Ian Holloway: 'When I don't get what I want I'm not normally very nice'

When it comes to anger management Crystal Palace's manager cannot guarantee to keep calm and carry on as he faces his third Championship play-off final in four years

After an eventful sojourn at Blackpool for three of the only four years in his entire 30-year career spent outside London or the West Country, one of the great characters of English football is back down south and slowly getting his bearings again. "Watford – we don't hate each other or anything, do we?" Ian Holloway enquires about Crystal Palace's opponents in tomorrow's Championship play-off final.

Having been taken aback by the mutual loathing between Palace and their semi-final opponents Brighton, he is pleased to be reassured that there is no great history with Gianfranco Zola's club; not least because he admires Zola – "A wonderful man" – so much. Even his previous criticism of Watford's highly controversial policy of importing so many players from Udinese has now been tempered with admiration for the "genius" manner in which Zola has blended them into a winning team. All this is the quieter, less familiar side of "Ollie", sitting behind a desk at Palace's Beckenham training ground and acknowledging the issues with anger management which he is not sure are entirely in the past. "That's the hardest thing for me in my life. When I don't get what I want, I'm not very nice normally, and I don't think that has a good effect on people."

The first person he will think of at Wembley is his father, who died at the age of 59 some 25 years ago, and missed all of his son's managerial career. "He isn't here and won't have ever seen it and I can't tell you how that feels. But I just hope he knows, wherever he is. My emotion is what it would have meant to my dad, what it means to me now, what it means to the rest of my family. You can't do this job without being completely immersed in it but you've also got to know that emotion inside you – sometimes you have to take it back and just do your job. And that's difficult. Really difficult."

He has experience on his side, and therefore Palace's. Blackpool reached the play-off final twice in three years, beating Cardiff in 2010 but losing last season 2-1 to a late West Ham goal. In between, they were relegated on goal difference with 39 points.

"Yeah, that really did hurt. It's your pride, because you've got relegated. It's a horrible word, a horrible word. But there's always the following season, a new chance, and you've got to have optimistic eyes. If you haven't got that you're wasting your time and letting your club down."

Blackpool almost made it again but, faced with the prospect of building yet another new team a year ago, he resigned and returned to London in November, having had spells at Wimbledon, Brentford and QPR. At Palace, he joined a club who have their own memories of what it means to be in the Premier League but have never managed to stay there for more than one season at a time – on four occasions.

Like many before him, Holloway was surprised by the size of the club and their catchment area. "We sold 35,000 tickets in four days, how big a club is that? It's just massive. It starts with a small step, it starts with energy, good people and good players, and I think we've got an abundance of them."

Although particularly keen to continue bringing through youngsters from a thriving academy, as "there's nothing better than homegrown players", he also accepts that Palace's ambitions require a share of the Premier League money on offer as soon as possible: "The money's gone up, good gracious me, the level of those teams has gone up and the prize is even bigger. We need to be one of the ones that get the money one day, otherwise those [other clubs] are getting so rich it's scary. And however rich my four owners here are, they won't be able to bridge that gap."

Palace have made some £15 million from the sale to Manchester United of Wilfried Zaha, who scored both goals in the second leg at Brighton after they wisely insisted on keeping him until the end of the campaign.

Holloway is understandably keen to deflect all the pre-Wembley attention away from him and instead praises players such as Julian Speroni, the Argentinian goalkeeper signed from Dundee almost 10 years ago. Dropped after the first half-dozen Premier League games, he was written off in some quarters yet stayed loyal to the club, and went on to be voted player of the season for a record three years running.

Speroni has missed only eight games in six seasons, and Holloway says: "He's sort of found his home, he really fits with Palace. Jules is Palace through and through. He knows the fortunes off the field have fluctuated, people have had battles about the ground and [former owner]Mr [Ron] Noades and gawd knows what, they've ended up in administration, but he knows we'll just keep going. It's largely down to people like him."

Tomorrow Palace will miss the Championship's leading scorer, Glenn Murray, in what Holloway insists will be "a great game". If the tension precludes that, there will at least be vicarious entertainment in the spectacle of the new Ollie trying to remain calm on the sidelines.

You win some, you lose some

2010: Blackpool 3 Cardiff 2

Key moment All five goals came in the first half and Brett Ormerod struck his side's decisive third just before the break.

Holloway said "You cannot get drama like that, can you? You can't write a script like that. You can't. I want to be surrounded by people who encourage me and I encourage them. That's what life's about."

Upshot Blackpool came straight back down after a poor second half to the season.

2012: Blackpool 1 West Ham 2

Key moment Ricardo Vaz Te found himself unmarked after 87 minutes and he punished Blackpool with a late winner.

Holloway said "Some things in life aren't fair, are they? I have to believe that we will eventually catch up with teams like West Ham, in terms of what they pay. It might take a while."

Upshot Less than three months into the new campaign Holloway packed his bags to take up the vacant managerial post at Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace v Watford is on Sky Sports 1 tomorrow, kick-off 3pm

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?