Ian Holloway: This game is bad for your health but players will still want to be managers

I was never good enough to be a real pundit. I was the bloke they phoned when Mark Lawrenson wasn't available
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Many players are millionaires by the time they are 25 these days, but I bet there will still be the same number wanting to go into management at the end of their careers.

You will get some, like Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp, going into the media, but for many of us that's not enough. Coaching is in our blood. It's a drug.

When you look at what happened to Neil Lennon and Gérard Houllierlast week, I can understand why some might wonder why we put ourselves through it.

All I can say is that you don't choose to do it, you need it. During my year out of football after getting sacked by Leicester, I did quite a bit of TV and radio work. It was easy and there was no pressure, but there wasn't a day went by when I didn't yearn to get back in as a manager.

When I got up in the morning I didn't have a purpose and I hated that. I missed going to work, sorting a situation out, playing a certain way, talking to people and building relationships. I missed the banter and I wanted it back desperately.

The media work I did was OK but I was never good enough or famous enough to be a real pundit or to make it my living. I was the bloke they phoned when Mark Lawrenson was not available or they couldn't think of anyone else to get.

It was more something to fill my time until I got another job, and as soon as Blackpool came along, I felt complete again. I've loved every day since. It is so much more preferable to being unemployed.

But what has happened to Neil Lennon at Celtic has sickened me like never before. This is a guy who is just doing his job and how any human can threaten their fellow man in such a cowardly and despicable way is beyond comprehension. They are the lowest of the low and there is absolutely no excuse for it. Who the hell are they? It is hideous and the worst thing I've ever witnessed.

My thoughts go out to Gérard Houllier too, but you have to be very careful about blaming that on football. He won't want people saying he can't handle management. He can and he is very good at it. You have to take into consideration other things, such as his age and his general health. My thoughts are with him. I'm sure he will make a full recovery and the sooner he's back, the better.

But whatever happens to the likes of Lennon and Houllier, it won't put anyone off becoming a boss. There will always be the same number of footballers, no matter how wealthy they are, who have a natural affinity with people and feel compelled to test themselves as a manager.

There is no job quite like it, and that is why it is so hard to give up – even if you can make money in a much easier way on the television.

That's more like my Blackpool

It feels terrific to be straight back out of the bottom three after our 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle but I wouldn't care if we were still in the relegation places. The main thing about yesterday is that our old swagger andbelief was back. It was like watching the Blackpool of last season. It was an absolutely thumping display.

Yes, a win would have been great – and my word we deserved to get all three points – but I'm honestly just over the moon with what we did and how we went about it. To play that kind of free-flowing football in the midst of a relegation battle takes guts.

Newcastle finished 32 points above us last season. Now they are seven ahead, and if they hadn't got lucky it would have been four.

I loved every minute of the game, though when they scored with their first shot at goal I did stand in the dugout thinking "here we go again, sod's law". Thankfully my boys did not take so much as a backward step. We passed and attacked and had some great opportunities. We also had at least three more good penalty shouts and I just can't work out why some clubs get given spot kicks willy-nilly while we seem to get nothing.

I went back to basics with my team selection. Of the starting 11, 10 were from last season. Just because that 10 might not look nice on paper does not matter. Paper doesn't mean anything, especially at this stage of the season. It is about will and desire and I can't ask for any more from my lads. As long as they do that I will continueto thoroughly enjoy this season.

We've got four massive games left. Who is to say we can't beat Stoke again? Who's to say we can't beat Bolton, a team we should have beatenat their place? And who's to say we can't do the double over Tottenham and that we can't give Manchester United another hell of a game?

It is getting exciting and I am loving every minute. If my team play like they did against Newcastle, there is no doubt we will stay up.

We could be playing in Europe

If we finish top of the Premier League's Fair Play League, we will be inEurope next year. I didn't have a clue about this until our club secretary at Blackpool told me the other day. He has been to London to get our Uefa licence just in case it does happen, but to be honest I couldn't really care less about it at the moment.

I understand the thought might excite the fans, but I have a different take on it. For starters I can't concentrate on anything other than this season and trying to stay up. And if this Europe thing does happen then all I'll be thinking about is how short our summer is going to be because the qualifying stages for the Europa League begin at the start of July. The season doesn't end until 22 May so we will get about a month off, tops. When you consider we didn't really have much of a break last year because we were in the play-offs that really isn't good.

But that's the last thing on my mind at the moment so I'm not even going to bother fretting about it.

Feathers fly as my Bombay duck gets randy – and what about that python?

As well as problems on the pitch lately, I have had a few off it too – namely ducks. I've owned a couple of Indian Runners for the last few years. Look them up on the internet. They are brilliant, like a bottle of wine on legs. They can't fly, just run about.

I called them Crispy and Bombay, but disaster struck last month when Crispy got killed by a fox. Poor little Bombay was all lonely. He got so desperate he befriended the turkey, but it didn't seem right so we went to get more at the Fur and Feathers auction in Clitheroe Market.

It was a strange auction because there was a python for sale. Since when has that had fur or feathers? I couldn't work that out. There was this massive great snake in a tub on the floor which someone was trying to sell. They had ducks, budgies, canaries and hamsters ... and a python. The python must have been giving it: "Eh up, it's lunchtime, I'm gonna fill me boots here!"

We'd been to this auction two weeks running and come back empty-handed but this week they finally had some Indian Runners for sale.

We didn't have a clue what we were doing with the bidding but the locals showed us how and I ended up getting four white ones at £9 each and two Trout Indian runners. They're a bit pricier – 12 quid a pop.

They're all females so now my lonely old male can't believe his luck. We put them all together in the big barn next to our house and they haven't come out since. Goodness knows what's going on but they're obviously having a bit of fun.

Special One in the top one

I can categorically state that Barcelona are the greatest side I have ever seen in my life. They are better than Ajax in the 1970s, better than the incredible Liverpool team of the 80s.

Which goes to show just how good Jose Mourinho is as a coach to beat Barça and win the Copa del Rey. I love Spanish football and I've watched the last two games between the big two. In the league match the other week, Real Madrid managed to draw despite having 10 men and only 23 per cent of the possession. Then they went and won the cup in extra time.

Both times Mourinho's tactics were unreal. The man is practically a genius.

He has won a trophy everyyear since2003 and that is unbelievable. You can say he has been at great clubs but the higher you go, the more pressure there is to deliver and he has always delivered.

The first time he played Barça this season, Mourinho fielded an attacking team. He obviously thought he'd play them at their own game, but it backfired and they got heavily beaten. But the sign of a great coach is how they learn and adapt and since then Mourinho has put an extra midfielder in and their closing-down in the last couple of games has been fantastic.

He remains my favourite coach. The bloke can do no wrong in my eyes and already I can't wait for the Champions League' semi-final between the clubs. They are going to be incredible games.

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