Thursday, 27 January 2011
267 Michael Holt
Position : Forward
Played : 1998-99 (initially on loan from Preston) to 1999-2000
Appearances : 38
Goals : 7
Michael was the second striker signed on loan in October 1998, this time from Preston North End. He started out at Blackburn but was released without making his debut and joined Preston in August 1996. He scored his first goal in dramatic circumstances sliding home an Ian Bryson cross for a last minute equaliser against Tottenham in the League Cup in only his third game. He went on to score 5 goals in 36 appearances (although two-thirds of them were as a substitute). With first-team opportunities becoming more limited in 1998 he went on loan, first to Macclesfield (3 games , 1 goal) and then to us.
At first Michael played second fiddle to De Souza starting his first two games on the bench but he made a big impact when he came on in the second half at Chester. We were 1-0 down and going nowhere when Ian Bryson sent an optimistic cross to the far side of the area. Michael stole in from nowhere and sent a superb looping header into the top corner , probably the best headed goal I’ve witnessed and so out of step with what we’d just been watching that there was more shock than celebration at the Dale end. Excluding the Cup games that was the start of a 5 game unbeaten run during which Michael scored twice more including the winner at Hartlepool when he was still suffering from flu.
He had given the team the shot in the arm it needed , the fans loved his committed style and making his move permanent was a no-brainer. Despite being relatively short and baby-faced he was a very aggressive, bordering-on-dirty striker who didn’t mind leaving his foot in and seemed to get away with it. He also scored more than his fair share of headers getting two in the Sky-televised 3-0 victory over Hull. Those were his last goals for a couple of months because Barrow then completely lost the plot and started playing two numpties (who we’ll come to shortly) in midfield and the strikers were completely starved of service. Michael finished joint leading scorer on 7 and his last action of the season was trying to remove Neil Edwards’s undies after the final game at Brighton/Gillingham.
The following season it just didn’t happen for him. Steve Parkin gave him plenty of chances but he failed to score and started trying too hard , leading to accusations of being greedy. In January 2000 he went on loan to Northwich but that didn’t work out with him failing to score and the team to win in 5 games. Michael returned to first team action for the Auto-Windscreen Northern Final first leg against Stoke in March when he came off the bench to score his first goal for nearly a year. He started the next game but was pulled off at half time and after a handful of sporadic appearances as sub his Dale career came to an end . It was very disappointing after such a bright beginning but that’s football.
Michael then re-located to Ireland where he enjoyed a successful five years with St Patrick’s Athletic, Derry City and Dublin City before returning to England in 2005 to join the Lancashire Police Force. He signed for Nelson FC and not surprisingly was a star at that level scoring 36 goals and winning promotion in 2005-06. He then moved to Barnoldswick Town his home town club and helped them move up a notch before signing for Padiham. In 2009 he quit playing regularly to concentrate on his career though he still coaches and sometimes turns out for the police side.