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Holloway relieved to feel wanted again in south London

© Actionplus
© Actionplus

TWO months out of the game has felt like a lifetime for Ian Holloway.

When he stepped down as Crystal Palace manager last October, he did so because he was at the end of his tether.

Speaking at a hastily arrange press conference to announce his resignation, Holloway said he was "pretty worn out."

The Eagles had lost seven of their first eight Premier League games of the season and Holloway felt the club "needed an impetus of energy."

At that point, many expected he would take an extended sabbatical from management.

But as the days and weeks have passed, the 50-year-old's desire to return to the dugout has grown stronger and stronger.

So when Millwall approached Holloway about becoming their new manager, he couldn't help but jump at the chance.

"I am all about enjoying my life, and I have just experienced a couple of months of nobody wanting me to go to work," he told NewsAtDen.

"People can say I chose to leave Palace but nobody really wanted me to go to work. It's nice to feel wanted again.

"When you are in a job, you're having to make decisions left, right and centre during every minute of every day. Who's in the squad for the next match? Who's in the reserves?

"Suddenly the phone doesn't ring any more. One minute you're everything and the next minute you're nothing. Football leaves a big void and that's what you miss.

"Unless you're a manager you can't really understand it. I have had a lovely Christmas and now all of a sudden I'm back in the groove. It's fantastic.

"I spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day at home for the first time in 18 years. In a way it was nice that nobody wanted anything from me over that period.

"But it felt fantastic on Tuesday to get back into the swing of things, get the enthusiasm going again and I'm looking forward to making a difference."

Former Lions boss Kenny Jackett, who worked as Holloway's assistant at QPR, played a vital role in his move to The Den.

"Kenny called me, we had a long chat and he told me about the passion of the club and the owner, and that he might be interested in speaking to me," Holloway revealed.

"It was very important that I got that call – absolutely. I'm a people person, I'm all about people and I like to do things for the right reasons."

But what really convinced Holloway to take the job was the impression made on him by chairman John Berylson during their five-hour meeting last Friday.

"It's about finding a kindred spirit and John's made me feel so wanted that it feels right to come back to management here and now," he said.

"It's very, very rare that you actually get that. Hopefully I will repay his loyalty in me and I just can't wait to do it.

"Kenny and the chairman here worked hard together for six years and their friendship spoke volumes to me. I'm hoping to have a similar sort of relationship with John.

"Kenny waxed lyrical about the chairman and the working relationship he had with Andy Ambler, the chief executive. He believes I can have something similar with them.

"I want to make this club better and I think I did that in my last job at Crystal Palace. It's about dignity, doing your best and trying to help the club.

"This is the third London team I've been privileged enough to manage and I can't wait to get going really. I'd prefer it if we were further up the table but the challenge is a great one.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity. I fully understand how difficult the Championship is because of what other clubs are paying for players, but I believe if I can get the lads to understand what I want from them, it will be well worth it.

"If I can do that, I'll enjoy every day and hopefully that can rub off on them.

"The only downside of course is that, now I'm back in a job, I'll be judged on results again!

"When people look back at the history books, it will say that Ian Holloway was given the job on January 6, 2014, and what happens now is down to me."

Holloway is not one to dwell on the past but it's clear that his exit from Selhurst Park still grates – even though, on the face of it at least, he resigned.

He said: "When you're in the Premier League and you haven't won a game in a while, and you play Liverpool away, Man United away and then Tottenham at home, having just put a squad together at the last minute, it's very easy for people to say you're not good enough.

"That's the way it is going these days. Us managers who get a team promoted are very harshly dealt with sometimes. I half predicted what was going to happen.

"I got the job at Palace because Dougie Freedman left them mid-season, taking five of his staff with him. He felt Bolton was a bigger and better thing, so I took over and managed to stabilise the club.

"I negotiated the deal to sell Wilfired Zaha, which meant we got the money up front and got him back on loan, and I then managed to settle him down and help him get us up through the play-offs.

"In the summer we lost Glenn Murray to injury and had to build a team in the space of six weeks. I was judged straight away and we were very unlucky with the run of games we had.

"We only played one team down with us at the bottom – Sunderland – and beat them. A few weeks later, because of the way the press started looking for scapegoats, I thought maybe it was me that was the problem."

Now that he is back in management, Holloway believes he has a point to prove.

But he does not want his friendly, warm facade to hide the serious side of him.

"I wonder what sort of credibility I would have if I had a Scottish accent?" he said.

"I get called a country bumpkin and all sorts of things and I find that a total disgrace. I'm the only Bristolian whose doing anything and the only one who talks the way I do, but that doesn't make me anything other than a very good manager.

"I have to prove myself again and I can't wait to do that. I'm a football manager and very proud of it. I don't think my record is too bad either."

Holloway took training for the first time on Tuesday and admits his first challenge is to galvanise a squad of players which has lost 12 league games this season.

"I don't know anyone who enjoys losing, but confidence is a temporary thing – and nobody loses all of the time," he said.

"I believe that the spirit we will get, the belief I might be able to give the players and the enjoyment I create, whether we lose or not, will help them.

"Hopefully they've seen what I've managed to do in my career and they might listen to what I have to say. Alex Ferguson used to tell people the more he achieved, the more his players listened to him.

"My CV isn't looking too bad at the moment and I want to improve it."

Despite the Lions' lowly league position, Holloway is likely to give the club's existing players a chance to get results before delving into the transfer market.

"I would rather have a good look at who I've got first and try to encourage them," he said. "What's the point in changing the bath water if it's still nice and warm? It's not that dirty yet – a lot of the players have just got here.

"It's all about a blend and getting it right. There are probably some senior professionals who can't play in the same team together because the blend isn't right.

"Typical me, I told them that on Tuesday morning and if they don't like it I don't really care because I'm going to do what I think is right. The most important thing for me is that they never give up.

"That is the minimum expectation at a club like Millwall. You have to show passion and sometimes that goes missing. All I want from the boys is effort."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

34 thoughts on “Holloway relieved to feel wanted again in south London

  • January 9, 2014 at 14:12
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    I was slightly skeptical about Holloway's commitment at first because he didn't actually apply for the job, and perhaps he wouldn't have, had KJ not given him a call. However, now I've read everything he's said, I really feel he's fully passionate about the club. I hope he is successful and I can't see him doing any worse than Lom*s. I bloody love this man.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 14:22
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    Sounds good to me, passionate and won't take no crap, so onwards and upwards, hope the fans get behind him and give him time, sounds like we will with most of the comments so far.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 14:28
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    So JB contacted KJ and asked about IH.... KJ your a legend....

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  • January 9, 2014 at 14:38
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    A key comment from his at the press conference was that he wants defenders comfortable on the ball -

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    • January 9, 2014 at 15:09
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      @timchimes: He had better start looking for some then.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 14:49
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    If forde stays here he should be our captain. Sort the defence out first.

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    • January 9, 2014 at 15:57
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      @benzo: don't think he is a leader by nature though - on the other hand he is perhaps the only player guaranteed his place on a regular basis

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:00
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    It's not all about talk and "this is your life" stuff which has already been repeated a few times on here. It's all about "do" and if he can get this team playing as they should then it will be brilliant. I do not want to hear about what happened at CP, rather how he is going to put Millwall back on the rails and that of course will take time. let's get moving.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:01
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    ..........Yes, it's squeaky bum time for a few 'established' squad members. And not before time !

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    • January 9, 2014 at 17:05
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      @frank: i make u right there . them members being morro,dunne,shittu,robbo and id chuck mcdonald in there as well just for being a whingy t***. he needs to find form.

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      • January 9, 2014 at 18:02
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        @steveomfc5: just can't agree about Morison - when he first came to us people used to slate him and they were wrong - same now - he needs to have balls played into him that he can work off, not the rubbish delivery he is dealing with at present

        all the rest have to go over time

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        • January 10, 2014 at 01:25
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          @timchimes: i see what ya saying but he also needs to up his effort . he was shocking at the leicester game tbh

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:07
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    Always wanted IH at Millwall, he is a good manager and seems a decent guy who won't allow the players to not put in a shift. Now Trotter and Morison and needs to pull their socks up now and show their worth.
    We should stay up, we have decent players, IH needs to make Bailey captian and get the best out of him, he is our best passer and makes so much space for himself to pick a pass..
    Don't know what others think about Lee Martin but i had hoped for better from him.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:10
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    Gotta good feeling about MR H.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:20
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    Wonder if there might be a few bob to tempt Waghorn.......results went downhill as soon as he went back, or was that just coincidence ?

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    • January 9, 2014 at 16:00
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      @frank: completely right - he is a good player and we need a gradual overhaul of the squad to players who can actually play, from those who run around a bit

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    • January 9, 2014 at 16:09
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      Its now Thursday afternoon we have been talking all week about the manager, so roll on 3.0pm on Saturday and lets see if all the talk and print can be turned into points, lets hope and a clean sheet would also be a massive boost to team and our long suffering supporters. COYL!!!!!!! SLIGHTLY OVERCAST RUPERT

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:57
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    brilliant man! im in no doubt the right man to. i think we're gonna see a very different squad setup in terms of who starts and formation they start in. i think dunne,morro,shittu,robbo and mcdonald should be pretty wary in the next few months lol holloway has my full backing even if he can't keep us up ! which i can't see happening tbh we have the manager we're onside once again. it's time for the players to stand up and be counted or f*** off somewhere else where they can jog for the next 6 months in league 1

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  • January 9, 2014 at 15:59
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    Honest and likeable, but no mans fool.
    If you get the chance take a look at the press conference. What i also like about him is he says exactly what he wants and means exactly what he says, not a brown nose and no crowd pleaser. Pure genuine how rare is that ?
    now its down to business ollie get em ready and playing as honest as yourself and we'll except that. No more no less.
    COYLs MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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  • January 9, 2014 at 16:27
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    I find Holloway infectious. From what he has said, I have full faith in him and obviously hope he does great things for us. I am confident that even if we do go down, he'll get us promoted the following season. So do not fear fellow Millwall fans

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  • January 9, 2014 at 16:29
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    Booked my flight over for the Sheff Wednesday and Reading games and really looking forward to them. Thankfully the Yeovil game is not going ahead which will give Mr H more time on the training ground to give the players a bit more confidence they certainly need it. Unlike Lomarse, who I felt was more for himself, Mr H is genuinely doing more in getting the best from his players telling them to enjoy themselves takes a lot of pressure from them and the manager. I would be happy with a draw at 'Uddersfield and progressing on from there.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 16:33
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    Love the last two paragraphs above.
    "Typical me, I told them that on Tuesday morning and if they don't like it I don't really care because I'm going to do what I think is right. The most important thing for me is that they never give up.
    "That is the minimum expectation at a club like Millwall. You have to show passion and sometimes that goes missing. All I want from the boys is effort."
    Good man, and I really hope he is succesful

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  • January 9, 2014 at 18:12
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    Heard on talksport this morning that he's interested in signing Dobie from Blackpool already!

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  • January 9, 2014 at 19:11
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    Just listened to the interview on youtube. He sounds like hes going to be a legend. Hope he manages to get the team performing.

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  • January 9, 2014 at 19:29
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    Can wholeheartedly say that I a chuffed to bits with the appontment. Holloway is a perfect fit for our club as he is one of a very few with the type of character and attitude that reflects the type of people that are drawn to millwall football club. Subsequently I think he will get the backing of the fans and the focus and responsibility for the team performances good or bad will become the responsibility of the players who I feel have been let off for dire form by the fact the vast majority no time for Lomas...
    However there is still much to change as for too long now I have felt we had lacked players with the necessary mindset to play in a lions shirt i.e a hard work ethic, determination and self pride. After the sickenly embarrassing last result I would expect self respecting championship player to hide away in front of a large mirror and dedicate numerous extra hour to punishing training to ensure such s*** would re occur again. However I am sad to say I saw three of our senior players slumped on a sofa sipping milky Starbucks in a busy shopping centre. For me this is what is fundamentally wrong with our club, the players have no shame and no pride for the shirt they wear because if they did they would be ashamed to show their faces until things improved, not ralaxing where us paying fans can watch in disgusted

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    • January 9, 2014 at 20:10
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      @davesavagesleftfoot: ...........Starting here. Name and shame !

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    • January 9, 2014 at 20:55
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      @davesavagesleftfoot: this is a ridiculous comment - what is wrong with drinking coffee? I presume they had trained that day - you mustn't turn these things into witch-hunts - be adult - they are allowed out in public

      It isn't always quantity that counts in training; it's quality - doing things better -

      is this on Holloway's watch? sack him

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      • January 9, 2014 at 22:04
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        @timchimes: Apologies if you are happy with players that shrug off a 4-1 drubbing to a team two leagues beneath them then that's your prerogative. I however think the players should be ashamed to show their faces until they put such a shocking result right?!! For me it shows a lack of pride, if we were winning or scrap that simply competing then I'd be happy to see our players sitting on their arses enjoying a frothy coffee but that's not the case so until then they should keep their heads down until they have earned their copious amounts of pound notes each week...

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  • January 9, 2014 at 19:31
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    sounds like andy sucked his balls

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