Ian Holloway: Why I was wrong to hang on to Adam... and other January horror stories
Hopefully the new clubs will learn from us, and learn how easy it is to stall
Sunday 01 January 2012
This is the time of year when football managers go insane. There is no doubt about it – January is the worst month of the season. I don't think there are any two words in the English dictionary which make me as angry as "transfer window".
What a ridiculous notion – to allow us to buy players during only one month of the season is a restriction of trade. How on earth, back in August, do we know which players will get injured? Take Blackburn, they have loads of defenders out so now they have to scrabble around trying to buy one. That leads to another problem. Everyone knows what Steve Kean needs and so when he comes asking, they will demand silly amounts of money for their centre backs. It leads to inflated prices which some clubs end up having to pay. None of that would happen if we still had the old system, when we could buy players until halfway through March.
As it is, managers have to put their lives on hold for a month. Their wives and children suffer because you can't even go shopping without some agent ringing your mobile to tell you about a centre forward they think you should sign.
Those in charge at the top clubs, like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger, won't be affected much because they do the bulk of their business in the summer. Chelsea usually do the same, though it is different this year because they have a new guy in charge who wants to stamp his mark on the team. Andre Villas-Boas will probably spend big.
That is what Kenny Dalglish had to do last January. He had just taken over at Liverpool and knew he didn'thave a team capable of challenging so went out and bought Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. In fact Kenny was responsible for making my last January a nightmare because he wanted our midfielder, Charlie Adam.
I don't blame Kenny because Charlie is a good player and he was always going to leave Blackpool for one of the big boys. With hindsight, I regret that we didn't sell Charlie straightaway, the fact that the whole saga lingered on for the entire month didn't do us any favours.
I remember on deadline day Charlie was sat in my office with his agent until 11pm. He wanted to leave, we wanted to keep him. Charlie stayed – and continued to be brilliant for us – but something had changed and it was no coincidence that our second half of the season was poor. We got 25 points before the new year but just 14 after it, and I think the transfer window was a major factor in that.
If we had sold Charlie then rather than at the end of the season and used the money to get two or three in to replace him, things might have turned out differently, but those are the kind of problems you have when you're one of the minnows and they are the sort of issues Swansea, Norwich and QPR have to deal with. They have to spend wisely but not upset the balance of their squad.
Despite the great starts all three promoted clubs have made they don't have proper Premier League experience yet or know how to win when the going gets tough.
I was watching Match of the Day last Saturday and they mentioned Blackpool five times. They reminded everyone that we had four more points than 11th-placed Norwich at this stage last season yet got relegated.Hopefully the new clubs will learn from us and will be aware how easy it is to stall and lose momentum – no one knows that better than me.
Carroll must show his nasty side
I am not disappointed by Andy Carroll this season – just disappointed at the way every newspaper harps on about his price tag.
Mark my words, the boy will be a very good signing eventually. He is just taking time to adjust, just like the Liverpool fans are taking time to adjust to him because I don't think they have had a player like him since the days of John Toshack.
Carroll is someone who likes to be nasty and horrible and to win every ball. He is great at it. In fact that is one thing he needs to perhaps get back – that aggression he had at Newcastle. He was superb there but I think he's tried to change his game slightly to play in the Liverpool way and I don't think he should. He needs to remember what he did when he first started at Newcastle – be a big, old-fashioned centre forward and make life a nightmare for the opposition.
His price tag is irrelevant. Newcastle did a good deal. Kenny had just arrived, Torres had gone, and he felt Carroll was the type of player he needed. Kenny felt he was worth that sort of money and who's to say he is wrong?
We are only half a season in and how many games has Carroll played? Any footballer needs to be playing regularly to produce their best and that is another reason why it is too early to judge him.
He is probably also suffering because of how successful Luis Suarez – signed at the same time – has been. But you can't compare them in any way because they are totally different players. Suarez has settled earlier but Carroll will come good, and when he does I hope a lot of critics will eat their words.
Henry is pure class but it is never easy to be a returning hero
When there is a statue of yourself outside the ground it is a risk to go back and play there.
That must be crossing Thierry Henry's mind as he decides whether to join Arsenal on loan. It looks like it will happen and good luck to the lad – he's a brave man.
Then again the bottom line isthat Thierry is complete and utter class and if anyone can be a success, he can.
He oozes quality and I just hope he can be as good as he was in his first, glorious spell at Arsenal. Back in his heyday, he was one of the best players the world has ever seen with the way he made everything look so easy. It will be nice to see him back in the Premier League and back in a Gunners shirt and I'm backing him to start where he left off, and to be a huge success.
There's no police like Holmes
Go and see the new Sherlock Holmes film if you get chance. I love anything to do with Holmes and this movie completely blew me away.
The way it is shot, with those slow motion bits, it is magnificent and Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law are just terrific. When we walked out of the cinema, I had to stop myself buying another ticket for the next showing – just brilliant.
Times to treasure
A few favourite moments from 2011. The best match for me wasn't Barcelona, Manchester United or Milan, it was Norwich against Tottenham the other day. I'm not sure many others would go for it as their favourite game, but as a manager I loved it.
I was astounded by the quality of the football. Spurs were sublime going forward, Norwich played a really interesting formation and I really enjoyed the way they closed Tottenham down. Maybe I'm being abit of a geeky manager but it was fascinating to watch.
Wayne Rooney gets best goal of the year for that incredible volley against Manchester City. Considering the importance of the game, the skill it took to do that, and the accuracy... it was phenomenal.
Norwich get team of the year. I don't think many people would have tipped them to do as well as they have, especially considering they have been promoted from League One to the top in successive seasons.
Special mentions to Southampton, who have had a great 12 months, and my old club QPR. Neil Warnock has done a terrific job.
My own personal favourite moment? Beating Spurs in February. They had won in Milan in the Champions' League earlier in the week but when they came to Bloomfield Road we won 3-1. A bit of a comedown for them, but a night to remember forever for us and our fans.
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