Elliot Grandin: 'Holloway's mad, he likes to joke around – but he's been very important for me'

The Blackpool manager saved his career and the midfielder would like to pay him back when the Seasiders face West Ham tonight


"He's crazy, but in a good way"

Five months on from his arrival at Blackpool, Elliot Grandin's voice still goes up half an octave when recalling his first meeting with manager Ian Holloway – the sound of revelation. "I was surprised [by him]. I thought, 'England's like this?'" he says and laughs. Yet when it comes to emphasising the influence the Premier League's most celebrated maverick has had on Blackpool's – and Grandin's own – season, the midfielder's tone becomes significantly more sober.

For all the joie de vivre Blackpool have brought to the top flight in their first season there in 39 years, they know stakes are high for the match with West Ham at Bloomfield Road tonight, as will Holloway. "He's mad, he likes to joke around, but he can be very serious too," Grandin points out. "He's someone who's very close to his players and he's very protective of us. We're a real group. It's not a case of him being apart from the players – we're all together."

The Frenchman would not, however, argue against Holloway's more publicised side being a major Blackpool strength. "He's an individual, a bit crazy, but in a good way," says Grandin. "He brings a lot of positivity into training, and it's great for us as players to have a coach like that."

That personality has seeped through every facet of Blackpool's approach this season. Though promoted Hull briefly delighted in 2008-09, their manner was never quite as bold. Grandin says the squad does not share the outside world's marvel at their progress. "We always knew what we could do. We have a very strong team ethic." The question now is whether Blackpool can avoid the type of new year slump that ruined Phil Brown's side. Holding on to Grandin's fellow midfielder Charlie Adam will help.

"It's not going to be easy," admits Grandin, "because the other teams know us now. But we have to stick to our values; scoring goals, pushing forward instead of sitting back. We're always to going to keep attacking."

Grandin experienced the other side of the coin on loan at Grenoble, whose ultra-defensive approach eventually ended in relegation last season. "It's not a good way to play," he asserts. "Above all, in football, you have to score goals, take risks. If you lose playing like that, at least you've given everything you can. Ian Holloway wants us to pass the ball, and his vision of how football should be played is the same as mine."

The 23-year-old seems to see Holloway as a football saviour, rescuing his promising career after a few wrong turns. "He's been very important for me. I'm lucky to have fallen into working under a coach like him."

After failing to make a dent at Marseilles, who he joined aged 20, many in France thought Grandin washed up by 22, exiled to ply his trade with CSKA Sofia. "It was an adventure," Grandin says. "Bulgaria wasn't easy but it was something I needed – to go far away, to be open to new ideas and it did me good. I was able to concentrate on my football away from France. It's thanks to my time in Bulgaria that I've ended up in the Premier League."

A solid start is not about to make Grandin get carried away and he acknowledges the West Ham match is pivotal to Blackpool's future – "They are a direct rival for staying up" – but sees good times ahead if the present can be safely negotiated. "We've learned a lot in the first part of the season. We've conceded quite a few goals towards the end of matches – for most of the players in our squad it's their first season in the Premier League, so with experience, we'll get better at finishing games."

As a quick learner himself, Grandin is well placed to comment.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories