Friday, 10 May 2013

That Holloway Bloke

For those that follow my tweets, I fall into the category of ‘Holloway isn’t the manager for us’ – although I do feel, in his defense (as do many of the faithful down at SE25) that this judgment should be reserved until he has at least started a season on his terms!

After all, we were enjoying a great run, a style of football we haven’t seen In ages and confidence was high – every match day we the fans felt like a boozed up teenager, walking into a nightclub thinking the world was our oyster – we were in unchartered waters and didn’t know fear. Sadly, as the season drew to an end, the alco pops were wearing off and the doormen had worked out we had school the next day! Where am I going with this analogy? Well, some could argue 18 is just around the corner with Holloway at the helm.

Let’s go back to the beginning.

Bristol Rovers – a club In turmoil lose their manager and look a certainty as relegation fodder – like many clubs before, an experienced player turns his hand to managing the team affairs and this time, for Bristol Rovers, up steps the iconic Holloway and he manages to guide the club to safety. The positive vibes continued into the next season as they reached the play offs – losing 4-3 over two legs (having surrendered a 3-0 first leg victory). 

The following season was not as successful, finishing mid table in 13th – Holloway takes this as a sign to focus purely on management, hanging up his boots. His final full season at Bristol had a better climax, narrowly missing out on the play offs, coming in 7th – over all, a positive and encouraging first tenure as manager.

Midway through the 2001 season QPR prized Holloway from Bristol, hoping he could keep recreate the magic for them – it wasn’t to be! Despite relegation, he steadied the ship and over the next 3 seasons they built a solid foundation to be promoted back the 2nd tier of English football. Back in the Championship they spent 2 seasons finishing mid table.

However, the good fortune turned sour when on Feb 6th Holloway was suspended and sent on gardeners leave as rumours of him taking over at Leicester were too much of a distraction – the club narrowly avoided relegation, finishing 21st in the league – something was not ‘clicking’ at loftus road.

That June, Holloway was unsurprisingly off to Plymouth, promising them promotion to the premiership – this was not to be as two seasons later Holloway hands in his resignation and leaves for Leicester, leaving a sour taste in many of the Plymouth faithful.
Holloway later quoted when asked about this period of his life - “I had a year out of football and had to think about what went wrong in my life. I was given some decent values from my mum and dad in our council house, and one of them was honesty and trust and loyalty. And I forgot to do all that at Plymouth. I left them. And I made the biggest mistake of my life.”

His new reign at Leicester began well, winning his first game. Unfortunately, the feel good factor did not last, stoking the fire down at Plymouth by taking many star players in the January transfer window, they lost the highly anticipated grudge match and went on to only claim a further 9 wins of 32 and Leicester were relegated – Holloway had failed.

Almost a year (actually 363 days) later, in May 2009 Holloway returned to championship football and in his first full season he guided the club via the play offs to the premiership. That season was marred with some controversy – before the season even started, a no show at the training ground prompted talk of him resigning, Holloway claiming he had to be in London for meetings and opted to stay down south. A further resignation incident occurred when Holloway was fined by the FA for fielding a weakened side – 10 changes made – Holloway offered his resignation, which was not accepted.

Towards the end of that season they were beaten 4-2 by Man Utd and subsequently relegated. The pundits will miss Blackpool and more importantly, they will miss Holloway. The first season back in the championship resulted in heartache, narrowly losing out in the play offs. November 3rd saw us (CPFC) sign Holloway on a multiple year contract. The team was riding high in the championship, scoring for fun – Holloway loved it and so did we. For a while the great run we had enjoyed under freedman continued and as Holloway spoke of adding his touch to the team, the results started to go against us and a disastrous loss to rivals Brighton did not help matters.  Fortunately, we have made the play offs. The fans still seem divided.

As of May 4th 2013:

Team
From
To
Record
G
W
D
L
Win %
Bristol Rovers
13/05/96
29/01/01
247
90
70
87
36.44
QPR
26/02/01
06/02/06
252
100
81
71
39.68
Plymouth Argyle
28/06/06
21/11/07
71
28
23
20
39.44
Leicester City
22/11/07
23/05/08
32
9
8
15
28.13
Blackpool
21/05/09
03/11/12
161
62
43
56
38.51
Crystal Palace
04/11/12
Present
34
11
13
10
32.35
Total
794
300
236
259
37.78













So, it’s plain to see Holloway is a passionate, headstrong character that wears his heart on his sleeve. Holloway’s win percentage record has been respectable, often making an impact at Clubs he managed, most notably Blackpool & QPR but this is not to cover up controversy at many of his clubs where success can easily turn sour.

Article written for The Eagles Beak by Dan Morgan (@tharley83)

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