The QPR manager believes there are better times ahead
HE’S 54 and been around the managerial block a few times, but Ian Holloway still has the same passion and determination as ever.
So, when the Bristolian tells you he’s excited about his QPR team’s prospects, it makes you listen.
And why not? After a run of seven games without a win, no one fancied the R’s to pick up much from their home double header against Championship high-flyers Wolves and Sheffield United.
But a storming 2-1 victory against Wolves last Saturday prevented the Molineux side going back to the top of the table.
Then, a hard-fought 1-0 win against the Blades in midweek knocked the Yorkshire club off the summit.
The latter was Holloway’s 300th game in charge of the Hoops in two spells. He’s also bossed Bristol Rovers, Plymouth, Leicester, Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Millwall over the past two decades.
Six points from two games, up to 12th in the table and just four points off the play-offs. Who said QPR were going nowhere fast?
Certainly not Ollie, who was in typically ebullient mood after getting the better of Chris Wilder’s men thanks to Idrissa Sylla’s fourth-minute goal.
“We’ve just beaten two top teams in this division and now we’ve got to learn how to win on the road (the R’s had drawn four and lost three ahead of yesterday’s trip to Nottingham Forest),” he said.
“I feel something is coming, the spirit, the togetherness. I’m really proud it’s 300 games for me here.
“Let’s see if we can win on the road because that’s where our problems lie.
“Can we change our mentality and say ‘yes, we can win’ away from home. It’s about believing.”
Holloway – a box-to-box midfielder with Bristol Rovers (three spells), Wimbledon, Brentford and QPR in his playing days – believes his senior pros, the likes of Alex Baptiste, Jamie Mackie and Matt Smith, have a crucial responsibility in helping to develop QPR’s youngsters.
“Senior pros taught me how to be a pro and you can ask anybody in the game: ‘Was there a better professional than me?’” he said.
“There were much better players, but as a professional – working, training, if I was sub, if I wasn’t – what would I do after the game?
“That’s what I try to bring to a football club. It takes time, but the players have got to buy into it. I can only say thank you to them.
“The modern day footballer, how much has he got? Does he really need to be like that? How many examples of that did we have here?
“Wow, I’m so proud of the players. The young lads are very, very exciting. We’re trying to bring the club together and, whatever anyone else thinks on the outside, results like this might make them sit up and take notice.
“I knew this was happening a couple of weeks ago because I’ve watched my team. This is a team, so don’t write us off yet.”
On a night when the R’s were celebrating an important victory, Holloway took time out to spare a thought for a fellow manager, Simon Grayson, who was brutally axed by Sunderland just minutes after a 3-3 draw against Bolton.
The ex-Preston boss had taken over the Black Cats’ hot seat only this summer.
“You can liken a football club as big as Sunderland to a huge ship on the sea,” said Holloway. “It’s battered, lurching. He’s not only got to pull it off the bottom, he’s got to get it floating again.
“That ain’t enough time to do that. You don’t get success by chucking people out left, right and centre. It’s really not right, in my opinion, but who am I to tell them what to do? This is the modern day, this is what it’s all about.
“Two games ago I hadn’t won for seven games. I pick up a paper on a Sunday and apparently I might not be here. That’s life and we’ve all got to deal with it.
“I feel for Simon. He’s a magnificent bloke and he’s a very, very good manager. Sixteen minutes after the end of the game? Where’s football
going? I don’t know.”
Instead of chopping and changing managers at the drop of a hat Holloway believes owners need to give them time to do their work to develop players.
“You want to affect people as a manager,” he explained. “Players don’t need to think that you’ve been undermined.
“If they think you might not be here tomorrow, you ain’t never going to affect nobody.
“That’s what’s changing in football. It’s a foreign thing, all started abroad. I would ask for a little common sense sometimes. “We have fantastic talented throughout the club and I would love to have a long time here to nurture them, but I’ve got to get results.” And, while a £40m fine for breaching Financial Fair Play rules a few years ago hangs over the club like a dark cloud, Holloway is delighted the fans have a team to be proud of. There might not be superstar players with incredible flair, there are no bad eggs eit Instead, QPR have a h energy, hard-grafting ou prepared to battle. “The buzz with the supporters at Sunderland wasn't there when we were there 1 draw in mid-October),” he said. “You’ve got to find that “Our crowd at the minute Wow, Wow. If I had hair it would be standing up on back of my neck. It feels great because the fans are start of trust their team.” Whether these two wins are mere flash in the pan or the s of something special remains to be seen, but Holloway promises he and his players will give their best shot. “We get one or two bits wrong, but we’re learning how to dig in,” he added “Let’s see if we can get a run of games where we don’t get beat, but we have to earn that. This division is so, so tough. We’ve got a long, long way to go. Don’t stop, keep going
We have fantastic talent throughout the club and I would love to have a long time here to nurture them. Ian Holloway QPR manager