Friday, October 25, 2013

Ian Holloway: Don't you think he looks tired?

“Six little words that could bring down a government … don’t you think she looks tired?”

Those words and a couple of questionable decisions ousted the fictional Harriet Jones from the Prime Ministership of Great Britain.  So powerful is one’s appearance that all it takes is speculative criticism and fading appearance to lose a grip on authority.

In related news, everyone’s favourite jumble-a-quote man Ian Holloway has left Crystal Palace by mutual consent after winning only one of his team’s eight Premier League games so far this season.  Former Bristol City manager Keith Millen will take over as interim boss as the club investigates possible new blood; names mentioned so far have included former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, a re-hired Neil Warnock and Western Sydney Wanderers manager Tony Popovic.

This may genuinely be one of those rare situations in football where the term mutual consent isn’t simply a kinder synonym for sacked.  A man whose straightforward nature and Worzel-type accent sometimes drew attention away from a keen football mind, Holloway was visibly exhausted only three months into the season and as he failed to balance a squad that boasted plenty of players but only a few of even an average level.  His flowing, offensive tactics have plenty of merit in the Championship but have now failed twice to transport to Premier League standard.

The travails of managing a club unprepared for life at the top level were apparent on his usually smiling features.  Recent pictures – including this one, usually a bog-standard "manager shot" – show a defeated man, albeit one who hadn’t yet surrendered.  When even the involuntary parts of body language betray a manager so quickly, doubts build about his ability to make effective decisions; as the stress increased, it became increasingly apparent that Ian Holloway’s future lay away from Selhurst Park.

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