The importance of a club’s manager can never be understated. While success will never be attributed exclusively to the man on the sidelines, players can only do so much without the right figure barking the instructions. Would Manchester United be the club they are today without Sir Alex Ferguson? While many Gunners fans may feel it’s time for change, would they have enjoyed such a period of success without Monsieur Wenger. These are extreme examples using long-serving figureheads but the theory is just as relevant no matter where you look.
Recent speculation has suggested that Blackpool may soon have to make do without Ian Holloway at the helm – a move many Tangerines may fear but pray will not come to fruition. ‘Ollie’ has been a revelation since his arrival at Bloomfield Road, galvanising a group of players who in many cases had not cut the mustard at previous clubs, and turned them into a Premier League outfit, more than capable of holding their own. The issue of whether his side hold on to their top flight status is yet to be resolved but they have certainly proven themselves worthy of a second season with the big boys.
Chairman Karl Oyston has spoken publicly of his desire to keep his manager on board regardless of Blackpool’s league status next season. He has gone so far as to say that Holloway will be in the Seasiders’ dugout in August. The recent link to West Ham will of course be a concern, despite both clubs’ respective present positions. It may have levelled off in recent months, but speculation has been rife throughout the season that the Hammers will soon dispense of the services of Avram Grant. A move for Holloway would not be unthinkable.
So what value does Ollie add to a squad and why is he in such demand? Put simply, he is a hugely talented manager. Steering Blackpool into the Premier League was a he feat in itself. The majority suggested his side could give Derby’s record low Premier League points tally a run for its money but here they stand with more than a fighting chance of survival. His motivational skills are second to none, getting the best from a group of players limited in top-flight experience and talent. Finally, if the Tangerines do survive, they will have done so through playing in a positive and attacking style. His mentality to show no fear and have a go from the outset has been clear for all to see. Their goalless draw with Stoke last weekend was the only time his side have failed to find the net at home this season.
Blackpool supporters should take heart from the fact Holloway himself has not expressed a desire to move on. Fixtures against Spurs, Bolton and Manchester United mean they have an almighty slog ahead of them to beat the drop, but in Ollie they have a top manager – a key factor in the success of any side.