Where now for Ian Holloway? It was only four seasons ago that he was leading Blackpool in their ‘we will score more than you’, populist Premier League campaign. Now sacked at relegation threatened Millwall. the Bristolian appears to have lost his mojo.
Holloway is a man of strong emotions. Thus when things go well he can create a feeling of euphoria around his place of work. But in difficult times, his melancholy and darker moods can impact negatively on his teams. This is a man who needs to keep a keen eye on his emotional well-being.
When he was sacked at Leicester City, Ollie took time out of the game to refresh both himself and his football values. In that sabbatical, he abandoned a cautious 4-4-2 approach to the game and took on board the emerging Spanish way of playing. With a refreshed mind and soul, his Blackpool team were a reflection of his new thinking.
But after carrying them on his back to the Premier League, he would have been better advised to take another break from the game. Instead he moved directly to Palace, where he failed to provide the motivational spark to light up their Premier League campaign. That should have been a warning sign.
Take a two year break. Rebuild the emotional well. Refresh your imagination again. Where is the world game now? What are the new trends emerging? Travel. Educate. Learn. Re-Imagine. Bringing something new back into the game. Lead a trend!
But instead after a too short break, Holloway arrives at struggling Millwall. A year later he is sacked. Looking worn down and weary. A far cry from the ebullient soul who walked on the Irish Sea.
He made the obvious mistake of thinking that by working he could get his mojo back. Fine if your emotional well is full. But the sacking at Palace will have hurt Holloway’s sense of self. Two clubs in the Premier League, Two failures. Draining!
At fifty-one Ian Holloway can still transform the fortunes of a football club. But first he must transform himself. There is a time to work. And a time to go on a journey of learning and re-invention.
His quirky personality gives him permission to think differently. To be a trend-setter. But to do so he has to stimulate his mind and football soul. For when you are at the bottom of your emotional well, it’s very hard to think differently. And thinking differently is what makes Ian Holloway special.