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Football League

Championship Play-off Final: Ian Holloway fears sack could be reward even if Crystal Palace win £135m game

The former Blackpool manager hopes he will not suffer same fate as Adkins and McDermott

Ian Holloway has admitted that victory in tomorrow's play-off final could increase the chances of him losing his job as Crystal Palace manager even though it stands to earn the winning club a sum of up to £135m over the coming seasons.

The last few years have been full of examples of managers taking their teams from the Championship to the Premier League but then being dismissed as their side struggles to stay up. This season Nigel Adkins and Brian McDermott lost their jobs as Southampton and Reading managers respectively in their first top-flight seasons.

"Of course you are [at risk]," Holloway conceded before tomorrow's final. "You go up, you get the sack."

Holloway, who did also mention the counter-example of the rise of Brendan Rodgers, pointed to the season when he had taken Blackpool into the Premier League via the play-offs, after winning the play-off final in May 2010. The teams promoted ahead of Blackpool, namely Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, dismissed their managers during the following season.

"The two managers that went up were better than me," Holloway remembered. "Chris Hughton got the sack, Roberto Di Matteo got the sack. And I was the only one who didn't get the sack and we got relegated. There's no logic."

Holloway questioned why promoted teams struggling in the Premier League should see the manager as the person at fault.

"At the end of the day if you get up to that level and don't quite stay up, why is it the manager who isn't quite good enough?" he pondered. "Why isn't it your players or your squad or the club?"

But Holloway does not look for sanity in his chosen profession. "There's no logic in football management," he said. "If you're looking for logic then don't look at football. Not being funny, but you get sacked if you come second, you get sacked at the whim and a prayer of your owners.

"You thought I was fortunate I got to [the play-off final at] Wembley [with Blackpool in 2012], but that's only because I didn't get sacked by Karl Oyston at Blackpool when I was down at the bottom of the Premier League.

"The game has never been quite as crazy as it is now. Even down to [Roberto] Mancini not having the power after he's won the title. How can you have Rafael Benitez, an interim manager who wins the Uefa Cup and then he's gone? Where is football? All I can say is it's exciting, however you do it.

"If you're scared of losing your job then don't come and sit where I am. Whatever job you have, you must commit to it and give it your best and be given some sort of time."

But Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish said that the board would not simply blame the manager if they were struggling in the Premier League next season.

"You have to be realistic about where you are as a club and it's easy to blame one person," Parish said on BBC Radio Five Live. "We have a lot of work to drag our club into the 21st century. We won't be taking it out on the manager if things don't go perfectly."

Holloway is looking forward to the prospect of facing Gianfranco Zola's Watford, and admitted how much he admired their Italian manager. "I'm not on the same page [as him] as a footballer – not in a million years. I've just got the utmost respect for him, he is a wonderful fella. I don't even know him that well, but what you see is what you get with. He is so polite and dignified. The way he played the game was the right way.

"He was so entertaining and yet he is so humble. You wouldn't know how good he was. There is not one air of conceitedness about him. I'm delighted and honoured to be taking my team to play against his because they play in the way he was.

"I'm altogether more competitive, I've had to compete because I wasn't anywhere near as good."