Ian Holloway: Terry must win every game he plays and behave like a saint in the process
Even Balotelli is thinking 'I'd better not muck about or I'll be left out like Carlos'
Sunday 30 October 2011
I can't sit here and claim I've never made a comment that I shouldn't have on a football pitch. In the heat of a game, especially when things are going against you and you're frustrated, you tend to say things that you shouldn't.
I remember one training session at Bristol Rovers where I slaughtered a Welsh and a Scottish lad because they were winding me up. I was shouting all sorts of horrible things to try and provoke a response and I was bang out of the order.
I was being racist. But even in years gone by, there is no way I would have made a comment about the colour of someone's skin.
Nowadays it is an even more sensitive issue than it was then and if John Terry has said something untoward, he will be in serious trouble – and quite rightly so.
I do have some sympathy for him. He is one of the most high-profile players in the country. There is pressure on him to win every single game he plays and to behave like a saint in the process.
At QPR things went against Chelsea so badly that he became a very angry man. You can see that from the TV pictures. And when you're angry, you say things you might not mean.
No one can condemn him yet because nothing is proven and no matter how much we love a good scandal in this country, we should not forget that people are innocent until proven guilty.
We will see what happens but the sad thing is that this – and the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra incident – has tarnished the sport and it is football and its image which is suffering.
City have a slick presentation
Given the outcry after Manchester City's win over United, you'd have thought they had the title in the bag.
Yes, City were jaw-droppingly good at times, and in David Silva they have possibly the most talented player on the planet – Messi aside. But everyone appears to have forgotten that it wasn't an even game. United had a man less. Even Barcelona struggle when they've got 10 on the pitch.
But fair play to City because they deserve credit. I could tell last year when we played them that they were really going places because they were doing everything right, both on and off the pitch.
I'm talking about the little things. They had covered the metal fences around their ground with leather emblazoned with the City badge.
Upstairs in the sponsors' lounge, someone had thought to make sticks of rock that they handed out to all the Blackpool guests. Running through the rock it read "City v Blackpool". That was a wonderful touch.
They have their own aeroplane, again with the badge on. So we are talking about a club that is on the way to being a worldwide brand.
On the pitch Roberto Mancini is getting it spot on too, and I think he has really benefited from dealing so well with the Carlos Tevez controversy. The players now respect the boss 100 per cent. They think he is strong, so much so that even Mario Balotelli is thinking: "I'd better not muck about or I'll be left out like Carlos."
Manchester United will bounce back. Sir Alex Ferguson will make sure of that. With Chelsea involved, it could be one of the most exciting Premier League campaigns we've seen in years. But I suggest everyone calms down because City certainly haven't won it yet, whatever some sections of the media seem to think.
Keep your head or we lose ours
A lot of people have told me they reckon football management is easy. With all respect, they are clueless and living in cloud cuckoo land.
Look at Steve Kean or Mick McCarthy and tell me that being in charge of a team, with all that expectancy and all those supporters hurling abuse because they think they know better, is a walk in the park.
In their situation you can only hope your chairman has a bit of common sense and gives you plenty of time to sort things out. I am lucky because I have that at Blackpool. When we went into the Premier League, we had scraped into the play-offs, finishing 32 and 26 points behind Newcastle and West Bromwich respectively.
By Christmas the next season, the managers at those clubs – Chris Hughton and Roberto Di Matteo – had been sacked. We were lower than them in the League and went on to get relegated, but my chairman likes stability and he sees the bigger picture. It's a pity others aren't the same.
I was delighted for Kean that Blackburn beat Newcastle in the Carling Cup. But I still fear for him because the owners Venky's talk about how Blackburn should be finishing in the top six. If that's the case, they are going to have to give Kean a lot more money than they have been doing.
I was delighted for McCarthy that Wolves came back from two down against Swansea last week to get a draw because he was slaughtered when he made a double substitution. What happens? They come back and the fans are all smiles at the end.
The industry has gone crazy and sometimes the supporters are guilty of losing perspective and they think that screaming at the manager is the way forward. I can guarantee you that every manager in the Premier and Football League is working his backside off to make his club a success.
We know what it means to the fans and we accept we are going to get stick when things aren't going well, but you have no idea the difference it makes to be supported and backed. Cut us a bit of slack and help us out.
Sullivan hasn't thrown in the towel – and he's right to keep going
Good on Neil Sullivan, the Doncaster goalkeeper who has just signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club for another two years. By that time he will be 43 and that's a hell of an age to be playing to.
I packed in at 37 but I could have carried on longer. My body was fine and I was still leaping out of bed the morning after a match. What did for me was the fact I was player-manager at Bristol Rovers at the time and that was too much mentally.
I used to organise the training sessions while playing in them and refereeing them at the same time. It was too much and I had to pack in playing before I went mad.
There is no reason why even outfield players can't go on until the age of 40 with the advances in training and diet. But it depends what position you play. I can't see Michael Owen playing till he's 40 because he's reliant on pace.
Teddy Sheringham, though, whose game was all about short bursts and getting into pockets of space, managed it no problem, and my striker at Blackpool Kevin Phillips is 38 and still going strong.
There's no hard and fast rule. Just play as long as you're still enjoying it.
No volley of abuse for grunters
I have read that there are plans afoot to stop women tennis players grunting as they hit their shot. I've never heard so much nonsense in my life.
Apparently some players have complained. Are they saying they can't concentrate on where the ball is going because someone at the other end is making a noise? That's a poor excuse for getting beat.
I'm a big tennis fan and I like going to watch it. I can honestly say the grunting has never bothered me in the slightest. For me, it shows how much effort they are putting in. They are straining every sinew and that noise is an indication of the power they are putting into the shot.
How the hell do you stop grunting anyway? Train players with a gag on their mouth? Do me a favour.
Sort your life out, Carlos
I wish Carlos Tevez would be totally honest about what he did in Munich and apologise. That's his only way to win back some respect.
He has moaned and whinged for too long and his threat of court action – which he could do because he has so much cash – is just ridiculous.
God knows who is advising him but if it was me, I'd tell him: "Grow up and sort your life out, son."
FA should keep their shirt on
Note to the FA: get rid of that stupid rule about not allowing goalscorers to pull their shirts up. I thought Mario Balotelli's celebration after his goal in the derby was great. It was funny and he wasn't offending anyone.
The Premier League is shown all over the world and I understand that showing your torso in a lot of countries is offensive. But if you are wearing a vest too, how can that cause offence?
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