BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 12:55 GMT, Monday, 31 May 2010 13:55 UK

Big time Blackpool

Holloway and the Blackpool players address the crowd at a civic reception
Holloway and the Blackpool players address the crowd at a civic reception

By Chris Charles

Everyone wants to be Ian Holloway's friend at the moment it seems.

After Blackpool's fairytale win in the Championship play-off, the Seasiders' manager has had to quickly adjust to his new life in the Premier League - as his phone has not stopped ringing.

The incredible game at Wembley, where Blackpool saw off Cardiff by the odd goal in five, was billed as 'The £90m match' - the richest game in football history - and suddenly everybody wanted a piece of Holloway.

"I've got some of the most famous agents in the world ringing me," Holloway told BBC Sport.

"They've never bothered with me in the past, and they'll have a shock because I've told them we won't be spending the sort of money they're talking about.

"What they won't realise is that we'll do the thing we've always done. I'm looking for good people, quality people, not people who want to pick up a big wage."

Adam is Blackpool's most expensive signing at 500,000
Adam is Blackpool's most expensive signing at 500,000

Holloway's amazing success, in which he led a team tipped for relegation from the Championship into the promised land, has been built on team spirit and he is not about to see those carefully laid foundations ripped apart by a bunch of prima donnas with pound signs in their eyes.

That's not to say he won't be bringing any new faces in, but first he has to sit down with chairman Karl Oyston and work out what funds are available to him.

"Basically there are two things I need to know - is there a transfer kitty and budget and what is my overall playing budget?" Holloway explained. "Once I've been told those things, I can go to work."

Several players, including Hameur Bouazza and Daniel Nardiello, have already been released, while the loan players who played such a key part in Blackpool's promotion, including DJ Campbell, Stephen Dobbie, Barry Bannan and Seamus Coleman, have all gone back to their parent clubs.

Campbell, who was on loan from Leicester City, has stated his desire to return to Bloomfield Road.

Holloway defends attacking philosophy

"Would we have got promoted without them? No," admitted Holloway. "So I've got a big problem. As for signing any of them permanently, this is what me and my chairman have got to sort out."

Arguably the manager's best bit of business this summer has already been done, with the news that key midfielder Charlie Adam has pledged his immediate future to Blackpool.

The Scot, a £500,000 capture from Rangers, was the first name on Holloway's hit-list when he took over - and he repaid the manager's faith with a series of scintillating displays - including that free-kick against Cardiff - which saw him sweep the board at the player-of-the-season awards.

Holloway said: "Just before the kick-off at Wembley, Charlie ran over to me and I gave him a bit of a hug and said in his ear 'You were born for this day'. "If we hadn't got promoted, I think he'd have been gone already, but now we've gone up, I don't think wild horses would be able to drag him away."


Adam finished the season as top scorer and was the focal point in the manager's bold 4-3-3 system, which Holloway admitted could have backfired - 'like writing a cheque with your mouth that your body can't cash'.

But while he has pledged to stick with the attacking philosophy that lit up the Championship, he conceded the Premier League is going to be a whole different ball game.

"It's not going to be all-out attack. When you're away from home at the likes of Chelsea you don't really have the ball that much to attack them," he reasoned.

"I'm going to have to work at a defensive structure - you can tell by some of our defending in the play-off final that we're not the best at that.

"When you see the quality these teams have got, it's pretty unbelievable that we're going to be actually standing on the pitch trying to stop them next season. I've got lots to do, but what a challenge.

"I've got a wonderful team, a wonderful spirit and sometimes in life that's what you need - it can take you further than you ever dreamed. Whether that will be the case in the Premier League, who knows, but we'll have a right go.

"You might see us take some whippings, but we'll still keep our dignity."

Holloway also revealed he has already been welcomed into the coveted Premier League manager clan.

First time in top-flight since 1971
Club motto is "progress"
Bloomfield Road capacity is 12,555
Most expensive signing: Charlie Adam, £500,000
They were top of Division One when the Second World War broke out

"I've had some lovely messages from Premier League managers. I don't want to name names, but it's been fantastic," he said.

"I'll enjoy going to their offices and having a glass of wine, but my wine will be a lot cheaper. Sir Alex Ferguson's wine bill for the season will probably be equivalent to my entire budget!"

All eyes will be on the release of next season's fixtures on 17 June to find out who Blackpool will be up against first.

In the meantime, Holloway and his charges - and indeed the whole of Blackpool - are going to enjoy their moment in the sun.

He said: "We're all still basking in it and enjoying it. It's a whole new world for all of us and we've given everyone else hope.

"To see the joy it's brought everybody - and the boost to the town - is fantastic. Someone told me the publicity we've managed to generate would have cost the council over £20m."

Southern hails Blackpool team-mates

Holloway's only pang of regret is that his beloved father, Bill, who died in 1987, was not around to witness the euphoria.

"I really missed my dad. It felt terrible that he wasn't there. But I know he was watching," he said.

"Apart from that it was the perfect day. This is the most wonderful feeling I have ever had in my life, aside from seeing my kids born and getting married. And if you can't enjoy times like this, you may as well pack it in."

Print Sponsor

see also
Blackpool set for boom - Holloway
23 May 10 |  Championship
Blackpool 3-2 Cardiff
22 May 10 |  Championship
Championship play-off final as it happened
22 May 10 |  Championship

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites