Ian Holloway: Owner must back Warnock at QPR
Successful chairmen and money men all know that patience is required if you are going to build a club capable of success
Sunday 21 August 2011
Without wanting to blow smoke up anyone's backside, there are some great examples of how to run a club.
One of the best is Steve Gibson at Middlesbrough. He is fantastic at what he does – patient, loyal to his managers and doing things in the best interest of the club and not himself. Darragh MacAnthony has been a godsend to Peterborough. They have done ridiculously well.
Unfortunately, not all are as good as that, which is why I will wait with bated breath to see what happens at QPR.
I know what Neil Warnock is going through at the moment. I was in charge at Loftus Road when Gianni Paladini arrived as chairman and I ended up going because they wanted their own man. That's the problem when someone buys a club. They tend to arrive with an idea of what they want and who they want to do it. For a manager that's not good news.
You either have to do a really good job and make it impossible for them to get rid of you – which I hope Neil does and think he will do – or you have to be so powerful they can't take you on. That's why Sir Alex Ferguson has survived. He is too good. No one would dare try to get the better of him.
I hope Tony Fernandes, the new owner at QPR, is a sensible bloke who does things the right way because it is a club I hold dear. I was in charge for five years up until 2006 and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I am proud I played a part in them not going bust, because they had all sorts of financial problems. At least with this new investment, the club's longevity is guaranteed.
Who knows, Mr Fernandes could be one of the good guys. There are plenty out there – contrary to popular belief, a chairman or owner can understand football and do things correctly. What the sensible owners realise is that all clubs have their ups and downs. It goes in cycles and during the bad times you have to be patient. Changing things every five minutes only breeds instability.
It is not as simple as chucking money at it and buying players left, right and centre. Infrastructure is important and you have to get that right. The first thing you do is build behind the scenes, starting with the youth system. That is what Ferguson did at Manchester United. That requires patience from an owner. Unfortunately a lot of these super-rich people don't have enough patience.
I'm still astounded that last year the two other managers who had got their clubs promoted to the Premier League were sacked during the season. Chris Hughton had led Newcastle to the Championship title by a country mile and Roberto Di Matteo had done a fantastic job at West Bromwich. They won promotion way before I did at Blackpool and they did it in more style. Yet I was the only one who kept his job. I was also the only one that got relegated, which is bloody stupid if you think about it.
I guess it sums up why I have a lot of respect for my chairman, Karl Oyston. I don't always see eye to eye with him but no matter what the result on a Saturday, or if I sign an absolute duffer, he sees the long-term picture and isn't prone to knee-jerk reactions.
I hope Fernandes has half the understanding and patience my chairman does because Neil is going to need his total backing. QPR's manager has enough on his plate trying to make sure he keeps his team in the Premier League. The owner's best chance of helping that is to back Neil because no one will have a better chance of leading the team to safety.
That isn't sticking up for a colleague, it's a fact. There is no one better equipped to keep QPR up and if the new board think otherwise they are making a huge mistake.
Wenger is a wonder
I'm not saying that Arsène Wenger should be exempt from criticism but most of the potshots that are being aimed in his direction at the moment are absolutely ridiculous.
As a manager you expect to take some stick. But I swear people love to jump on a bandwagon and that is what has happened here. Wenger's record walks before him and, to me, he is a genius.
I do think it has become more and more difficult over the years to run Arsenal, to make money and build a stadium, a training ground and different teams. He had so much success early on.
Have they ever replaced Dennis Bergkamp? Robin van Persie was probably meant to do that but he's had a lot of injuries. That's just what happens in football. Cesc Fabregas really wanted to go to Barcelona. You can't stop that. Emmanuel Adebayor wanted to leave. Arsenal don't pay the biggest wages but that is because they run their club correctly. Is that wrong? To me, it's just sensible.
Arsenal have benefited so much from having Arsène so I'd say to the fans, "Just trust the man." He is a fantastic character and a great judge of a player and I don't want to see any pressure put on him because he just doesn't deserve it.
If it does continue and the worst happens, he could choose almost any other club in the world. I'd be very wary of that if I was a Gunners supporter.
Liverpool for the title? With Charlie about, I Adam and Eve it
I jumped off my seat when I saw Charlie Adam swing in the free-kick from which Luis Suarez scored Liverpool's first Premier League goal of the season, against Sunderland on the first day. I will be following Charlie's progress closely as the campaign goes on, because I feel proud to have played a part, however small, in that lad's career.
It was a bit weird last season, because he wanted to leave Blackpool for Liverpool in the January transfer window and it didn't happen. With hindsight, should we have sold him then? What's done is done and there's no point going over it.
The only regret I do have is that we didn't offer him – and several other lads – big, improved contracts as soon as we won promotion to the top flight. But to do that you have to be 100 per cent convinced you are going to survive. My chairman at Blackpool probably wasn't, and quite rightly didn't want to risk getting lumbered with a huge wage bill if we came back down to the Championship.
But I have nothing but admiration for Charlie. Even though he wanted to leave, from January onwards every time he put a shirt on for Blackpool he tried as hard as he could and that is all I can ask.
The difficult thing for me is that I've got to fill the void left by his departure, which is ridiculously tough. I could search the world for the next five years and not find anyone who passes a ball the way he does.
He was a big fish in a small pond with us. Now he's a tiny fish in a massive reservoir but he will learn how to deal with that. It is a big step up but I think he can do it and be a success.
Depending on the way Kenny Dalglish chooses to play, Liverpool are going to have one hell of a frightening line-up this season. When Steven Gerrard is fit and they have him, Charlie and Lucas Leiva in the middle... well, good luck to any opposing team trying to stop that lot. There is so much creativity and goals in those three alone that it doesn't bode well for the rest of the Premier League.
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