​After months of lobbying, haranguing and complaining, 90min have finally acquiesced to my demands for more non-league content. 


Well below the luxury of the Premier League exists a wonderful world of football where the players have second jobs, every supporter knows each other by name and if you hate the manager you can go into the bar after the game and tell him to his face instead of resorting to petty jibes on social media. 


Of course everyone knows Jamie Vardy's rags to riches tale. The Leicester star went from playing for Stocksbridge Park Steels to the Premier League in just four years. But what about the players who have gone the other way? The ones who have tasted the delights of the top flight and then dropped down into non-league for the love of the game, or the money, or both? 


Players like this deserve respect, and 90min have given it to them by listing seven Premier League stars who are still chasing a ball around outside of the professional ranks...


Grant Holt - Wroxham 

Grant Holt,Darren Huckerby

First on our list is a bonafide Premier League legend - Sir [editor: check this] Grant Holt. A prolific marksman in the lower leagues, Holt moved to Norwich City in 2009. 


The Canaries were then in League One, but 45 goals in two seasons from the target man helped Paul Lambert's side secure back-to-back promotions to the English top flight. The success did not stop there either, with Holt bagging 15 goals in his debut Premier League season and coming extremely close to winning an England cap. 


After leaving Carrow Road he bounced around various clubs before announcing his retirement in 2018 to...checks notes...pursue a professional wrestling career. Right, okay. 

​​His break from football lasted two years before he was tempted to play for Norfolk based Wroxham this season. He's been in red hot form as well, with manager Jordan Southgate - no relation to Gareth - stating his belief that Holt can fire them to promotion recently. 


George Elokobi - Maidstone United 

George Elokobi

​Are you ready to be shocked? George Elokobi - of comedy Wolves Premier League era fame - is still, somehow only 34. 


Currently captaining Maidstone United in the Conference South - five levels below the top flight - the Cameroonian made a name for himself as a no-nonsense defender.


Overall, he made 59 appearances in the Premier League before the Wanderers finally succumbed to relegation in 2012. 

Although continued on field success has proved allusive, the veteran has been building a strong brand for myself on social media and has started a career as a motivational speaker. Fair play. 


Barry Hayles - Merstham 

Barry Hayles

​When Barry Hayles made his debut for Willesden Hawkeye back in 1989, we doubt he would have envisaged himself still being involved in the non-league game 31 years later.


Hayles is still kicking the ball about at the age of 47, playing and assistant managing at Merstham. Prior to this, the striker had spells at too many clubs to mention. Some highlights include three separate periods in Cornwall with Truro City, a prolific stint at Arlesey Town and an FA Cup run with Chesham United.

The apex of the diminutive forward's career was a three season spell in the Premier League with Fulhum between 2001 and 2004.


He formed a dynamite strike partnership with Louis Saha while at Craven Cottage, who would later go on to make a big money move to Manchester United. Is the Frenchman still playing football for a living though? No - Barry got the last laugh. 


Mike Williamson - Gateshead

Mike Williamson

Over four Premier League seasons with Newcastle, Mike Williamson made a very impressive 134 appearances. 


The 36-year-old clearly grew fond of the north east during his time at St James' Park as he jumped at the opportunity to join Tyneside based Gateshead in 2018. 


Williamson made a fine start to his playing career at the club and made the step up to management last year where he has remained ever since. 

The Heed were demoted to the National League North at the beginning of the season following financial irregularities, but despite this turmoil the inexperienced coach has led his side well. 


Jon Stead - Harrogate Town

Jonathan Stead

​Jon Stead is one of the few players to taste back-to-back Premier League relegations. In the 2005/2006 season while at Sunderland, the big forward was part of one of the worst top flight teams in history.


The Black Cats managed just three wins and 15 points all season and Stead's goal shyness did little to arrest their terrible form. He managed to net just once in 30 games. 


The following campaign, the striker was somehow snapped up by newly promoted Sheffield United and registered a much more impressive five goals in 14 appearances. Not enough to keep the Blades up though... 

These days Stead is involved at promotion chasing Harrogate Town in the National League. Here's a fun fact about them - their manager Simon Weaver is the chairman's son. Bet Sunday lunch is fun at their house after a defeat. 


Leroy Lita - Chelmsford City

Leroy Lita

​Leroy Lita had two bites of the Premier League cherry as a player. His first spell in the big time came with Steve Coppell's Reading between 2006 and 2008. 


While at the Madejski Stadium the England Under-21 international netted seven goals during the 2006/07 season as the Royals shocked everyone with an eighth placed finished. 


Lita returned to top flight with Swansea City in 2011 but only made 18 appearances over three seasons. To be fair he was competing with the free-scoring Michu for a place up front for much of that time.

After spells with a host of Football League clubs and periods playing in Greece and Thailand, Lita dropped down into non-league. He is currently sitting on the bench for Chelmsford City in the National League South. 


Ricardo Fuller - Nantwich Town

Ricardo Fuller,Jermaine Pennant

Ricardo Fuller first rocked up in the Premier League with Portsmouth during the 2004/2005 season. He wasn't exactly prolific, managing one goal in 31 games. 


Luckily, he more than made up for that during his time at Stoke where he earned cult hero status among the Potteries faithful. 


Often found latching onto the end of a Rory Delap long throw, the Jamaican hit 18 goals across four top flight seasons at the Britannia Stadium. 

Fuller announced his retirement in 2016 but missed the game so much that he returned to football with Northern Premier League side Nantwich Town. They're nicknamed the Dabbers - after the town's tanning industry, not the dance move - and have a stand sponsored by an ice cream company. Lovely. 


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