Ian Holloway-No longer the managerial class clown
November 23, 2010 5 Comments
Say the name Ian Holloway a year or so ago and conversations of hilarious post match interviews and talk of the class clown would be all you would hear.
How much can change in a year of football.
Say it now and a different man will be discussed. A man of seriousness and passion, positivity and opinions. A man who is greatly admired not laughed at.
Starting his managerial career at his home team of Bristol Rovers (as player manager at first), he was always going o be a hit. He played there for most of his professional career and was a fans favourite. After a successful 5 year stint there, with a win percentage of 36% in 247 games and getting them to the play offs, he thought it was time to move on and another of his old teams came calling. He had spent 5 years playing for Queens Park Rangers, and was challenged, half way through the 00-01 season, with trying to keep the club in the old First Division. He failed to do so but, unlike many modern managers, was kept on for the following year to try and rebuild the club. In doing this I believe he won many of the fans hearts with his never say die attitude and churpy exterior. He eventually got the club promoted again in 2004 and, with even more hard work, finished a very respectable 11th that season. Many people in the game were starting to take note of Holloway. His post match interviews started to draw fans of other clubs to televisions and also to youtube. His most famous surely being the “a win is like a bird” speech after a hard fought messy 1 goal win. Holloway was so much more than just a joker but not many could see past the comical remarks as ,to date, he had no real major managerial honours (or so it seemed to the premier league fans who would watch his interviews). However a few football league clubs in a similar position to Q.P.R’s were starting to take note of Holloway’s hard work and in February of 2006 he was sent on “Gardening leave” by the Queens park rangers board, as he was being increasingly linked with the vacant managerial position at a club he would later manage, Leicester City. Those rumours were never going to help the progression of the club and a difficult season ended in a 21st place finish and a loss of respect for Holloway.
He moved onto Plymouth that summer, and made a very bold statement saying he would take the club to the premier league. Many more memorable interviews followed and also a fairly decent results record which again put a club on alert who had been after Holloway in a previous season, Leicester. And after just over a year in charge of the Devon based club, the pull of the foxes was too much. He left Plymouth on bad terms and was accused of letting some big stars go from Plymouth just before he left, Ian always denies this. Some would say carma then worked its magic and a very poor time at Leicester ended up with the club being relegated and Holloway leaving by mutual concent.
It was around this time Holloway started to think about his image. Maybe during his time at Leicester he thought too much about being the figure every body wanted to see, the clown, the entertainer, and not enough about what had made him a success at Bristol and Q.P.R, which was his hard work and determination. A year out of the game helped him realise who he wanted to be and where he wanted to go, which was to the top. He wanted to be taken seriously and thought the job of steadying the ship at Blackpool was the ideal place to start. The club were favourites for relegation at the start of the 09-10 season, but thanks to Holloway’s new found passion for the game, his hard work and, something that doesn’t always get noticed, his tactical mind, helped the club to a monumental rise up the table and the final play-off spot. Even though he had got the club all this way, people in and out of the game still didnt take Blackpool, or indeed Holloway seriously. This spured both of them on and after battling and classy performances against Nottingham Forest in the semis and Cardiff in the final, Holloways dream had come true, Blackpool were Premier League side. People finally started to realise maybe he wasn’t just a comic genius, maybe he was what Holloway had always set out to be, a passionate and tactically sound manager.
This season in the Premier League Holloway has been championed as a manager promoted sides should look up to. He has his team playing with
no fear. Attacking with pace and venom against even the biggest of opponents. Holloway seems to be able to get the best out of players who, for many years, have been stuck in mediocraty. Players such as Charlie Adam, who is now one of the most consistant performers in the premier league, and also Luke Varney (a player who is on loan from a championship side where he couldn’t get a game) who scored one of the goals of season last week and has been a thorn in the side of all the defences he has come up against.
This shows Holloways love for the game. He has shown every body in the game that you can not count anyone out. With a mix of hard work, determination, great footballing knowledge and positivity he has shown that you do not need a great deal of money to be successful in the modern game. All clubs can take heart from what Holloway has done for Blackpool.
With his recent very truthful rants about the game and the way it is run, I believe he is a voice for the poeple in football who can not be heard. And now that he is no longer being looked at as a joker people will take his comments seriously. He speaks honestly and passionately about the game that he loves being involved with and more people in the game should do that.
He will always be a born entertainer, and want to make people laugh, but now he has realised that not every interview has to start and end with a pun or a comical story. His work with Blackpool has made people realise he is a quality manager aswell as a quality bloke. His managerial style is one to be admired, one with no fear or boundaries, which should be worked on wisely by future promoted managers. His passion for the game should never be doubted and I believe, if he continues with the same beliefs and work ethic he will have a very successful remaining managerial career.
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