The Sack Race Appoint Ian Holloway As New Columnist

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 24 July 2019, 11:07

The Sack Race is delighted to announce that Ian Holloway has taken a seat in our dugout for the 2019/20 season.

Since taking charge of his beloved Bristol Rovers in 1996, Holloway has forged a commendable career in management. From leading both Blackpool and Crystal Palace up into the Premier League, to winning promotion to the old First Division with QPR, the affable Englishman has transformed into one of the most compelling characters in the managerial arena.

Holloway’s wealth of experience as a player and a manager means he has a jukebox of tales and anecdotes at his disposal, while he’s never been short of the odd memorable metaphor or quirky quote.

Born in 1963, Holloway turned professional with hometown club Bristol Rovers in 1981. The midfielder racked up over 400 appearances in three different spells at The Gas, and helped win his hometown side the old Third Division in 1989/90, at the expense of crosstown rivals Bristol City. His playing career also saw him pull on the shirt of Brentford, Torquay, QPR, and Wimbledon, the latter of which he helped lead to Second Division promotion.

In his third and final spell at The Memorial Stadium Holloway became player-manager, and he proceeded to steer Bristol Rovers into the old Division Two play-offs. In his next job he was appointed manager of former club QPR, who suffered relegation down to the third-tier, only to return a few years later under his tutorship.

In 2006 Holloway was linked with Leicester, but come the summer had penned a contract with Plymouth where he would spend just short of 18 months at the helm, before leaving for the aforementioned Leicester. He memorably became the first Foxes manager in over 50 tears to win his first league game, however his tenure lasted only 32 games, and ended in relegation down to League One.

After a year out of management Holloway bounced back with Blackpool. Within nine months he’d created history after leading the Seasiders into the Premier League for the first time. Holloway rubbed shoulders with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, and Carlo Ancelotti, while he twice got the better of Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool. He was unable to prevent a return to the Championship with the club agonisingly losing their status on a dramatic final day, but their creditable tally of 39 points remains the highest for a relegated club since 2003.

Holloway led Blackpool into the Championship play-offs for a second time in 2012, but suffered a heartbreaking late 2-1 loss to West Ham in the final. However, a year later he’d become a Premier League manager once again, with Crystal Palace, after the club edged out Watford in the play-off final.

Holloway has since gone on to manage in the Championship with Millwall, with whom he saved from relegation, then returned for a second stint at QPR, his eighth and most recent spell in management.

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