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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 09:44 GMT
Holloway column

Ian Holloway
Horses for courses

The Plymouth manager gives his inimitable views on football and life in general in his weekly column.

This week, Ollie enjoys a day at the races with his players.

He also talks about what makes a good manager, the Championship's revolving door, the fans' takeover of Ebbsfleet and the man who married a dog!

WHAT DO THE PLAYERS DO IN THE INTERNATIONAL BREAK?

We gave them a slightly different week this week. I've hardly seen them, which is great, because they don't like me anyway!

On Tuesday we got a coach organised and took them to a local café for breakfast. Then they went on to the races at Exeter and had a Chinese meal on the way home.

We took all the young first-year pros as well and they all had a little flutter. It's bad to teach them gambling, really, but it was only for one day.

Some of our bigwigs were wandering around getting tips and losing money, but three of our young boys put a couple of quid on this 100-1 shot that came galloping in first.

Man in betting shop
Don't do it, kids

They won £250 while all my main boys were losing, which was brilliant!

I never had a bet myself, I wouldn't know how to put one on. I've never seen a rich gambler and I've never seen a broke bookie either.

I want to become addicted to a lot of things, but not gambling. I'm addicted to my wife, though - I can't leave her alone!

PAUL CONNOLLY'S GOAL AGAINST NORWICH

He's played 150 games for us and that was his first-ever goal.

Believe it or not, I said to him at half-time "are you ever going to score a goal for us?" and he laughed and said: "Yeah, one day I will!"

Within 10 minutes of the restart, he scored - unbelievable!

GARY JOHNSON'S BUM DEAL

Bristol City manager due to bare his backside in a shop window after losing a bet when Liam Fontaine scored against Wolves.

Bristol City manager Gary Johnson
Don't do it, Gary

Has he done it yet? He's got to get his bum cheeks out in Burton's, hasn't he?

You can't break a promise, you've got to go there and do it. It won't be a pretty sight, but who cares?

Get your butt cheeks out, Gary! That'll put a few Christmas shoppers off, won't it?

20,000 FANS RUNNING A CLUB

'MyFootballClub' website buys Blue Square side Ebbsfleet, with 20,000 members getting to pick the team.

It's complete madness. They've got to vote every time they pick their team - absolute load of old poppycock, that is. All you need is one leader, one songsheet and away you go.

You need to be at the coalface with the players, day-in, day-out, seeing who's in form and who's not.

Ebbsfleet United ground
Hands up who wants the doors painted blue?

You can't pick the team from a distance and have that many opinions bouncing around. It'll all end in tears.

Well done for putting your £35 up but let the manager get on with the business in hand.

Twenty thousand people running the club - that's going to have to be one hell of a room they book when they hold their annual general meeting.

ANOTHER TWO CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGERS GONE

Preston's Paul Simpson follows Burnley's Steve Cotterill out of the exit door.

I think I'm one of the longest-serving managers in the division now. I've done a year and a week and I've just about managed to stave off the cold steel on the back of the neck.

There's a league table, somebody's got to be at the bottom, somebody's got to be at the top, but does it really matter at this moment in time? No.

The only time it really matters is in May and these knee-jerk reactions from chairmen are absolutely diabolical.

606: DEBATE

The Championship is the worst because you've got the biggest prize waiting for the three teams who go up. The play-off final is the richest game there's ever been.

How long was Simmo at Preston? Not that long. He sold his best player, a goal-scorer, in the summer, so what do the board expect?

They gave us a whupping the other day and played really well - none of it makes any sense to me.

But that's football and we all have our briefcases packed ready to go. I've lasted five years at two clubs and I tell you what, that's an absolute miracle.

I keep patting myself on the back and, to be honest, I could walk in any ground now and one or two of them might still cheer me, which is a right result.

Is it something to do with my management, or is it my good looks? No, it can't be that, because I've got a face like a robber's dog.

MAN MARRIES DOG

Man in India marries bitch in an attempt to lift 'curse' after he stoned two dogs to death. His 'bride' wore a sari and a flower garland and was given a bun to celebrate.

Are you winding me up? Holy Mackerel! What can I say - that's a wuff day with a difference, that is! Every dog has his day and today is wuff day. That just beggars belief, that.

Well I hope she was good looking. Did she look all right with that sari on? Good gracious, I've never heard anything like it.

The dog who got married
That bloke must be barking

And why did he stone those dogs to death? How dare he? That's cruelty to animals and now it's double cruelty because he's gone and married one.

Did the dog know anything about this? And when they said 'I do', did she bark it out or what? I can't get over it - he should be locked up.

And there's me thinking I'd seen it all on Jerry Springer when a bloke walked on and married this little horse.

But this takes the biscuit - after stoning poor two dogs, he's allowed to marry another one. Very strange.

PUNTER'S QUESTION I

Chacor: "Hello from Singapore, Ollie! That's right, Singapore. Fairly far from Plymouth I gather. Where's the most interesting place in the world you've been, and if you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?"

Most places are a long way from Plymouth! Singapore's supposed to be lovely, although I've never been.

The place I'd most like to go in the world is somewhere my son went last summer - Thailand. He said it's like paradise - mind you he is 19 and he likes his drink.

A Briton on holiday
Brits abroad - gotta love 'em

The nicest place I've been to, apart from Plymouth on a sunny day - and I mean that most sincerely - is the island of Capri in Italy. Absolutely stunning.

You've got a little square there when you can sit around with a nice gin and tonic and people-watch, trying to guess which country they come from by the clobber they're wearing.

The Americans stand out a mile with their white socks and their pumps and their shorts. The English are quite obvious as well and I have to say the Italians put us to shame with their style. It's all co-ordinated, all smart.

PUNTER'S QUESTION II

GOOD 1878: "Hello Ollie. I would like your opinion on why great players rarely make great managers. What are the qualities that make ordinary players like Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho brilliant managers?"

You have to be able to have empathy with players. The great footballers are very gifted and even they don't know how they do some of the things they do.

They just go out there and do them and some of them can't understand why other people can't do them.

When my mentor Gerry Francis was playing for England at his peak, he lost a couple of years through injury and decided he wanted to help other players.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex deals in hairdryer currency

He had a wonderful way of coaching you and talking to you, but he could also step in and take your place and show you how you should be doing something.

You need to be able to get down to other people's level and some great players can't do that. It's about your delivery and how you inspire people. Most of it is motivation.

These great managers find the currency certain players think in. It's like kids, to get them to behave right you can't just beat them up all the time, can you?

You can't smack them, you have to find their currency and say 'If you do this you'll get this' and inspire them - and I think that's what all great managers do.

They make you think the team is more important than you - great individuals can't win things on their own.

PUNTER'S QUESTION III

Billymcvilla: "Ollie I've read your column many times and I've always found it entertaining. But there was one thing I always wanted to know. What is your favourite type of cake?"

Cake? What the hell does he want to know that for?

Black Forest gateau's lovely, but if I was going to choose anything for a pudding it would be fudge cake with a nice bit of ice cream on top.

My mum also used to cut me a nice slice of madeira cake when I was younger and I still like that with a cup of tea. Sometimes I used to dunk it in my tea, although you have to be quick because it has a tendency to fall in!

Ian Holloway was talking to Chris Charles.



SEE ALSO
Fan website agrees club takeover
13 Nov 07 |  Ebbsfleet United
Struggling Preston sack Simpson
13 Nov 07 |  Preston
Man 'marries' dog to beat curse
13 Nov 07 |  South Asia
Listen to archive Ollie interviews
09 Feb 07 |  Football


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