Preview - Say It The Holloway
Let`s have a coffee: say it the 'Ollie` Way
Here, for any Colchester United fan making the long trip up to Home Park to attend tonight`s game against Plymouth Argyle, is an Ian 'Ollie` Holloway line that should break the boredom: "I have such bad luck at the moment that if I fell in a barrel of boobs I`d come out sucking my thumb."
Unfortunately for U`s fans - searching here for a fourth away win of the campeign - Holloway didn`t say it this week, although the 43-year old is always worth a listen when speaking among the white noise of football`s soundbites.
Following last weekend`s triumphant F.A. Cup win at Derby, however, he has kept the quips to a minimum. Ironically, though, Plymouth will now battle against Premiership side Watford in the next round come March, having drawn them on Monday, just eight months after Holloway promised to take them to the top-flight upon his appointment.
The former Queens Park Rangers manager preached possible promotion when speaking to the BBC in June, and followed that seemigly farcical statement of intent by winning his first game in charge (away at Sunderland on August 12th) 3-2.
Argyle now lie a few plaes below United in the Championship standings, although their succcsess has been achieved a lot more noisily than Colchester`s surprise push for the play-offs.
One might even call Colchester`s dugout novice, Geraint Williams, an exact opposite of Holloway, because the reserved Welshman will not even admit that his Essex side are in the running for a top-six finish.
Holloway, meanwhile, cannot abstain from back-page coverage. His most deliciously quotable material of the season was a direct insult aimed at Sepp Blatter, head honcho at football`s international governing body, FIFA.
"You are an idiot. Put the rules back to what they should be," said Holloway, after Argyle were denied a win at Southampton, when an apparent goal was ruled out, amid a contentious interpretation of the latest version of offside. He then added: "He is a complete lunatic."
Not that Mr. Holloway himself qualifies as a model definition of sanity. As evidence, this column quotes Ian - who appeared on the BBC series Stress Test in 2004 - giving his opinion on a not particularly flattering win against Chesterfield, while still Q.P.R boss.
He said: "To put it in gentleman`s terms if you`ve been out for a night and you're looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they`re good looking and some weeks they`re not the best.
"Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She weren`t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let`s have a coffee."
As a club, Plymouth boast as many eccentricities as their current manager, one being that the most westerly club in England is more a haven of Rugby Union and Cricket than it is of Pele`s Beautiful Game.
The Devonshire outfit do appear take comfort in the uniqueness of their own footballing culture. Argyle still don those famous green shirts (many sides have ditched the colour for fear of it being unlucky) and have no desire to leave their 20,000-capcity site at Home Park, despite pressure from the local council. Usually, of course, since most football clubs cannot wait to relocate, teams do not need asking twice.
Now they have a manager to match that nature, while geography also forces the Plymouth faithful to undertake mammoth away trips in support of the cause.
It was Holloway, for example, who had praised 700 fans for undertaking what was an 804 mile round trip to see the team in action at that previously mentioned Sunderland fixture. "Anyone who travelled up there please send me a letter. I would love to buy you a drink," he offered, as a way of celebrating his debut win.
Such is Holloway`s ability to mix a metaphor and wax lyrically on football, that there is little doubting he could have found alternative employment on the comedy circuit had he not successfully bounced back into management, following last year`s shady suspension from first-team duty at Queens Park Rangers.
Either that, or he would have ended up in chanrge of Colchester United, who expressed an interset in bringing him to Essex as a replacement for Phil Parkinson.
"Sometimes when you aim for the stars, you hit the moon," he once commented, and might easily be referring to his seemigly stupid ambtion to bring Premieship football to stubborn Plymouth.
But, what with Ian, and Mike Newell, in charge of sides on football`s second tier, who needs the stale banter being traded in the Premier League by messieurs Ferguson, Wenger or Mourinho? For once, as far as all fans of the Coca Cola Championship - including those in Colchetser - are concerned, those in the top-flight will have to wait their turn.