Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 27th 2013 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 27, 2013
LONDON---At times it feels like
Ian Holloway is fighting a one-man
war for sanity in football.
In a sport where principles are
sometimes abandoned quicker than
clubs change shirts, one of the Pre-
mier League s newest, returning
managers is resolute in sticking to
"I have got (principles) and I will
always have them," the Crystal Palace
manager says. "Everyone s got prin-
ciples---but in principle they want
The quick wit and jocular tone
can be deceptive.
After two years away from the
Premier League, the former Black-
pool manager is back in the big time
with south London club Palace.
What s new?
"There are a few more noughts
on the end of the deals," the 50-
year-old Holloway responds in a
flash in his distinctive southwest
Don t be fooled by the flippant
replies. Holloway is passionate about
the image of the game.
What irritates him so much is not
necessarily the bumper pay packets
that land in players pockets, but
how the cash changes them as peo-
ple and just how pampered they are.
Quite simply, players today just
don t realise how good they ve got
it. Remind them. Send players down
to the lower reaches of the non-
league as a wake-up call.
"When they go out and come back
in they appreciate it more," Holloway
said. "So maybe some of these over-
paid starlets we ve got flying about
the place should be released and see
how they like it."
Holloway is more grounded than
most, something no doubt rooted
in overcoming the challenges of rais-
ing four children, three of whom
were born deaf. He coped and along
the way also learned sign language.
It puts the football challenges into
Away from his home life he is
immersed in a game that has never
been awash with so much money.
The latest global television deals
are generating £5.5 billion (US$8.6
billion) for the league over three
Even if Palace, Holloway s south
London team, returns instantly to
the second tier by finishing bottom
they will receive at least £60 million
(US$93 million) at the end of the
"Everyone is desperate to get to
the money in the Premier League,"
Holloway said. "They think it s a
free meal ticket but it isn t."
Not when newly promoted teams
like Palace have to try to compete
against---not only the behemoths at
Manchester United, Manchester City
and Chelsea---but even more modest,
though established, sides.
"We re sharks in the water," Hol-
loway conceded. "But there are oth-
ers who are bigger than us ... they re
just bigger sharks than us."
The Premier League thrives as the
people filling the stadiums often
struggle to meet the cost of attending
"Countries are going bust for god s
sake, but football s thriving," Hol-
loway says. "I m glad it is because
it s a wonderful game."
The conversation moves inevitably
onto agents. So key in helping to
guide players careers. So irritating
to some clubs trying to find talent
and strengthen squads as they circle
around potential deals.
"If you ring up a club in France
before you know it that club will
have then had four or five or six
agents saying, I can get a deal with
Crystal Palace, give me the mandate,
give me the mandate, " Holloway
says. "Then all those people will
then ring you up and every time I ve
had that, I ve then said: No I don t
want that player.
"Because I don t know if I can
trust that player if he s got all these
people so-called around him. And
then the prices go up and down and
they all want their little cuts. That s
what we ve found this summer."
Holloway grows increasingly exas-
"Everyone is getting richer and
people are saying, You ve got to pay
me, " he continues. "In life there are
loopholes and clever people who try
to exploit them."
The cash swilling around English
football isn t all bad.
In the shadow of the headquarters
of Barclays, the league sponsor, Hol-
loway is speaking at the gym of a
college in east London that has ben-
efited from the trickle-down effect
of the league s riches. A grant of
more than $1.2 million has funded
several football pitches.
"That s what we should be doing,
it s not all about how much the top
players get---however many grillion
a week," Hollloway says, inventing
a word on the spot.
"It s not about that, what that
turns them into---not very nice peo-
ple, going out spending god knows
what in bars. It s not about that. It s
about being people---proper people."
The example for Holloway is strik-
er Kevin Phillips, who is still in his
squad aged 40.
"He s what a real footballer should
be," Holloway says. "And I don t
mean a nice car and shiny earrings."
While outgoing and often enter-
taining, Holloway wants people to
take him seriously despite the occa-
sional quip. (AP)
Tottenham Hotspur's manager Andre Villas-Boas, right, and Crystal
Palace's manager Ian Holloway react as they watch their teams play during
their English Premier League soccer match at Selhurst Park, London, last
Sunday. AP PHOTO
Holloway stands up for principles in football
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