Holloway as Millwall manager in 2015
|Full name||Ian Scott Holloway|
|Date of birth||12 March 1963|
|Place of birth||Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, England|
|1987||→ Torquay United (loan)||5||(0)|
|1991–1996||Queens Park Rangers||147||(4)|
|2001–2006||Queens Park Rangers|
|2016–2018||Queens Park Rangers|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
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. He rejoined Queens Park Rangers as manager on 11 November 2016.
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, with a wide selection of quotes and soundbites being printed.
A native of Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, east of Bristol, Holloway grew up in Cadbury Heath, where his mother, Jean, lived in the same council house until her death in April 2018. 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.
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 QPR board was that the constant rumours linking Holloway to the vacant managerial position at Leicester City were causing too many problems for the club. 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.
On 28 June 2006, Holloway became the manager of Plymouth Argyle, and promised to take the club to the Premier League. 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."
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. 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 1⁄2-year contract. His departure, however, was met with negativity from Argyle fans.
After an open top bus tour in Blackpool, after his Blackpool side won promotion to the Premier League some three years later, Holloway said:
|“||I had a year out of football and had to think about what went wrong in my life. I was given some decent values from my mum and dad in our council house, and one of them was honesty and trust and loyalty. And I forgot to do all that at Plymouth. I left them. And I made the biggest mistake of my life.||”|
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.
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. 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. Plymouth won the match 1–0 as Holloway's former charges came back to haunt him. 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."
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. 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, 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.
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.
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:
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. Holloway was made aware of the fine over the phone while playing golf with his wife at Shawhill Golf Club in Chorley. He offered his resignation to Karl Oyston, but it was rejected.
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.
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.
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.
On 3 November 2012, Holloway agreed to join Crystal Palace as manager, although caretaker manager Curtis Fleming remained in charge of the team for the match on that day. He took charge of his first game on 6 November, which Crystal Palace won 5–0 against Ipswich Town. On 27 May 2013, Holloway guided Crystal Palace to promotion to the 2013–14 Premier League after beating Watford 1-0 through 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. On 23 October 2013, after a 4–1 loss against Fulham, Holloway left the club by mutual consent after less than a year in charge.
On 7 January 2014, he signed two-and-a-half-year contract with Millwall. He then guided the club to Championship safety for the 2013–14 season as Millwall finished 19th, four points above the relegation places. In the 2014–15 season, as Millwall dropped in the relegation places in The Championship, Holloway admitted that he had become an unpopular manager among Millwall fans. On 10 March 2015, following a 4-1 defeat at home to Norwich City, Holloway was sacked for the first time in his managerial career, with the team second from bottom in the Championship and having lost five of their last six games.
Return to QPR
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."
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. 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.
|“||We still feel that we're lucky. Yes, our children have a severe disability, but it's an invisible disability and in every other way, they're perfect, and so we're thankful for that. To experience the sheer trust and love of a deaf child is amazing. The girls' deafness has touched and enhanced our lives. We're better people because of it.||”|
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". 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, Blackpool's groundsman, Stan Raby, gave them seven turkeys.
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.
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. The pair attended the event and sat on a panel to share their opinions and experiences of racism with the audience of young people.
- As of match played 6 May 2018
|Bristol Rovers||13 May 1996||29 January 2001||247||90||70||87||36.4|
|Queens Park Rangers||26 February 2001||6 February 2006||252||100||71||81||39.7|
|Plymouth Argyle||28 June 2006||21 November 2007||71||28||23||20||39.4|
|Leicester City||22 November 2007||23 May 2008||32||9||8||15||28.1|
|Blackpool||21 May 2009||3 November 2012||161||62||43||56||38.5|
|Crystal Palace||4 November 2012||23 October 2013||46||14||14||18||30.4|
|Millwall||7 January 2014||10 March 2015||62||14||19||29||22.6|
|Queens Park Rangers||11 November 2016||10 May 2018||80||26||14||40||32.5|
Queen's Park Rangers
- Football League Second Division promotion: 2003–04
- Football League Championship play-off winner: 2012–13
- Little Book of Ollie'isms (2008)
- Ollie: The Autobiography of Ian Holloway (2009)
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