubs were bound to meet each other.
Just as Gemma and I arrived in Norwich on Saturday my phone beeped into life. It was a text from Tom letting me know which pub he was in. I had given him some tips on the decent places to drink in Norwich with the Coach and Horses being top of the list, so it was surprising to see that he had ignored my advice and gone to the Prince of Wales. Not really my ideal pre-match pub to say the least. I can't recall having been in there for over twenty years!
And so to the match which was memorable for two things. The first half an hour in which City were brilliant and the rest of the game in which the Oldham fans supported their team like no other set of fans had done for a very long time at Carrow Road. If ever a team deserved a break because of their support it was Oldham, and they showed some flashes of quality which hopefully should mean that they will be playing League 1 football next season.
Finally back to the show and here's how I voted as regards the first ten years of the Premiership:
t Player - Ryan Giggs (the winner was Alan Shearer)
t Match - The first of the Liverpool 4 Newcastle 3 games (the winner)
t Goal - I voted for one of Matt Le Tissier's goals (I think Paulo Di Canio won)
t Moment - Kevin Keegan's “I'd really love it” rant (the unanimous winner)
t Sexiest player - David Ginola