The world of Ian Holloway is one I’m certain that we as mere spectators will never be able to fully understand. This week has seen his beloved Blackpool side suffer a continued run of defeats and their talismanic skipper Charlie Adam moving ever closer to a departure from the club. However, Holloway has once again excelled himself in his frank, honest and admirable addresses to the press.
Tuesday night saw Blackpool two goals to the good against the unbeaten league leaders Manchester United come half time. Dreamland for the Tangerines. However, when they were cruelly denied a stonewall penalty at the start of the second period, the mood became rather ominous. Things just started to feel like they were tilting in United’s direction. The game finished 3-2 to United, the half time score turned completely on it’s head, Blackpool fans and players alike were left in a state of disbelief.
In spite of this disappointment, Ian Holloway once again outdid himself in his post match interview. When quizzed over the controversial penalty decision his response was “deary, deary me”. He was understandably upset by a game changing decision in arguably the biggest match Blackpool have had in decades but he still had the honesty and decency to laud his opposite number Sir Alex Ferguson and his side for their “awesome comeback.” “What a team they are” he proclaimed in awe and respect of the comeback his counterparts had just inflicted upon his side.
This decision to not dwell on the poor decision of the officials and his side’s failure to close out against major opposition, but instead, to heap praise upon their opponents is indicative of Holloway’s sheer love of the game. He is the sort of character than can stand back and appreciate that there will be human error in top-level and fast-paced professional sport. He knows that his side will have had their fair share of luck along the way and is simply appreciative of the finer things his beloved sport has to offer.
It is this infectious attitude towards the game that has inspired Blackpool to the brilliant position the club find themselves in at the moment. The sort of spirit that has, as Holloway so brilliantly portrayed in the week, had the Blackpool players responding to such adversity as the potential loss of their captain to Liverpool by singing “You’ll never walk alone” to him as he entered the dressing room. Only a club run by a character like Holloway, and there aren’t that many of them, could demonstrate such humour and togetherness.
With the likes of Manchester City and their financial bulk it is easy to believe that football has lost it’s soul and it’s romance. Ian Holloway, whilst leading his Blackpool side to achievements seemingly way beyond their means, has brought heart back into the Premier League in abundance. For the greater good of English football we need teams like Blackpool and managers like Holloway there as a presence in the upper echelons of the game. To say they have been a ‘breath of fresh air’ would be terribly cliché, but they simply have been.