Ian Holloway started his managerial career as a Player Manager of Bristol Rovers who were in the old Division Two (now League 1) and in his first season led them to 17th place. The following season was a more succesful one for Holloway, who led The Pirates to a play off place, finishing 5th and a semi-final fixture against Northampton Town. They won the first leg 3-1, however the second leg saw Town beat Rovers 3-0 and subsequently knocking Bristol Rovers out of the play-offs.
The following season, Rovers finished a dissapointing 13th place which lef to Holloway hanging up his boots to concentrate fully on mananging the team he had supported his whole life. In his last full season for Rovers, he led the team to 7th place, narrowly missing out on the play-offs.
After joining Queens Park Rangers midway through the 2000-01 season, Holloway faced the task of keeping them in the old Division One (now Championship). After a long and hard battle, he failed to do so and Rangers were relegated to the third tier of football, the old Division Two. At the third time of trying, Holloway led QPR to promotion to the newly formed Championship, finishing second behind Plymouth Argyle.
Holloway took QPR to a very respectable 11th place for their first season in the Championship and the following season (2005-06) they remained mid-table, however without the leadership of Holloway who was suspended in February 2006. The reason given by the QPR board was the the constant rumours linking Holloway to the managerial post at Leicester City was disrupting the team.
In June 2006, Holloway took over at The Pilgrims and promised the South West club that he would guide them to The Premier League. In pre-season, Plymouth Argyle announced that they would be playing Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly which led to Holloway 'falling' off his chair!
Holloway's first match was away against Sunderland, a fixture that they won 3-2. After the match, Holloway offered to buy every one of the 700 fans who made the 800 mile round trip a drink. "Anyone who travelled up there please send me a letter. I would love to buy you a drink."
In November 2007, Holloway handed in his resignation to the Plymouth Argyle board after speculation, again, that he would be filling the vacant managerial post at Leicester City.
After years of speculation, Holloway finally took over at Leicester City and for the first time in over 50 years became the first manager of Leicester City to win their first game in charge, beating Bristol City 2-0. However, after winning just 9 of the 32 league games he took charge of, City were related at the end of the 2007-08 season and in the process losing 1-0 to his former club Plymouth Argyle.
After parting company by mutual consent after their relegation, Holloway reflected on this time in charge: "Leicester City is a marvellous club and I am as devastated as anybody that this great club suffered relegation. I gave 100% to the cause but unfortunately we ran out of time. The fans here are a different class and deserve a lot, lot better. I'd like to wish everyone connected with Leicester City well for the future – the club will always remain close to my heart."
After a year out of football, Holloway was appointed manager of Blackpool in May 2009 after the departure of caretaker manager Tony Parkes, signing a one year contract.
His first game in charge came at the beginning of the 2009-10 season, facing his former club QPR at Loftus Road. They drew the match 2-1. After what some would call a surprising season, Blackpool were promoted to the Premier League via the play-off's after finishing 6th place in the Championship. Holloway described this achievement as the best moment of his life, aside from seeing his children born.
It is with Blackpool that Ian Holloway has gained his reputation as a football loving and highly opinionated individual, not afraid to tell it as it is. And this is why we love him!
Good luck to Blackpool for the remainder of the 2010-11 season!
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