Ian Holloway: They said Charlie was on his way to Anfield... but he was sat next to me in my office
Sunday 06 February 2011
Despite how wrapped up us managers get in everything that happens on transfer deadline day, I had to laugh at what was on the telly. Sky Sports News treat it like it is the most important day in the history of the world. Ever.
They count it down: "20 hours, 34 minutes and 12 seconds to go," they scream. They have reporters parked outside training grounds and some bloke with a microphone is shouting "Suarez is driving to Liverpool" or "Carroll is in a helicopter". I half-expected them to tell us when Torres went to the toilet.
At one point they said my skipper Charlie Adam was on his way to Anfield to sign, and he was sat right next to me in my office at Bloomfield Road. What is going on?
Premier League clubs like ourselves rely on Sky's money but this is nonsense. It is like Big Brother – there are cameras everywhere.
One of the biggest stories of the day involved Charlie. Now I love the lad, but I'll be honest with you, I am sick of talking about him. I've been going on about him so much recently I find myself mentioning his name without knowing it.
The other morning I said to my wife Kim: "Can I have some Charlie Corn Flakes? Don't put too much Charlie milk on it." The lad is taking over my life, I tell you!
The race to try and sign him went on all month. He didn't go anywhere in the end, we kept hold of him. But for the record, the relationship between us is still fantastic.
Yes, Charlie wanted to leave, and who can blame him? He has been told what the top clubs will pay him and he wants a piece of that now. The difference, to be fair, is astronomical. It is life-changing. But from my point of view I wanted to keep my best player.
Charlie's representatives have said a few things in the press, which I haven't been impressed with. But we have done nothing wrong – it is his agent who has made a mistake.
When I signed Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at Plymouth his agent insisted on a get-out clause so if anybody offered a certain amount of money, we could not stand in his way. So why didn't Charlie's agent do that?
His agent can moan and whinge but it is his fault. If I was his agent, I'd be saying to Charlie: "Keep your head down, keep playing brilliantly, and then we'll have a look in the summer."
At that point he will have 12 months left on his contract and the world will be his oyster. He understands that, we're fine with each other, and he will keep producing the goods for us, like he has for the last 18 months.
It was a long and hard day because at the same time as Liverpool and Tottenham were trying to get their hands on Charlie, I was attempting to do a bit of business myself. I had given the chairman a list of players at the start of the month. There were at least 30 names on it and I asked him to make enquiries about all of them. A couple turned us down – Adam Hammill went to Wolves and Charlie Austin to Burnley – and that is difficult, when you can't get the targets you want because of finances. But I know that, I'm happy about it and I get on with it.
We missed out on a few but got some last-minute bargains. To get the likes of James Beattie and Andy Reid in will do me nicely. Granted they aren't as fit and as ready as they need to be to play at this level, but we'll deal with that. They are great lads with bags of experience, they suit us and they will add to our run-in.
And best news of all is that the damn window is now shut and we can concentrate on playing footie.
Toffees' win leaves bitter taste
There's no point lying, I was deflated to lose at Everton yesterday. Given we conceded five, maybe I should have signed four defenders in the transfer window, not four strikers!
It must have been a cracking game for the neutral but that isn't much consolation, especially as we were 3-2 up. What made it even more frustrating was that I brought on a couple of defensive-minded players to shore us up. It was the same tactic I used against Liverpool a few weeks ago, playing Alex Baptiste just in front of the back four. It worked a treat against Liverpool; yesterday we conceded three goals. Therefore my backside was bare because we were chasing the game and I'd taken a couple of forwards off.
It is hard to take because we have thrown away similar positions against Man United and West Brom recently and it is a habit we don't want to get into. But am I absolutely devastated? Not at all. I am still loving how we are playing and the bottom line is that the Premier League is a quality division and is full of clubs which can hurt you.
Everton are among those and the finishing of Louis Saha was the difference on the day. He was excellent. We have to get back on the training ground and make sure we put right what went wrong. Now more than ever we need to stick together and make sure we get out of this bad run.
Gym regime is worth the weight
I have some big news. I stood on the scales the other day and weighed less than 12 stone. This is cause for major celebration because I've not weighed less than 12 stone for at least a decade.
It is all down to my new fitness regime. Myself and the wife have joined a gym near our house and we are going as often as possible. I have a little key that I put in this machine and it tells me what exercise I need to do. I feel a bit of a lemon but it's working. I've mostly been on the cross-trainer, which takes some getting used to. I'm getting quite good but the only problem is that I sweat like anything. It's so bad I have to carry a little cloth about with me and wipe down the machines after I've been on them.
I do some aerobic exercises as well, then finish off by doing a few weights and sit-ups. They have football on the telly so I'm in my element. Lovely jubbly. I'm eating more sensibly as well. My wife has an app on her phone and we've been using that to stick to under 1,500 calories a day.
In the space of a few weeks I've gone from 12st 6lb to 11st 13lb and I was feeling great... until, that is, the other day in training when someone fired a cross into the box and I jumped up to nod it back to my centre-halves.
I felt something go in my calf and collapsed to the ground yelping. All the lads were laughing. It's giving me a bit of gyp but I'll battle through it. I've had much worse and besides, they breed us tough in Bristol.
Staying up will be elementary if we win our Holmes games
All week I've been walking round my house sucking on a pipe, saying: "Elementary, my dear Watson." Don't fret, I'm not cracking under the strain of the Premier League. The Christmas present my brother and sister-in-law ordered off eBay for me has finally arrived – a DVD box set of Sherlock Holmes, and a pipe, a clay one exactly the same as Holmes had. The only thing I'm missing is the hat, but maybe they'll get me that next year.
I'm in heaven because I adore Holmes, so I'm sucking on the pipe, watching TV and feeling brilliant. I've always loved detective shows. I used to be hooked on Columbo because he'd always suss it out.
Sherlock Holmes is the best of the lot. I got into him when I was growing up. I loved his old-fashioned nature, the way he spoke and the fact he was cleverer than any other bugger.
It was like me and my brother John, because he was really clever and I felt like a bit of a doughnut. John was well read and he used to read to me.
I'm loving watching Holmes and I like the challenge of trying to work it out before he does. It is helping me relax, too, and boy do I need to relax.
Another fine mess
I mentioned in last week's column that I got a call telling me we'd been fined by the Premier League while I was playing golf. I think now is the time to make an official apology to Shoreditch Golf Club in Chorley because I did something a bit naughty.
We were on the tee and my wife hit a great drive. Mine went straight in the ditch. My next shot hit a tree and dropped on the edge of a lake. I had to put one foot in the water to hit the ball and it got soaking wet. I swung my club but the ball didn't move and instead I hit a divot about 50 yards.
It was at that very moment that my phone rang and I got told about the fine which, I knew, meant I had to offer my resignation. I used some language my wife wasn't impressed with, hung up, swung again, and hit an even bigger divot. So I'm fuming because I had hit four shots and still had not got past my wife's drive!
I Iost the plot, rammed my nine-iron into the ground, picked my ball up and walked off. When I'd calmed down, I asked my wife to go and get my club and she told me to get stuffed. So I had to walk back and pull it out.
It was in the rough, I hasten to add. It wouldn't have been a fairway, I didn't hit one all bloody day. But I do apologise to the greenkeepers. I tried to repair the damage the best I could.
As you can probably tell, golf's not really my game – especially not when we've just been fined 25 grand and I'm being outplayed by the missus.
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