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Monday, March 20, 2006

Holloway Talks About His (Non) Job, his Past & His Future

Bristol Evening Post on Holloway

11:00 - 20 March 2006

Ian Holloway has been involved in football all his life. From the moment he first kicked a ball with his late father Bill, the Bristolian was absorbed by the game. Signed by Bristol Rovers in his teens, Holloway embarked on a professional career that also took in spells with Wimbledon, Brentford and, most notably, in the Premiership with QPR.In 1996 he moved into management with the Pirates before succeeding Gerry Francis at Rangers.Holloway has always been fiercely committed to the sport and the club he represents.Yet now, for the first time in almost 30 years, the 43-year-old has been frozen out of the game he loves - and it hurts.
Holloway was relieved of his duties as QPR manager last month, told to stay away from the club and placed on 'gardening leave.'Holloway has taken the advice literally and spent the last few weeks doing gardening and DIY at his house in St Albans - but he admits it hurts."Frustrating isn't the word, it's like part of you is missing," said Holloway. "It's a bereavement, me without football."
But I've had some time to reflect, had some time to get back to what's important."Sometimes you can get the balance wrong between what is really vital, which is your family, your wife and your kids."What I have learnt is that no matter how hard you try, football is not what you think it is."I'm not even allowed to go there (QPR) any more. I'm not allowed to ring any of my players."When I get into a relationship, I am committed, that's it. And unfortunately, the way I earn my money, it kicks you every now and again."
This is the second time it's happened and I'm looking forward to the start of the third venture, whatever that is."I'll always give it 100 per cent and if that isn't good enough, then I won't apologise. I'll just pick up my bags and start again somewhere else. That's all you can do."
The first time Holloway was forced to relinquish a management role came in January 2001, when he was sacked as Rovers boss.Having taken the Pirates to the brink of promotion to what is now the Championship in the 1999-2000 season, the fiery boss saw star strikers Jason Roberts and Jamie Cureton sold during the close season.Inevitably the side struggled the following season, ultimately being relegated to the Football League's basement division.It was a tough time for Holloway, who, despite linking up with Rangers soon after, took a while to get over the disappointing end to his Rovers love affair."I've been away from Bristol for a long time now and there were things that happened at the end (in 2001) that were in danger of souring my whole experience," he said."
I'm Bristol born and bred and I've always been proud of that."All I ever did was wear my heart on my sleeve and if that offended some people then I apologise."I probably learnt over the years and I was out of order sometimes when I first started."Some of the things at the end hurt, like some of the Gasheads singing 'You don't know what you're doing' - how they were that astute and knew, I don't know!"Holloway makes a rare return to his home city tomorrow when he links up with rugby celebrity Gareth Chilcott for a Sporting Dinner at Jury's Hotel.The show was sold out weeks ago, highlighting how popular 'Olly' remains throughout Bristol."I'm looking forward to coming back," he said. "
You never forget your roots."At the moment the show is a breath of fresh air for me because my situation is not very nice."It's part of my occupation but to come back to Bristol and see some friendly faces will be great."Hopefully the night will be different. I've seen a lot of after dinner speaking where there's not enough inter-action. We want people to join in, which is vital."With his obvious Rovers loyalties, Holloway is bracing himself for the presence of City fans at tomorrow's show.But he also realises how important the inter-city rivalry is."All I've learnt since I've been outside of Bristol is how much it means to me," added Holloway."The sporting rivalry between Rovers and City is so important. The clubs need each other, that healthy competition is essential."Maybe it's not healthy enough. I'm blue, I always have been, but without the reds, I wouldn't be the same. That's what it's all about."Holloway's enforced absence from football over recent weeks has also led to a period of self-examination."I'm 43 now and I'm learning all the time," said Holloway."
You adapt and change through life and I'm looking forward to whatever happens next."It's a new chapter in my life for me. My daughters are growing up and my son's passed his driving test."If you'd have told me that my little 'un is now driving a car, it's scary and I wouldn't have believed it."My whole life is changing. My daughters are going to go to college in Exeter, my boy is driving now and we've only got one child to get through school."I've been at it solidly for 10 years, thrown in the deep end at Rovers, and at times I needed armbands because it's not easy being a football manager, particularly without all your badges and your education."I'm having to catch up on that and I'm enjoying it as well."I've got a plan of action, as far as I can, because my future is in someone else's hands. But watch this space."Watch this space we most certainly will, because with Ian Holloway there is never a dull moment.Big personalities:Happier times:Kicking his heels:

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