Ian Holloway has highlighted the importance of fans amid the ongoing debate surrounding the English football season.
At present, the season has been postponed due to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic and there is much talk surrounding how it should be concluded.
There has been a suggestion of playing out the remaining fixtures behind closed doors – with no fans being allowed into the stadium – but Holloway doesn’t think that this is a viable plan.
“In football, you’ve got to make sure that everything you do is for the fans and not just for you. Every single thing we do is for somebody else, to make them proud of how we are trying to do it.
“I’m not sure how you can ask us to put on a performance and not allow the people to come and see the performance.
“In the Premier League it will probably be okay because they’ve got the coverage but lower down the leagues, we haven’t.
“At the end of the day, people are dying, and we have to stop that.”
The 57-year-old – speaking to UCLAN journalism students via an online Q&A – is now at the helm of League Two side Grimsby Town.
Joining in December 2019, Holloway has guided the club from 21st place to now sit 13th with a comfortable distance between ‘The Mariners’ and the relegation zone.
Once more, Holloway has lauded the part that the Grimsby community has played in this.
“The main attraction of Grimsby to my wife – Kim – and I was the community.
“They lost their livelihoods a few years ago when the cod wars happened but they are resilient people.
“They don’t have much, but they love what they’ve got and I feel that that’s hugely important to me in my life. The responsibility of being the head of a community who wants their team to do well is an absolute privilege.”
It is fair to say that Holloway’s managerial career has been laden with success.
The Bristolian – to date – has achieved three promotions to the Premier League across three different teams
One of those was at Blackpool, where ‘The Tangerines’ were tipped for relegation before their promotion season had begun in 2009/10.
Arguably one of the most surprising Championship promotions in recent years became a reality at the Lancashire side and Holloway was more than happy to rejoice about it with the students.
“I’ll never ever forget my promotion at Blackpool.
“The end of the season was a bit stressful to say the least because we had to get into the play-offs before we could win them and both Swansea and Bristol City were hot on our heels.
“All I can remember from the play-off final is how hot it was, and that Cardiff hit the bar then the game was over.
“There were people crying in the horseshoe of tangerine at Wembley stadium. The joy and euphoria of it all was special.”
The Q&A session not only allowed students to hear Holloway’s tales but also gave them an opportunity to gain some inspiration from the professional.
Currently residing at his family home, Holloway gave out some vital nuggets of advice to the students to remember and apply in their future work.
But amongst the mass of information came one important piece in particular.
“Do something, review it, and re-do it again. Nobody gets lucky in life, you have to earn it.
“There’s no limit to what you can achieve if you push yourself.”