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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 10:28 GMT
Holloway blamed for Argyle exits
Ian Holloway
Holloway has been criticised by Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton (Getty)
Plymouth Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton has blamed former boss Ian Holloway for January's high-profile departures.

He claims Holloway, before quitting for Leicester, advised the board not to open talks over a new contract with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, now at Wolves.

And Stapleton says Holloway promised winger David Norris a move in January.

Stapleton, whose club faces Leicester on Saturday, told Plymouth's website: "I've got to let the fans know something of what's been going on."


He added: "These are the facts.

"I know some people will think that the timing of this is not the best, seeing as we play Leicester at the weekend, but these things have been on my mind for some time now."

Holloway left Argyle in November to take over at the Walkers Stadium, but Stapleton suggests it was decisions taken by the former manager while still in charge which forced some of their best players out, not new boss Paul Sturrock.

The club sold top-scorer Ebanks-Blake to Wolves for 1.5m at the beginning of January, but Stapleton says Holloway was responsible for the club not offering the former Manchester United youngster a new deal.

Sylvan Ebanks to Wolves - 1.5m
David Norris to Ipswich Town - Undisclosed
Akos Buzsaky to QPR - 500,000
Dan Gosling to Everton - 1.5m
Barry Hayles to Leicester - 150,000

"It has been well documented that the only way we could get Sylvan to sign for us from Manchester United was to agree to a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave if a club offered us 1.5m for him, which eventually happened," said Stapleton.

"What a lot of people do not know until now was that we tried to talk to his agent about a new contract which would have seen that clause removed for due financial consideration.

"But, when the matter came up at a board meeting, Ian told us not to do it.

"Ian said he was not happy with Sylvan's level of fitness and sometimes questionable attitude, and said that if we received an offer of 1.5m for him, we should accept it.

"What many people did not know was that the clause was only triggered in January 1, 2008 - on January 3, Wolves came in. A lot of clubs seemed to know about the clause," he added.

And Stapleton says it was a promise by Holloway which led to Norris' departure on deadline day to Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee.

"The problem began because, last summer, he was told by Ian Holloway that he could leave the club in January," Stapleton said.

David Norris
Norris left the Pilgrims on deadline day to join Ipswich (Getty)

Stapleton claims the club had a number of meetings with Norris during January and each time Norris stated he wanted to leave, meaning Sturrock had no option but to let him go if a suitable offer came in.

He also says it was Holloway's call to allow Hungarian international Akos Buzsaky to go to QPR on loan before a permanent 500,000 deal in January.

Stapleton claims Holloway had agreed new wages with the Hungarian before his agent came back wanting more money.

"Akos's agent wanted a chunk of money, which caused a bit of a fuss. We were quite against paying that extra money because we felt it wasn't appropriate for a player who was already with us," Stapleton claimed.

"Ian then said he was not fussed if Akos went. He said he was not universally liked in the dressing-room," added Stapleton, who insisted the club did not have to sell the player.

On teenage defender Dan Gosling's 1.5m move to Everton, Stapleton says there was little the club could do.

"The seeds of the deal with Everton for Dan Gosling had already been sown by Ian Holloway long before Paul Sturrock arrived," said the Argyle chairman

Dan Gosling
Dan Gosling left for Everton for 1.5 million. (Getty Images)

"We knew that Everton would come in at some time for Goz and that we couldn't stand in his way when they did," he said.

Finally on Barry Hayles, who has rejoined Holloway at Leicester, Stapleton says the striker wanted to leave the club at the end of the season and that the 150,000 they got for him was a good price.

"In the end, we got more than we paid for him, so it was a good deal," he added.

Despite his comments, Stapleton wanted Holloway to stay at Home Park and guide them into the play-offs.

"We didn't want Ian to go. We wanted him to see things through with us," Stapleton said.

Argyle have not won a league game this year and have slipped down the Championship table. They are currently in 12th position and are five points off the final play-off spot.

Holloway stunned by Argyle claims
07 Feb 08 |  Leicester City
Ipswich sign Norris from Plymouth
31 Jan 08 |  Ipswich Town
Ebanks-Blake ties up Wolves move
11 Jan 08 |  Wolverhampton Wanderers
Holloway completes Hayles signing
31 Dec 07 |  Leicester City


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