Ian Holloway was loved by his own fans, other Football fans and fellow managers. It is sad to see him leave Crystal Palace. Firstly because he had done well to continue the good work started by Dougie Freedman and guide Palace into the Premier League. Secondly because he was such an entertaining character. His interviews would never be dour and boring, and along with Paolo Di Canio leaving there now seems to be a big hole in the Premier League.
Arsenal face Palace at Selhurst Park in Saturday's early kick-off, and Arsene Wenger spoke very highly of Holloway. "I think it is very early to separate with Ian Holloway because I think he has exceptional talent to manage a football team." Words from such a respected manager are sure to please Ian Holloway, and I'm sure he wont be short of offers to return to the game when he sees fit.
Wenger also went on to say "He is a football man. He has something that belongs to him that is special. You feel there is something in there that can take people on board with him." It's hard to disagree with those comments. Holloway is a unique manager. Not many can be compared to him. His exuberance and enthusiasm is admirable, and it is comparable to the football mad kid many of us become when watching a match.
If Ian Holloway and his Crystal Palace side had lost the Championship play-off final to Watford in May, it is fair to say that he would probably still be in the job. Crystal Palace were by no means expected to challenge for promotion last year. Yet they did and this overachievement led to the downfall of the former Blackpool manager. If they had lost then they would probably be performing well in the Championship this year and Holloway would have had minimal problems. The fact that they overachieved brought added pressure. They were in the top flight on view to the world, with more money available and the target to avoid immediate relegation. Managers don't last long these days, and chairmen can be quick to swing the axe in order to rescue their side. New managers often give a club a new impetus and this can sometimes be enough to reach certain targets. It can be quickly forgotten what managers have done in the past for the club, and they should be given a fair shot at the next challenge. Holloway didn't get that opportunity and for numerous reasons did not feel himself.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge