Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ian Holloway: premier man, premier team

I've met Ian Holloway, who today won the Championship play-offs to become a Premier Leage manager next season, a couple of times. He was the manager of QPR when I first went to Loftus Road but I also used to work for a charity that serves deaf children and their families, the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS)

I first wrote to Ian asking for his help to raise funds for NDCS when he was still at QPR, before they very foolishly got rid of him. Yes, they got rid of the guy that brought QPR up from League One and was somehow surviving in the championship with no money - and swapped him for a whole stream of failed managers and ridiculous boardroom drama that this season almost returned them to League One.

Anyway, back to the story. By the time he'd had a chance to reply to me he was the manager of Plymouth Argyle FC but still came all the way from the south west one early Sunday morning to support us at the start of a sponsored walk for deaf children and their parents. Not a grumble about the time he'd had to get up or any of the shenanigans you often get from celebrities - he was bubbling over with enthusiasm but also anger at the way that deaf children still get let down by the system.

Did he do his bit, cut the ribbon at the start of the walk and be on his way? Er, no. He made a point of talking to every one of those kids and wanted to walk the route as well. The last we saw of him the walk had finished and he was disappearing round the corner with a family trying to make one of the kids laugh with his sign language.

He then helped us launch a football project for deaf kids months afterwards - and wrote back to ask if he could do anything else.

Just a snapshot of the man - a truly genuine and very special guy. I doubt I'll ever get the chance to meet or speak to him again but I'll never forget that day - and neither will those kids. Good luck next season, Ian.


  1. Ollie is a legend. The way Paladini engineered his exit from QPR was a absolute disgrace. Getting Blackpool promoted is an truly unbelievable achievement and makes all those QPR fans who argued that he had taken QPR as far as he could look like idiots. Given the resources made available to Dowie, Sousa, Magilton etc, Holloway would have had QPR in the prem by now (not languishing in the doldrums of the CCC).

  2. Worked with Ollie at QPR for around two and a half years. A genuinely special person. His players and all his staff would have run through walls for him. Lovely bloke, proper family man, couldn't wish for more success for him.