Ian Holloway has a certain charm. He’s clichéd, he’s honest and he seems the sort of hard-working journeyman of the manager who will always be in employment.
He may not get one of the really big jobs, but he will talk-up every role he has to sound like it is the best job on the planet. Fair play to him.
Now he’s at Crystal Palace, and the 49 year-old could well have landed himself at a club that could be heading back to the Premier after nine seasons in the Championship.
He’s certainly started well, because the Palace side he inherited beat Ipswich Town 5-0 in his first game. Holloway praised the “big man” up front, Glenn Murray, on the day he was introduced to a Selhurst Park crowd that has welcomed new managers around 15 times since 2000. Murray justified the positive comments, scoring a hat-trick. Holloway seems to have persuaded Wilfried Zaha from looking around for a new job and that’s good news – he could be the pivot that helps Palace get up this year.
Palace are going great guns and are now unbeaten in 12 league games. They lost their first three games in 2012-13, but since then, have pulled off some impressive victories – beating highly fancied Cardiff (3-2), Leicester (2-1), Bolton (1-0), Blackburn (2-0) and Wolves (2-1). At the moment, they do not seem to be able to do anything wrong!
But this is a club that has had its ups and downs in recent years – twice into administration, multiple managers, overshadowed by the London triumvirate of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, not to mention West Ham, and lacking the sort of backing that some of their rivals have enjoyed.
Holloway may change some of that. He likes to play entertaining football, he connects well with the fans – his performance against Blackburn, saying all the right things and demonstrating some genuine emotion, will have won him many friends, and after game one, they will already love him.
It’s good to see Palace on the way back, although God knows how long that will last. But they should enjoy it while they can.