Ian Holloway: We all went off to Latvia and played terribly
Year in the life of the Premier League's most colourful character
Sunday 05 September 2010
It might be the international break but there's been no rest for us at Blackpool. We went to Latvia for a few days to play a match and spend some time with Valery Belokon, the president of our club.
I almost felt like royalty because my wife Kim and I were treated so well. We hardly had 10 minutes to ourselves the entire time because we were whisked from one place to the next, but we learned so much about their culture, we saw castles and palaces, and were taken to the best restaurants
It made a bit of a change from the last time I went. I only stayed a day and Valery moaned because my chairman Karl Oyston had given me the job without squaring it with him first! We've come a long way as a club since then, so it has been absolutely fantastic to go back again and spend time with him.
This is a man who said Blackpool would be in the Premier League in five years when he invested his cash. People laughed. But blow me, he did it in four and no one's laughing now.
On Thursday we played a match against a team called FK Jelgava, who won the Latvian title last season. Valery is so proud of what Blackpool have achieved in the last 12 months and he was probably telling all his mates "wait till you see them in action – they're brilliant". Unfortunately we were bloomin' awful and lost 2-1.
It's a pity we couldn't have given a better account of ourselves but we had eight players on international duty. Did you hear that? Eight. Who would have thought we'd ever be able to say that at Blackpool?
The one downside of the trip was the weather. Blimey, I thought it could rain in England but it never stopped while we were over there. Must remember to take my brolly next time!
Shut that transfer window
Thank God the transfer window has shut, it made me ill. I've got a huge cold sore on my lip and I always get cold sores when I've been stressed.
August was the worst month I've ever had in my 14 years as a football manager because we needed to sign so many players. In the end I was delighted with the business we did. We got 11 players in the space of the last three weeks and that is a result.
We broke our club record to get DJ Campbell from Leicester, the first time we have ever spent more than £1m. We also got quite a few lads from overseas, including Australian, Ghanaian and Israeli internationals.
Personally speaking, it would have been nice if they were all English, but I'm not so sure Joe Cole would've signed for us with the choices he had.
What I have to do now is get to work on trying to mould them into a unit and that is the hardest thing. I would have loved to have got them in a couple of weeks earlier but it was physically impossible to do it because of this stupid transfer window system we've got.
But there's no point in moaning, we will just have to get down to hard graft on the training ground. Mind you, I won't see half my squad until Thursday when they get back from international duty, so that gives me two days to prepare for – and I almost need to draw breath before I say this – Newcastle away and then Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Holy mackerel. It doesn't really get much harder than that, does it?
I fear for City's all-stars
Most of the biggest transfers this summer involved Manchester City. They've got some wonderful players but I will be honest, I am worried about them. You can have all the money in the world but it doesn't guarantee a good team.
They haven't got the culture or history of players who don't moan or get unhappy when they are not picked. What I'm saying is that at Manchester United Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs won't have a hissy-fit if they're not included in the team.
But I think City will have massive problems because they have got lots of players who expect to play, and they are not going to be picked because there are only 11 who can be.
Their players will have to quickly learn how to behave as if they were at a big club, how to react to disappointment in a positive way. If they learn that, it will make the team strong.
But if they moan and whinge, it will ruin Manchester City, and I can't wait to see what is going to happen. If Mr Adebayor doesn't get picked, for example, how is he going to behave? He has already been quoted as saying in the papers that he is not happy and he wants to leave.
Now you don't hear that at Manchester United because they are used to winning stuff. Same with Chelsea. So City have to very quickly adopt the same mentality as a winning club and if they do, they will be a force.
If they don't, they will be a joke and an embarrassment as players, and I hope that doesn't happen because I think their fans deserve success.
I want my fans to keep cheering – even goal-kicks
This is an open offer to Latvian fans: come and buy a season ticket at Bloomfield Road.
I went to watch their Euro 2012 qualifier against Croatia on Friday. Croatia dominated and won 3-0. But I have never seen a crowd so happy.
They were off their seats cheering when there was an interception at the back or the keeper cleared a ball.
I'd love them to come to England and become Blackpool supporters because that is exactly the sort of attitude we need this year.
We are going to have our backs against the wall quite a lot and I want people who think, "oh my God, my goalie's caught a cross" and burst into massive applause.
All my Blackpool players watched it too, though they got their choice of clothing badly wrong. Maybe they didn't expect it to be as cold as it was but they all wore T-shirts and sat shivering in the stand.
I had a shirt, jumper, suit and overcoat on. They looked freezing but I suppose that's the younger generation for you.
Maybe they were all thinking of popping off to a trendy bar afterwards.
Hair today, England tomorrow?
We are back in Premier League action at Newcastle next week and people keep asking me how we will stop Andy Carroll. Simple, step on his hair.
On a serous note, what a good player he is looking, and he's got to be close to an England call-up.
Carroll is an old-fashioned No 9, and I don't mean that with any disrespect. He can head it, he is strong, he is a threat when the ball is crossed into the box, getting his barnet or his foot on the end of it.
That is a classic English centre forward for me. They are a dying breed and it is brilliant to see him doing so well.
Hopefully he won't do so well when we play them. But who knows? They beat us 4-1 last season in the Championship so we've got to improve big time.
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