Ian Holloway: Big Sam broke my toe... and my heart

Every winter I'm reminded of the time Allardyce crunched my foot – and his team added insult to injury with last-gasp winner

We might have lost in the cruellest of fashion to Blackburn – a stoppage-time goal is never nice – but am I down? Not at all.

Someone asked if I was fearful because we've lost. I don't fear anything to be honest. I tweak the nose of fear and put an ice cube down the vest of terror.

I was delighted with the performance. I thought we were absolutely great, against a team that defends really well and are strong. We gave them a goal as well – and to be fair to my midfielder Charlie Adam it was a great finish. I wish it had been up the other end but such is life, you can't have everything.

Charlie was trying to knock it back to our goalkeeper Matt Gilks and it went wrong. Sam Allardyce's team do that to you because the delivery of their balls into the box is so good that you get a little scared. After that own-goal I felt we had a little spell when we felt sorry for ourselves and made a few wrong choices. But second half was probably the best we've played since I've been here. It was exhilarating to watch and I felt we deserved something, but unfortunately the quality of the last finish from Brett Emerton hurt us.

Well done to young Matty Phillips though. We signed him on deadline day from Wycombe. He is 19 and I threw him on as a late sub at right-back, a position he's not really played before. He did great, scored a super goal and I'm excited about seeing what he can do over the season because the lad has bags of talent.

It was good to see Big Sam yesterday, a bloke I'm reminded of every single winter morning. That's because I still have a bit of trouble with my toe from when he broke it!

I was at Wimbledon at the time but having a beast of a time in my career so they sent me out on loan to Torquay. There was this game where I was playing right wing and Sam was centre-half for the opposition. I remember getting the ball, taking it past the full-back and Sam came across to get a tackle in. I tried to lift it past him and he put his great God-knows-what-sized boot through the ball and I kicked his stud.

Talk about pain. I've never felt anything like it, I was in agony. To be fair to him he did show a bit of sympathy because I remember him standing over me saying "you all right lad?" It was towards the end of the season and the pitches were rock hard so I was wearing boots with little moulded studs on. I remember looking at his boots and they had these huge giant studs on. I said: "I think I've bust me toe," and shouted something unprintable about why was he wearing them. He looked at me and said "I always wear these," and showed me these great big long studs. I managed to play on but at the end of the game when I took my boot off it was like a cartoon – the foot swelled up right in front of my eyes. I had an x-ray and oh dearie me it wasn't nice – a broken toe. Every cold day in winter it still gives me jip, throbs a bit and makes me think of Sam.

Zebras against Chelsea's lions

Life teaches us lessons and we learned a harsh one at Chelsea. Our lads reminded me of a zebra being grabbed round the neck by a lion. The lion wouldn't let us get up and we were the poor old zebra with fear in our eye not knowing what to do. Credit to the opposition though – Chelsea were absolutely class. Their skilllevels and standard of fitness were unbelievable.

My wife has seen a lot of football – she's had to, following me about for the last 25 years – and she said they all looked like robots. She said everyone moved the same. They all controlled the ball the same and passed it the same. Even the defenders looked as comfortable on the ball as the strikers. Like me, she just sat there thinking "good gracious me, welcome to the Premier League". It was like Will Smith in I, Robot – bang, goal, lovely, everyone's smiling; bang, another goal, they're smiling even more.

If it had been any other team playing against them in that match, I'd have loved every minute because some of the stuff was so good technically. Drogba did a scissor-kick-style backheel at one point, from a ball that bounced and was in mid-air. I've seen Maradona do a similar thing but not quite as good as that.

But the truth is, how can you reallyenjoy it when it's your team on the end of it? I got my tactics wrong. We got our defensive and midfield lines wrong, lost our shape and they killed us. However, the disappointing thing for me is that for the first time I saw my lads go "oh no" and their heads went down. They can't have that attitude. Last season when we conceded, we picked ourselves up and tried to get a goal of our own back. That is why we did so well.

We need to have the same attitude because in this league we are going to be in a war every week, and at Chelsea our troops were wiped away. We were murdered and dead within 12 minutes, 2-0 down and shell-shocked. I hated it to be honest. I detested the fact that we didn't leave Stamford Bridge with people saying "aren't Blackpool a good team?"

But let's be fair, maybe that was down to our opponent. You have to say that sometimes. It's like the old joke about a boxer. The bloke sits back on his stool, absolutely cut to pieces, eyes everywhere, and his corner says: "Come on mate, don't worry, he hasn't laid a glove on you yet." The boxer goes: "Well watch the referee because someone's hitting me."

We got battered and when we came back out for the second half you might have seen me on TV laughing with the fourth official. That's because I said to him "Can you count their players please? Can you make sure they've only got 11 on there because that first half they must have had more!"

Chelsea might have spent a fortune but what a team they have, and the fact they continue to improve is testament to the training they do and the coaching they have. They were superb – if I had a hat, I'd be taking it off to them.

I was the piano carrier and Wilkins would play the concerto

I haven't got many friends in football. I don't think anybody likes me to be honest but I don't really care.

I mean it. I've had a row with nearly every manager on the planet because when I don't get what I want I am nasty. I've always been that way. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of people in football I like and enjoy talking to but I wouldn't really call them mates because you haven't got time to keep in touch with them. Being a manager is so time consuming. You have so many things to do it is difficult to have proper friendships in the game.

It was great meeting Ray "Razor" Wilkins at Chelsea, though. He is a top bloke who I got to know when we played together in the 90s. What's great about Razor and myself is I was 29 when I went to QPR and he was mid-30s. There was a massive respect from me instantly and in the end I earned that back from him because he said the way I played gave him an extra two years on his career.

I did play in an unselfish way, probably an ugly way. I did the dirty side of the game – the horrible, workmanlike stuff: get a foot in and play a simple pass, nothing spectacular at all.

I don't think I could have played at the top level now. I'm not big or strong enough and I haven't got the skill.

I was taught to be in position if not possession, and to pass the ball early to someone who can spray it around. So when I met Ray it was a joy, because he could spray it. I'd just try to get a foot in and win it and give the ball to him.

I've always said I was a piano carrier. I would carry the piano on to the stage and let someone like Ray sit down and play a concerto.

If I didn't do my bit, he couldn't do his job because he'd look stupid sat down playing thin air! So I had to put the piano down, that was me. There was a lot of my type of player years ago. There isn't now because you've got to be able to do all of it, not just the dirty side. In fact I can't think of one-modern day player I could compare myself to... mainly because I wouldn't want to insult anyone!

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?