Ollie’s not for turning?

Pic by Avril Husband/Griffiths Photographers'Barclays Premier League Arsenal v Blackpool Emirates Stadium 21-08-2010'Ian Holloway, Blackpool manager
Pic by Avril Husband/Griffiths Photographers'Barclays Premier League Arsenal v Blackpool Emirates Stadium 21-08-2010'Ian Holloway, Blackpool manager
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Please don’t go, Ollie. Fans are entreating their hero to stay, and even lifelong Liverpool fan (twice thrashed by Blackpool) Jacqui Morley agrees

Don’t go Ollie! That’s the cry on Blackpool FC fans’ lips today as the will Ollie won’t Ollie quit? debate rages on. Just look at our website comments since the story broke – and other online fan sites.

“Holloway is a class manager. Without him we would still be in the Championship.” “We have had our greatest moments in recent history thanks to a little bit of luck and a lot of motivational management by Ollie.”

A few dissenters who suggest chairman Karl Oyston accepts Ian Holloway’s resignation get drowned out: “It is time we got a dour Northern man in who is never in the press or on Sky,” says one. “Let’s get back to grinding a few nil-nils out,” says another.

Glenn Bowley, chairman of the club’s supporters’ association, tells us: “Ian Holloway’s a man of principle, he’s aggrieved by the Barclays Premier League’s decision to fine the club, he doesn’t like being told what to do, he knows his players, he feels it’s disrespectful.

“We’re also aggrieved by the fact Wolves’ fine was suspended and ours isn’t.

“I wonder whether the Premier League has made it personal, about Ian Holloway and not Blackpool FC. If that’s the case, it’s disgusting. Holloway and Blackpool have done more for the Premier League than any one club over many years.

“Ours is a small club, with a small budget, and we have shown them the league is not a closed shop. Holloway has made it accessible.”

So the word from fans to their hero is clear... forget standing on principle, falling on swords, and all the other mixed metaphors to which sport is prone.

Remember, instead, that sport really is a funny old world. It can produce more precedents for U-turns than Margaret Thatcher’s Lady’s Not For Turning administration ever did – on a grandstand scale. Honourable U-turns, to boot – rather than political U-turns which can scrap military aircraft at will, or ensure supercasinos never make it to Manchester or Blackpool, thanks to the Government taking its ball away.

And with Ollie, the coolest manager in Premier League hotseats – even a vote of confidence by club chiefs means just what it says on the can. The Lady may not for turning – but let’s hope this laddy is...

U-turns take many forms in sport. Liverpool fans may remember Kenny Dalglish packing it all in on health and stress related grounds – to turn up in Blackburn eight months later and propel them to the Premiership.

Our own, beloved, Andrew (Freddie) Flintoff limped off from world-class cricket, defeated by a recurring knee injury last year. He can now be seen in Freddie Flintoff v The World, on primetime telly, taking on extreme sports challenges, and giving his body the kind of hammering which would bring the Mighty Thor to his knees.

And let’s hail all-conquering champion runner Haile Gebrselassi, known as the Emperor in his native Ethiopia, for reversing his decision to retire, in order to tackle the Olympics in 2012 in London.

Which brings us to Ian Holloway, man of many words, and, as he’s the first to admit, not all of them well-chosen, in the heat of the moment, when it comes to the arbiters of football, the refs and linespeople, and the overseers of the smaller print of the beautiful game.

Ollie’s been forced to eat some words by sideline bans in the past, dispatched to a quiet corner to cool his heels.

In a David Colemanesque kind of way he’s taken the cooling of his heels on the chin, owning up to becoming a wiser, if not sadder, man as a result. But this time a mighty big hole has been dug in the dugout, Ollie offering to quit IF the club chooses to accept his resignation IF the Premier League fine Pool for the 10 team changes he fielded ahead of the 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa in November. As if...!

Of course, they have.

But in making an example of Ollie, the Premier League loses face, not least among the fans who visit the Blackpool FC shop, and know that £25k would buy at least 5,000 more Blackpool FC autograph books (£4.99 a time), 3125 “away socks” (£8), 4,166.6 (recurring) black beanies (£6), to make up the shortfall.

Personally, I’d go for the 12” x 16” print of Charlie Adam scoring his free-kick at Wembley, £14.99. Only 1,666.6 (recurring) of those to sell. And they could be collectors’ items...

Ollie protests his principle at our peril; other clubs would snap him up and we don’t want him to go, and Oyston doesn’t want him to go, saying it would “compound an unjust decision by stopping doing what he is doing so well”.

That salvo was fired from Blackpool’s adopted Royal Navy submarine, HMS Triumph, off the Devon coast.

What’s the range on those Spearfish torpedoes – and where’s Premier League headquarters?

Fans don’t want Ollie to eat humble pie at half time, but now is not the time to play a Man For All Seasons, either. Take it like a manager. Our manager...