Ian Holloway and Martin O’Neill

Written by Dan on January 15, 2011

I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve never really drunk the Holloway Kool-Aid. It’s not that I necessarily disagree with much that he says, most of it is basic common sense, it’s more that I’ve met a thousand Ian Holloways and they’re all the same; entertaining enough, but only in small doses.

I can’t fault his approach on the pitch, Blackpool are truly a breath of a fresh air, but we have to be careful not to be patronising. That said, let’s be honest, it will be a major achievement if they stay up and I’ll be amazed if they manage a third season in the top flight.

Yes, I say that without any sense of irony and fully aware of our respective positions.

Not that Holloway seems to care, he’s here to take as much Sky money as he can, while he can, anything more than this season at the trough will be a huge bonus. This really is a gravy train for Blackpool and a temporary one at that.

Holloway has always been famous for his outspoken nature, but he’s becoming a caricature of himself encouraged all the way by the sound bite-hungry media:

  1. Feed him a hot topic with cameras rolling.
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

Rent-a-gob, rent-a-quote, whatever, it’s just pantomime and another symptom of the dumbed down world we inhabit where his frequently incoherent rants are treated as sage-like words from a modern day prophet.

It’s all fun and games until you become the target of his ire. Then, not so much, as many Villa fans have just discovered.

I said yesterday that I hadn’t read his latest outburst, but I had a good idea what he said. Actually, as it turns out, he went a bit further than I thought, but I’m personally not that bothered. His opinion of Aston Villa was of little consequence before, it’s of no more relevance now.

He may have a point about Charlie Adam’s valuation, he might be stretching things a bit, but his faux indignation is a little hard to swallow. He certainly does not have a point about the size and stature of Aston Villa Football Club, but he knows that full well, he’s just milking his 15 minutes, which appears to be fast becoming his modus operandi.

We’ll see how long that approach keeps Blackpool in this league, but instead of crying foul about being disrespected so frequently, he might try knocking that chip off his shoulder and seeing if showing a little respect himself might generate some deference of a reciprocal nature.

I listened to Holloway’s rant recorded during Gerard Houllier’s post match press conference in astonishment, not for what he said – I agree that managers should be allowed to utilise their squads during the course of a 38 game season however they like – and not even so much the way he said it, as unhinged as it was at times. What I struggled with was picturing how it came about.

Mat Kendrick of the Birmingham Mail explains that he had been sat at the back of the room and interrupted a question that was actually aimed at our manager in our media room.

Again, I think it’s entirely ridiculous that the Premier League could censure a club over the selection of its own players, but I’d half like to see Blackpool fined for the team selection at Villa Park just to see Holloway’s excuse for not quitting as he threatened to during this particular rant.

Martin O’Neill

Avram Grant has been as dignified as Holloway has outspoken, and under some extremely trying circumstances too, namely working for Gold and Sullivan. The very strong word on the street is that Grant’s goose is finally cooked ahead of the Hammers’ game against Arsenal and none other than Martin O’Neill has been lined up to replace him.

O’Neill’s Villa legacy, in my eyes, was forever soiled by the timing and nature of his exit from Villa Park, but if he does pop up at Upton Park it will be the final straw as far as I’m concerned.

Perhaps Randy moved the goal posts somewhat, understandably so given the expensive players left unused, but if MON found conditions so egregious that he felt compelled to walk out five days before the season commenced, I struggle to see how West Ham is an attractive proposition.

It might well present the opportunity to really twist the knife into us in the shape of the relegation battle, but I would sincerely hope he wouldn’t be motivated by such spite. I don’t really believe that will happen, but it’s an added complication we could do without.

I’ve nothing against West Ham at all, but if they do replace Grant with O’Neill, I’d enjoy their exit from this league, should it end that way, every bit as much as I did Newcastle’s as a result of their off the wall behaviour.