Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Seasider Holloway Has Gone from Zero to a Hero

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Seasider Holloway Has Gone from Zero to a Hero

Article excerpt

IAN Holloway was on his knees after presiding over Leicester's relegation to League One and being shown the door at the Walkers Stadium in May 2008.

Today at Wembley he will stand 90 minutes away from taking Blackpool into the top flight for the first time since 1971.

Victory against Cardiff in the Coca-Cola Championship final would give the Seasiders an estimated pounds 90million and complete the fairytale for the Lancashire outfit and their charismatic manager.

Holloway, 47, said: "I became impatient at Plymouth so I left to join Leicester, but I could not change anything which was happening there.

"We were relegated and I was dumped on my backside and had no job for a year. "It is times like that when you have to look at your own part in what happened and take responsibility for it.

"We judge managers too early in this country. "If you looked at Sir Alex Ferguson after his first four years at Manchester United, would you have said he was any good? "Now he is probably the best manager there has ever been.

"I look at Fergie and Arsene Wenger, and would I like the chance to do their jobs? Of course I would. Am I ready? I don't think so, but I am learning all the time and I appreciate the experiences I have had in my life so far."

A year out of the game at least gave Holloway plenty of time for introspection, but returning to management proved difficult.

He added: "I went for three or four interviews but was not offered anything."

Then Blackpool came calling last summer. Holloway's brief from chairman Karl Oyston was a simple one - keep the club in the Championship.

Incredibly, he may take them out of the second tier and into the Barclays Premier League.

No one could have foreseen the impact Holloway would have in transforming a team rated favourites for relegation to serious promotion candidates.

Holloway poured confidence into his players and instilled an energy and desire not seen at Bloomfield Road since Sir Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield in their pomp. Holloway explained: "When I arrived here I tried to share my vision of what I wanted to do with the players.

"It is expansive, attacking football, and ever since we beat Everton in a pre-season game the lads have been magnificent. …

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