Originally published online by the Shields Gazette on May 31st, 2013.
Crystal Palace’s play-off final win over Watford this week means media-favourite Ian Holloway is back in the Premier League.
Over the years, Holloway has come out with witticisms and blunt assessments that have made him am a media-darling and a fan favourite – not just at the club he’s in charge of, but fans across the country.
His soundbites have, at times, been simply brilliant. Following a bad run with QPR, he once said: “I have such bad luck at the moment that if I fell in a barrel of boobs I’d come out sucking my thumb”.
On his arrival at Blackpool, he told the press: “I love Blackpool. We’re very similar. We both look better in the dark”. And, on Cristiano Ronaldo: “He is six foot something, fit as a flea, good looking – he’s got to have something wrong with him. Hopefully he’s hung like a hamster.”
Holloway’s droll Bristolian accent is sure to be given plenty of airtime as, admittedly, it is a pleasant relief from the usual drones of top-tier English football when someone with an ounce of personality comes along.
But too much of a good thing can get tedious, and too much exposure to Holloway can leave even the biggest fans of the former midfielder to switch him off.
And, with Sir Alex Ferguson now retired and Harry Redknapp condemned to the Championship and unavailable to provide headline-grabbing rants and damning criticisms of their players, Holloway and Sunderland’s Paolo Di Canio will take up the mantle of go-to men for quotes.
Depending on transfer business this summer, both Sunderland and Palace are likely to find themselves in the bottom third of the table. Two managers with robust, vociferous opinions at the bottom of the Premier League could provide a feast of amusement.
Sunderland v Palace, then, could provide one of the encounters of the season, although it’s likely to be more entertaining on the touchline rather than on the pitch.
Holloway is a typical case of someone knowing they’re funny and playing up to it; he’s the class clown of the Premier League, egged on by the media at every opportunity. In short supply, Holloway is entertaining but to hear from him every week eventually becomes boring.
It’s a shame that he reduces himself to this clown status, because – particularly in recent years – he boasts an impessive managerial record. Palace are the second team he has achieved promotion to the Premier League with in the last three years, and he also won promotion with QPR from League One in 2004.
Holloway has been away from the Premier League for two years and so hasn’t been given the constant attention that he will be given next season and will, no doubt, crave.
Every journalist and football show, be it on TV or radio, will want his quotes so that they don’t miss out on the piece of the Holloway pie.
It will be a jarring exposure to a man who actively tries to entertain and, quite often, just looks daft.