Ian Holloway: United pain, horse kicks my girl and then I resign. What a week
To top it all I got a text from my daughter saying she'd been kicked by her horse
Sunday 30 January 2011
What a nightmare few days. A classic game against Manchester United, finding myself splashed all over The Sun, a fine from the Premier League that I'm raging about... and then having to cut short a break with my wife because my daughter was kicked by her horse. I've had better weeks.
Let's start with the fine. The Premier League hit us with a £25,000 punishment because I made 10 changes for our League match with Aston Villa in November. When I was told, I honestly could not believe it and I certainly can't print here the words I was coming out with. I find it so offensive and nonsensical for these people to sit in their glass houses and throw stones. It is a joke.
I said I would resign if I got fined and that is what I did on Friday. I offered my resignation to my chairman Karl Oyston because that is how strongly I feel. He says he won't accept it and that is up to him.
But what is going on? I don't know who I am working for – the Premier League or my club. Everyone keeps talking about how Wolves were fined last season for doing the same thing, but that is not the same scenario. We weren't playing Manchester United away. We were playing Aston Villa on a Wednesday, when we had already had three or four games in a short space of time before it.
When Wolves made their changes, there was no 25-man rule. You did not have to put 25 players specifically over the age of 22 in your squad. So surely that throws up a problem because if they fine you for picking a certain team, they are saying a bloke they have allowed you to put in your squad, as the rules say, isn't good enough. And if that's the case, 10 of my 25 wouldn't have been good enough. In whose judgement?
I'd like to know who is actually telling me we are fined. Who is it? Is there a committee of them? And if so, why didn't they sit me down in front of them and I'd have explained it all. What is wrong with them? Who are they to tell me what my team is? I am absolutely fuming.
I am trying to move Blackpool from being a lower-league club to a top-league club and I need to play my players whenever I see fit to see if they can cope with it. And you know what, that night at Villa they were absolutely brilliant. The ironic thing is we lost the game because one of the players the Premier League obviously think I should have picked, Ian Evatt, who normally plays, came on as a substitute and made a mistake by not marking their goalscorer.
Words fail me – but if that wasn't bad enough, the same day The Sun splashed on a story about me receiving a percentage of any transfer fee for our captain Charlie Adam.
I was spitting venom, let me tell you, because this is not even a story and it is certainly no secret – it is a standard management contract and fortunately I had already told Charlie about it, because imagine how he would have felt and what he might have thought had he found this out from a newspaper?
What happened when I signed my contract was that I had to accept a certain wage, which I didn't think was right, but I got benefited in other ways, one of which is receiving a certain percentage of any profit on a player.
In my first contract it was anybody I brought in and sold on for a profit, which included Charlie. In the new contract I signed in the summer, the chairman told me I had improved the players so much that he wanted it to apply to any one of them that we made money on. I just said "thanks very much" – so it's not just Charlie, it is everyone. So that's been there for ages. Now, all of a sudden, some agent, I believe, is trying to stir things up.
The Sun called to question me about it. Now my contract with my club is none of their business but I do not lie so I confirmed it. I'm not going to tell them certain figures, but what I will say is that if anybody thinks I'd stand in any of my players' way for my own financial gain they are absolutely mad and they don't know me.
And anyway, it is not my decision what bid we accept. The chairman always has the final say. If someone offered £400 million for Charlie and the chairman wanted to say "no, you can't go", then he could do that. The bottom line is that my chairman and I believe £4m is a ridiculously low offer for Charlie and so unless someone comes back with an offer we think is suitable, he won't be leaving.
For someone to try and stir this up by bringing me into it is ludicrous.
So that all happened on Thursday, which was the same day that I had taken my wife Kim to a hotel to have a little break. The idea was to get away from it all. Yeah, right! I went on the golf course and had my least enjoyable round ever, not because of the way I played but the fact that my phone didn't stop ringing about all the nonsense above.
Then to top it all, I got a text from my daughter telling me she had been kicked by her horse.
We were due to stay another night in the hotel and even though my daughter told us not to come home and that she was fine, my wife would not have been able to relax. So we zoomed home to check she was OK, which thankfully she is. What a week.
Nutmegged four times by London ladies' striker...
Before I inadvertently took over, it was Richard Keys and Andy Gray dominating the headlines for their comments on Sian Massey.
I have sympathy for anyone who loses their job, but the bottom lineis that it doesn't matter what colour or what sex you are – football is a wonderful game and everybody should be able to take part in it and enjoy it.
For me, the more the merrier, as long as they are good enough. I found this out early on in my career when I was a player at Bristol Rovers and I went to do a coaching session for the London ladies team. I got nutmegged four times by their centre-forward and I just thought "good gracious me".
Whatever opinion I might have had disappeared then. It didn't matter that she had long hair and wore a skirt after the match, she was fantastic, so respect where it is due.
Sian has done a fine job and well done to her. You choose the best person for a job so quite right that she is getting Premier League games – in fact her first one was our 2-0 victory at Sunderland just after Christmas and she was excellent. As for Richard and Andy, you don't expect people with the experience that those two have to undermine her, but I think, from what I have seen, that the whole controversy goes a lot deeper than just one or two comments.
I don't care who makes the decisions on a football pitch as long as they are the right ones. Simple as that.
Telling Sir Alex he is a 'lucky Scottish person'
I have never in my life felt as bad as I did the day after our match with Manchester United. It felt way worse than your average defeat and I felt for my club because if we had won, it would have been something we could have all spoken about for decades. At the end I just said to Sir Alex Ferguson "you lucky Scottish person" – or words to that effect.
I was bitterly disappointed we weren't awarded a penalty when we were 2-0 ahead, when my striker Luke Varney was, I thought, brought down by Rafael.
I was so proud of my lads' efforts but I can also only congratulate Fergie and his team for the tempo they played at and the way they kept going even when they seemed down and out. The belief they have is incredible and it made me realise we have got such a long way to go before we ever get anywhere near them. They certainly look as though they'll end up as champions.
Mad rule but Piquionne has responsibility
It is a crazy, magnificent feeling when you score a goal. I didn't experience it often but when I did, I basically went ballistic.
As a footballer you train so hard every day and when you do score in a game, no matter if it's a yard out or a 35-yard dipping volley, it is an unbelievable thing.
Which is why I have sympathy with Frédéric Piquionne, who jumped into the crowd when he put West Ham ahead against Everton last week and promptly got a second yellow card.
You can understand, with the season West Ham have had, why he was ecstatic. He wanted to celebrate but as soon as he jumped over the barrier and into the fans I thought "oh no" because we all knew what was coming. It is a mad rule for that to be a yellow-card offence but then again I can understand why it was brought in.
Players have to be responsible. They must realise that by running over to the fans, their actions might endanger one or two. I've told my players to celebrate with team-mates, then wave to the fans – you don't need to celebrate with them. Even amid the excitement, Piquionne should have realised that.
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