Woosie's Words: Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway must go
It’s time to change.
Ian Holloway has been a relatively successful manager in the past, ensuring the promotion of Blackpool to the Premier League for the first time in their history, and also of course winning promotion with Palace.
However he is not the manager this club needs at this moment in time.
A run of two victories in the past eighteen league matches stretches back to March this year, and Ian Holloway has showed no signs of building a club, a team, a unified group of players who the fans feel connected to and feel a real sense of pride towards.
Holloway appears to be a manager who can motivate a group of players who already have their spirits high and things are going well.
Take the play-off matches for instance: a squad full of players who knew that individually they were not the best in the league, but that when they worked together they could beat anyone on their day.
They were resolute on the pitch but they were also resolute in their attitudes. Everyone knew their role and they remained dedicated to their task throughout the three matches.
Ian Holloway knew what he wanted each and every player to do, and he communicated this effectively.
Nevertheless, in the nine games preceding the play offs, Holloway seemed unable to motivate the exact same group of players, who, under the previous manager (I daren’t write his name) were flying high in the league with confidence peaking after a victory away at Leicester City.
Indeed, the team was performing well for Holloway until draws and defeats knocked them off their perch and confidence was dented.
The real test was to see how they responded, how the manager responded. Nine matches without a victory was the answer as Palace slipped perilously down the table, almost missing out on the play-offs altogether.
As Palace earned a 5th placed finish, they were to face Brighton in the play-off semi-final. What more motivation does a team need?
Following the furore over Holloway’s comments prior to the home meeting between the two sides in December which demonstrated his lack of understanding with the supporters and the club’s history, the team now knew exactly what the fans desired.
They knew they had a great chance of gaining promotion if they could play well for 270 minutes (although it turned out to be slightly longer than that) so Holloway needed only to remind them of what they were capable of, what they already knew.
I have previously criticised Ian Holloway’s tactics in my column, and he once again came unstuck on Monday night.
When plan A works, plan A works well, but the problem is that there is no effective plan B for the frequent times that Plan A fails.
This is a club which needs to build for the future, to shape a team together who understand each other, have a distinct way of playing which both entertains and works well in equal measure.
But for me, I cannot see a long term project being employed by Ian Holloway.
A mis-match of different players and different tactics is not working. Reluctantly, the only conclusion I can reach is that Holloway has to go.
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