Ian Holloway: Can we go up again or was I just a donkey blessed with good players?
Adam, Vaughan and Campbell are gone so my coaching staff and tactics will certainly be put to the test
Sunday 07 August 2011
During the week I gave my first press conference since we were relegated from the Premier League at Manchester United in May.
The first question was, "Why have you been so quiet?"
Well, it is a simple answer: I've not been saying anything because I simply didn't know what to say. It is difficult to put into words how awful the last few months have been.
I loved every minute of being boss of Blackpool in the Premier League. It was so exciting and the best year of my management career, probably my life. When it is not there any more it leaves a huge crater in your life and that has been hard to handle.
When I've been out and about, in the supermarket or walking with my wife, I have had people coming up wanting a chat or asking for an autograph. That has only started happening since all the media attention last year.
I thought it would drop off over the summer but it didn't. I'm not complaining because I know how fortunate I am, but it is hard to deal with all that when you are still so disappointed and down.
The worst thing is the realisation that we have to try and do it all over again and to tell you the truth, I have no idea how it will turn out.
We've lost our best players and because of the financial restrictions in place at our club – and quite rightly so, the chairman runs things brilliantly – we have found it difficult to make signings.
I have got Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips, which I am delighted about. They're great footballers and great characters. But a lot of the others I've brought in are a bit green and I have to work with them.
The big question is: can we do it without Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and DJ Campbell? Have we been brilliant for the last couple of years because we had those three, or were we that good because of my coaching staff and our tactics?
I like to think it is the latter but maybe that's rubbish, I'm an absolute donkey and I was just lucky to have a few exceptional players. But it is hard to be too down.
I went on a cruise during the summer with my wife Kim and it made me realise what I had. I was with the most beautiful person in the world, seeing some of the most beautiful places, so how lucky am I?
So I don't want sympathy. All I am saying is that it has been a nightmare few months and on the football pitch I have a hell of a job on my hands.
Having said all that, it was made a little easier by our result at Hull on Friday night. We were being written off left, right and centre – something I'm used to – but once again my team proved everyone wrong.
Our 1-0 win got the season off to a great start and cheered me up no end, and although there is a long way to go and a huge task ahead of us, it has put everyone in a positive frame of mind.
Even signing autographs in the supermarket will be a nicer experience this week.
We rode our luck and don't yet know what to do without the ball
We were nervous and edgy at first, because we don't know what we are doing without the ball yet, we haven't got our shape sorted out. But we settled down midway through the first half and anyone watching on TV will have seen how we always try to pass it, no matter how a match is going.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher's goal was terrific. He has been at this club for four years now, he's played in the bottom six divisions of the Football League, and he just continues to produce the goods. What a strike.
We rode our luck at the end, I'll freely admit that. But Hull missed their chances and that struck me as being a big difference from last season. A Premier League side would have taken those opportunities and we would probably have lost 3-1.
Why I'm not a fan of five-sub rule
One thing I hate is the five-sub rule. I don't see the point. If the big boys can have seven replacements then why can't the rest of us?
I had to leave several lads sitting in the stand and I had to tell another couple there was no point travelling because they wouldn't get a game. It's a kick in the teeth for them and it makes my life difficult trying to keep everyone happy.
I know why it's been voted for, because chairmen don't want to pay loads of players for doing nothing. But if they did things like my chairman there wouldn't be a problem. At our club if a lad doesn't get on, he doesn't get paid. If he does, he gets paid for every minute he is on the pitch. Simple. If everyone else did that then we could still have seven subs and us managers would be a lot happier.
Summer spending sprees make for a cut-throat Championship
Most people are looking forward to the new Premier League season and quite rightly so. But take a look at the Championship. Blimey, it's as good as it has ever been. They are all havinga go with the money they are throwing at it.
Leicester City in particular are really having a pop. Maybe they've been taken over by that couple from Scotland who won £160 million on the lottery because Sven Goran Eriksson is going truly berserk in the transfer market.
It doesn't guarantee success, but it does guarantee having a bit of quality on the pitch. What is intriguing this year is that the teamswho have come up are as dangerous as those who went down.
Brighton have had a remarkable rise and they play in a great fashion. They will be up there and so will Southampton.
We know from experience how good they are – they beat my Blackpool in the FA Cup last season. They have an excellent manager in Nigel Adkins and I expect good things from them.
So there is danger everywhere and that is why Blackpool fans should be very humble this year.
We are not better than anyone else. We might have been in the Premier League last season but we aren't any more.
We have to earn the right to win games and I'm warning all our supporters now that it will be farfrom easy.
I'd have Barton in a shot but he'd be banned from Twitter
I'm not sure why Joey Barton is going on Twitter to air his grievances against Newcastle but I tell you one thing – I'd have him like a shot. Sure he's got baggage but so have I – I never stop talking. He is a wonderful player and I'm not surprised Arsenal were rumoured to be in for him at one point.
I think I could get him playing well because he's the type of lad I'd love to manage. Mind you, first thing I'd do is tell him to step using bloody Twitter.
I just don't get it. What do you do on there? Is it a form of communication? If so, what's wrong with talking to people? We used to do that in the old days and I wish we'd get back to it.
I hate Twitter in particular because there is someone on there pretending to be me, which I just find baffling. What's the point? The bloke doing it must have something better to do. Go outside and have an ice cream, get a life, mate.
I'd ban it. It is absolute nonsense.
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