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Ian Holloway

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Title: Ian Holloway  
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Subject: 2012–13 in English football, List of Plymouth Argyle F.C. managers, List of Blackpool F.C. seasons, Gerry Francis, Scott Sinclair
Collection: 1963 Births, Association Football Midfielders, Blackpool F.C. Managers, Brentford F.C. Players, Bristol Rovers F.C. Managers, Bristol Rovers F.C. Players, Crystal Palace F.C. Managers, English Autobiographers, English Football Managers, English Footballers, Leicester City F.C. Managers, Living People, Millwall F.C. Managers, People from Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, Plymouth Argyle F.C. Managers, Premier League Managers, Premier League Players, Queens Park Rangers F.C. Managers, Queens Park Rangers F.C. Players, Sportspeople from Gloucestershire, The Football League Managers, The Football League Players, Torquay United F.C. Players, Wimbledon F.C. Players
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Ian Holloway

Ian Holloway
Holloway as Blackpool manager in 2010
Personal information
Full name Ian Scott Holloway
Date of birth (1963-03-12) 12 March 1963
Place of birth Kingswood, Gloucestershire, England
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980–1985 Bristol Rovers 111 (14)
1985–1986 Wimbledon 19 (2)
1986–1987 Brentford 30 (2)
1987 Torquay United (loan) 5 (0)
1987–1991 Bristol Rovers 179 (26)
1991–1996 Queens Park Rangers 147 (4)
1996–1999 Bristol Rovers 107 (1)
Total 598 (49)
Teams managed
1996–2001 Bristol Rovers
2001–2006 Queens Park Rangers
2006–2007 Plymouth Argyle
2007–2008 Leicester City
2009–2012 Blackpool
2012–2013 Crystal Palace
2014–2015 Millwall

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Ian Scott Holloway (born 12 March 1963) is an English former football manager and former player. He now works as a pundit on Sky Sports' Coverage of the Football League Championship.

A midfielder, he began his career at hometown club Bristol Rovers in 1981, going on to play for Wimbledon, Brentford, Torquay United (on loan), back to Bristol Rovers for a second spell, Queens Park Rangers and, finally, a third spell back at Bristol Rovers, where he became player-manager before ending his playing career in 1999. He has also managed Queens Park Rangers, Plymouth Argyle, Leicester City, Blackpool and Crystal Palace. As he did with Blackpool three years earlier, Holloway managed Crystal Palace to promotion to the Premier League in May 2013, but after the club had won only one of their opening eight games he left, by mutual consent, on 23 October 2013 after less than a year in charge. On 6 January 2014 Holloway signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Millwall; this was terminated in March 2015.[1]

He is known by the nickname "Ollie", which is also the title of his autobiography. Holloway has a reputation amongst football fans for his Bristol accent, off-the-wall interviews and amusing answers to questions from the media,[2] with a wide selection of quotes and soundbites being printed.


  • Playing career 1
  • Career statistics 2
  • Managerial career 3
    • Bristol Rovers 3.1
    • Queens Park Rangers 3.2
    • Plymouth Argyle 3.3
    • Leicester City 3.4
    • Blackpool 3.5
    • Crystal Palace 3.6
    • Millwall 3.7
  • Managerial statistics 4
  • Honours 5
    • Player 5.1
    • Manager 5.2
  • Stress test 6
  • Personal life 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • Further reading 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Playing career

A native of Kingswood, east of Bristol, Holloway grew up in Cadbury Heath, where his mother, Jean, still lives in the same council house. Holloway went to Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldland Common at the same time that Gary Penrice was at Chase School for Boys in Mangotsfield. They still remain close friends today. His father Bill – an amateur footballer – worked as a seaman and a factory worker.

Holloway began his playing career as an apprentice with his hometown team Bristol Rovers, turning professional in March 1981 and making his league debut the same year. He usually played on the right side of midfield, and made his name as one of the more promising players in the Third Division (now League One). After four seasons at Rovers, he was transferred to Wimbledon in July 1985 for £35,000.

Holloway's stay at Wimbledon was a short one. In March 1986, after less than one year at the club, he was sold to Brentford for £25,000, where he also spent just a little over a year. In January 1987 he joined Torquay United on loan, playing five times. In August 1987, after two years in London, Holloway returned to Bristol Rovers for a fee of £10,000.

Back at Rovers, who were now playing "home" games at Twerton Park in Bath, and under the wing of new Rovers manager Gerry Francis, Holloway flourished. In four seasons, he missed only five games. When Francis was appointed manager of First Division side QPR in 1991, one of his first signings was Holloway, for a fee of £230,000 in August 1991. Holloway spent five seasons at QPR, playing more than 150 games for the club, before returning to Bristol Rovers for the third time in August 1996, this time as player-manager.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Total
1980–81 Bristol Rovers Second Division 1 0 1 0
1981–82 Third Division 1 0 1 0
1982–83 31 7 31 7
1983–84 36 1 36 1
1984–85 42 6 8 2 10 1 42 6
1985–86 Wimbledon Second Division 19 2 1 0 3 0 23 2
1986–87 Brentford Third Division 30 2 3 0 2 0 36 2
Torquay United (loan) Fourth Division 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
1987–88 Bristol Rovers Third Division 43 5 43 5
1988–89 44 6 44 6
1989–90 46 8 46 8
1990–91 Second Division 46 7 10 1 5 0 46 7
1991–92 Queens Park Rangers First Division 40 0 1 0 4 0 45 0
1992–93 Premier League 24 2 2 1 4 0 30 3
1993–94 25 0 0 0 1 0 26 0
1994–95 31 1 4 0 3 0 38 1
1995–96 27 1 1 0 2 0 30 1
1996–97 Bristol Rovers Second Division 31 1 1 0 2 0 34 1
1997–98 39 0 4 1 2 0 46 1
1998–99 37 0 4 0 2 0 43 0
Career total 598 49 38 5 39 1 705 58

a. Exact details for his Bristol Rovers appearances not known, so all included in one season for each stint at the club (1984–85 and 1990–91) until specific season details known
b. All Football League Trophy results are included in totals

Managerial career

Bristol Rovers

Holloway took over a club that was struggling both on and off the pitch. In his first season in charge of Rovers, he led the club to 17th place in Division Two (now League One). The next season, however, Bristol Rovers gained fifth place and made the playoffs. Despite taking a first-leg advantage of 3–1 against Northampton Town, Rovers subsequently lost 3–0 in the second leg and went out 4–3 on aggregate in the semi-finals. The 1998–99 season ended with a somewhat disappointing 13th place. Holloway retired as a player following that season, having played more than 400 matches for Bristol Rovers, to concentrate fully on management. In 1999–2000, his last full season at the club, Rovers finished 7th, narrowly missing the playoffs.

Queens Park Rangers

In February 2001, midway through the 2000–01 season, Holloway was appointed manager of QPR, where he was given the task of keeping the team in Division One. He failed to do so, as QPR finished second from bottom and were relegated to the third level for the first time in 34 years. Despite the relegation, Holloway stayed on and rebuilt the side. After steadying the ship in 2001–02, and a near miss in 2002–03, Holloway and QPR were promoted back to the second level in 2004, finishing second behind Plymouth Argyle.

Holloway's first full season in The Championship ended with a respectable 11th place, and during the following season 2005–06, the club continued to hover around mid-table.

Holloway was suspended (sent on gardening leave) as manager by Queens Park Rangers on 6 February 2006. The reason given by the Q.P.R board was that the constant rumours linking Holloway to the vacant managerial position at Leicester City were causing too many problems for the club.[3] As it turned out, the Leicester job went to Rob Kelly, and QPR went on to finish 21st, just one place above the relegation positions.

Plymouth Argyle

On 28 June Holloway became the manager of Plymouth Argyle, and promised to take the club to the Premier League.[4] On 12 August, after Plymouth beat Sunderland away 2–3, in celebration of his first away win as manager, Holloway offered to buy every one of the 700 fans who made the 805-mile (1,296 km) round trip a drink: "Anyone who travelled up there please send me a letter. I would love to buy you a drink."[5]

Following press speculation, on 21 November 2007, Holloway submitted his resignation to the Plymouth Argyle board, with speculation that he was about to be offered the vacant managerial position at Leicester City.[6] The Plymouth board issued a statement saying he was still employed by Plymouth and tied legally to his contract, and the board's decision on whether or not to accept his resignation would be made on Friday, 23 November. Having agreed a compensation package for his services, he was announced in a press conference by Milan Mandarić as Leicester manager on 22 November, signing a 3 12-year contract. His departure, however, was met with negativity from Argyle fans.[7][8]

After an open top bus tour in Blackpool, after his Blackpool side won promotion to the Premier League some three years later, Holloway said:[9]

Leicester City

Holloway made history when he became the first Leicester manager in over 50 years to win his first league game in charge, beating Bristol City 2–0.[10]

On 7 February 2008, in a buildup to a match against Plymouth at the Walkers Stadium, Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton spoke negatively of Holloway for allowing several high-profile players to leave the club before joining Leicester. A total of five players left Plymouth in the January transfer window, which he claimed was all Holloway's fault.[11] Holloway, stunned by the claims, had his lawyers look at the statements, while Mandarić accused Stapleton of "sour grapes" over Holloway's move to Leicester, saying Plymouth Argyle should be thankful for what he had achieved during his time there.[12] Plymouth won the match 1–0 as Holloway's former charges came back to haunt him.[13] Winning just nine out of 32 games, Leicester were relegated from the Championship on 4 May 2008 entering for the first time ever in their, then one hundred and twenty four year, history the third tier of English football. Leicester City being up to that time one of only a handful (nine) of English teams that had never been out of the first two tiers of English football.

On 23 May 2008, following the club's relegation, Holloway and Leicester City parted company by mutual consent. Reflecting on his time at Leicester, he said "Leicester City is a marvellous club and I am as devastated as anybody that this great club suffered relegation. I gave 100% to the cause but unfortunately we ran out of time. The fans here are a different class and deserve a lot, lot better. I'd like to wish everyone connected with Leicester City well for the future – the club will always remain close to my heart."[14]


On 21 May 2009 it was reported that Holloway, after 364 days out of football, was set to be announced as the new manager of Blackpool following the departure of their caretaker manager Tony Parkes. The appointment was confirmed later the same day with Holloway signing a one-year contract with the club.[15] His first league game in charge of the Seasiders was a 1–1 draw with his former club Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on 8 August 2009, the opening day of the 2009–10 season.

Nine months later, he guided the club to the Premier League after winning the play-offs following a sixth-placed finish in The Championship,[9][16] becoming only the second Blackpool manager (after Les Shannon in 1970) to win promotion in his first full season. Holloway described the achievement as the best moment of his life, aside from seeing his children born.[17]

Holloway followed this up in late July by leading Blackpool to victory in the South West Challenge Cup annual pre-season tournament. It was the first time a Premier League club had taken part.[18]

Before the start of Blackpool's first top flight season in 40 years, media reports suggested that Holloway was set to resign as manager following an alleged dispute with club chairman Karl Oyston. However, at a press conference held at Bloomfield Road on 11 August to announce the arrival of four new players, Holloway swiftly denied the rumours, describing his relationship with Oyston as "absolutely fantastic". And adding:

The following day it was reported that Holloway had signed a new two-year contract.[20]

On 27 January 2011, the Premier League fined Blackpool £25,000 for fielding what they believed to be a weakened team against Aston Villa on 10 November 2010. Holloway, who initially threatened to resign if punishment was dealt, made ten changes to the team for the fixture.[21] Holloway was made aware of the fine over the phone while playing golf with his wife at Shawhill Golf Club in Chorley.[22] He offered his resignation to Karl Oyston, but it was rejected.[23]

On 22 May 2011, Blackpool lost their Premier League status after losing 4–2 to champions Manchester United at Old Trafford, coupled with results elsewhere, and returned to The Championship after one season.[24]

Holloway marked his century of games in charge of Blackpool with a victory, the 37th of his reign, over Ipswich Town at Bloomfield Road on 10 September 2011.[25]

In May 2012, Holloway guided Blackpool into The Championship play-offs for the second time in as many seasons in the division.

Holloway's win percentage in League games as Blackpool manager was 37.8% (54 wins from 143 games). At the time of his departure, Holloway was the joint-ninth (with Harry Potts) longest serving Blackpool manager in terms of Football League games in charge.

Crystal Palace

On 3 November 2012, Holloway agreed to join Crystal Palace as manager,[26] although caretaker manager Curtis Fleming remained in charge of the team for the match on that day.[27] He took charge of his first game on 6 November, which Crystal Palace won 5–0 against Ipswich Town.[28] On 27 May 2013 Holloway guided Crystal Palace to promotion to the 2013–14 Premier League after beating Watford 1-0 with a penalty converted by Kevin Philips in extra time. In the 2013–14 Premier League season, Crystal Palace started with just three points from the first eight games as Holloway came under pressure to keep his job.[29] On 23 October 2013, Holloway left the club by mutual consent after less than a year in charge.[30][31]


On 6 January 2014 he signed two-and-a-half-year deal with Millwall.[32] He then guided the club to Championship safety for the 2013–14 season as Millwall finished 19th, four points above the relegation places.[33] In the 2014–15 season, as Millwall dropped in the relegation places in The Championship, Holloway admitted that he had become an unpopular manager with the Millwall fans.[34] On 10 March 2015, for the first time in his managerial career, Holloway was sacked, with the team second from bottom in the Championship and having lost five of their last six games.[1]

Managerial statistics

As of 7 March 2015
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Bristol Rovers 13 May 1996 29 January 2001 247 90 70 87 36.44
Queens Park Rangers 26 February 2001 6 February 2006 252 100 81 71 39.68
Plymouth Argyle 28 June 2006 21 November 2007 71 28 23 20 39.44
Leicester City 22 November 2007 23 May 2008 32 9 8 15 28.13
Blackpool 21 May 2009 3 November 2012 161 62 43 56 38.51
Crystal Palace 4 November 2012 23 October 2013 46 14 14 18 30.43
Millwall 6 January 2014 10 March 2015 62 14 19 29 22.58
Total 871 317 258 296 36.39



Bristol Rovers


Queen's Park Rangers
Crystal Palace

Stress test

In June 2004, Holloway took part in the BBC series Stress Test. The documentary addressed the fits of rage which were disrupting Holloway's home life, with the help of psychologists and an anger management expert. Holloway said afterwards: "If I hadn't done that programme, I wouldn't be sitting here now. Before I did it, I believed that I was a person who was kind, considerate, and believed in free speech. The anger management expert showed me I was a jumped-up, obnoxious little git who wouldn't listen at home because of what happened at work. If I'd carried on the way I was, I would have destructed everything I had." As a result, he changed his attitude, and painted Promotion, an abstract canvas in the style of Jackson Pollock which hangs in the lounge of the family home.[35]

Personal life

Holloway met fellow Bristolian Kim when she was aged 14, and after marrying, he nursed her through lymphatic cancer. The couple have four children: William, twins Eve and Chloe, and Harriet. The twins were born profoundly deaf, as both Ian and Kim had a recessive form of a certain gene meaning that there was a higher chance that they would have deaf children. The doctors told them that there was only a remote possibility of any other children being deaf, but Harriet was also born deaf. Talking about his children, Holloway said: "it's been a fight all the way along to get proper provision for the girls, especially a good education. There's been rows, tribunals, appeals and endless phone calls. We have been labelled as bolshie parents. My view is that every child in the world has the right to be educated properly and whether your eyes or ears don't work is irrelevant. But the system at the moment makes it difficult."[36]

For the last three years of his QPR career, Holloway commuted daily from Bristol to London, a 250-mile round trip, so the children could attend a deaf school in Bristol. As a result, he developed severe sciatica.[36] They then moved to St Albans when the children were of secondary school age, for the same reason. Holloway has learned sign language, and his quirky media-friendly quotes have made him a high-profile campaigner on deaf issues and concerns.[37]

Holloway on his children:[36]

During the gap between leaving Leicester and his appointment as Blackpool manager, Holloway became involved with the self-sufficiency movement, acquiring a brood of chickens and learning sufficient carpentry to build what he described as "Orpington Manor".[38] When he moved north after taking over at Blackpool, the family brought with them their 33 chickens, three horses, two dogs and two ducks. After they settled into their home near Pendle Hill,[39] Blackpool's groundsman, Stan Raby, gave them seven turkeys.[40]

Holloway is well known for his comments in post-match interviews, which are often quoted in the national media. His creative use of metaphors has made him one of the most popular interviewees and one of the cult personalities in English football. In June 2005 a book of his quotes, "Let's Have Coffee: The Tao of Ian Holloway", was published; and in June 2006 he came 15th in a Time Out poll of funniest Londoners.[35]

His autobiography, Ollie: The Autobiography of Ian Holloway, co-written with David Clayton, was first published in 2007, with an update in 2009. In August 2008 the Little Book of Ollie'isms was published, also co-written with David Clayton. Holloway also wrote the foreword for The Official Bristol Rovers Quiz Book, published in November 2008.

Holloway is an Honorary Patron of the anti-racist organisation Show Racism the Red Card. He attended an educational event at Bloomfield Road in 2009 along with then Blackpool club captain Jason Euell, who had just recently been the victim of racist abuse.[41] The pair attended the event and sat on a panel to share their opinions and experiences of racism with the audience of young people.

For the 2010–11 season, Holloway agreed to write a weekly column for The Independent on Sunday. For the 2012–13 campaign, he wrote for the Sunday Mirror.

Holloway cited, in an interview to BBC programme Football Focus, that part of his decision to move to Crystal Palace was to be closer to family following the expectation of his first grandchild.


  • Little Book of Ollie'isms (2008)
  • Ollie: The Autobiography of Ian Holloway (2009)

Further reading

  • Murply, Alex (1 June 2005). Jones, Richard; Faragher Steve, ed. Let's Have Coffee: The Tao of Ian Holloway.  


  1. ^ a b "Ian Holloway sacked as Millwall manager". BBC Sport (BBC). 10 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "The comic wisdom of Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway". BBC. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "QPR suspend Holloway".  
  4. ^ "Holloway has top-flight dream".  
  5. ^ "Holloway offers to buy the drinks".  
  6. ^ "Holloway resigns".  
  7. ^ "Holloway appointed Leicester boss".  
  8. ^ Spiro, Colin (22 November 2007). "Holloway appointed Leicester boss". London:  
  9. ^ a b Chris Wheeler (25 May 2010). "Blackpool's road to riches: The future's, er, tangerine as Olly's Barmy Army party with pride". London:  
  10. ^ "Jimbo hails Ollie arrival".  
  11. ^ "Holloway blamed for Argyle exits".  
  12. ^ "Holloway stunned by Argyle claims".  
  13. ^ "Leicester 0–1 Plymouth".  
  14. ^ "Leicester & Holloway part company".  
  15. ^ "Blackpool unveil Holloway".  
  16. ^ Longmore, Andrew (23 May 2010). "Blackpool reach promised land". London: The Times. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Big time Blackpool".  
  18. ^ "Seasiders Win Cup".  
  19. ^ "Blackpool boss Ian Holloway dismisses quit rumours".  
  20. ^ Bretherton, Chris (12 August 2010). "Ian Holloway Signs New Two Year Deal With Blackpool".  
  21. ^ "Blackpool fined £25,000 by Premier League" – BBC Sport, 27 January 2011
  22. ^ "Ian Holloway: They said Charlie was on his way to Anfield... but he was sat next to me in my office". The Independent. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Holloway offers resignation after Premier League fines Blackpool". The Independent. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "Manchester United 4–2 Blackpool". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  25. ^ Click Lancashire. "Blackpool FC 2 Ipswich Town 0 – Match Report". Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Holloway enters his new Palace". FFO. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  27. ^ "Ian Holloway accepts Crystal Palace manager role".  
  28. ^ "Crystal Palace 5–0 Ipswich". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "D-Day for struggling Holloway at Palace as under-fire boss will learn his fate". Daily Mail. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  30. ^ "Crystal Palace boss departs Premier League strugglers". BBC Sport. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  31. ^ "Holloway leaves Palace by mutual consent after club calls press conference... with ex-gaffer's 'best mate' Pulis favourite for job". Daily Mail. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  32. ^ Fifield, Dominic (6 January 2014). "Ian Holloway appointed Millwall manager on two-and-a-half-year deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  33. ^ "English League Championship 2013-14". Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  34. ^ "Ian Holloway 'gutted' as Millwall lose 3-0 at Middlesbrough". Sky Sports. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  35. ^ a b Chalmers, Robert. "Ian Holloway – In a league of his own". gamblog. Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  36. ^ a b c Sweeney, Eamonn (30 May 2010). "Blackpool rock to Holloway's beat".  
  37. ^ Campbell, Denis (2 November 2003). "Triumph and despair: Ian Holloway". London:  
  38. ^ See SoccerAM interview at
  39. ^ Chris Wheeler (30 October 2010). "Ian Holloway: The weird, wonderful and wild life of the Blackpool boss". Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  40. ^ "Premier League Underdog Shows Fight". Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  41. ^ "News & Events". Retrieved 12 September 2014. 

External links

  • Ian Holloway career statistics at Soccerbase
  • Ian Holloway management career statistics at Soccerbase
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