Get off Holloway’s back, say stars

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KEITH Southern and Gary Taylor-Fletcher have come out fighting on behalf of their boss, saying any stick Ian Holloway is getting is out of order.

The pair point out that Holloway took the club to a place it never dreamed of reaching and that he is continuing to do a good job since relegation from the Premier League.

Their comments follow on from the manager’s growing frustration at the criticism he has been receiving on internet messageboards, and from chairman Karl Oyston’s observations that any unhappy supporters must have “short-term memory loss”.

Southern said: “If the manager wants to read messageboards, that is completely his decision but it isn’t something I’d do.

“You manage a football club how you see fit. You make decisions, big decisions, and you are paid to do that.

“Nobody should be critical of the manager for what he has done at this football club.

“I think it is an annoyance if you listen to outside influences, to people who have nothing better to do with their time than make silly remarks.”

Taylor-Fletcher added: “I have felt negativity. There are quite a few people giving stick and the chairman is quite right to come out and back the manager.

“What the manager has done for the club has been fantastic.

“The turnaround over the last few years – getting back to the Championship for the first time in 30 years, then back to the top flight after 40 – means the expectations have risen quite a bit and we’ve all got to deal with that.

“But we are only two points off the play-offs, we’re still in a good position and two or three years ago we would have taken this. You are always going to get a minority who will shout a few obscenities, but it is part and parcel of football and the best way to answer that is to score a goal and get a win.

“But it is uncalled for because the position we are in isn’t a bad one.

“We are still trying to work out how best to play as a team and who to pick, but we are only 13 games in and there are 33 to go.”

Southern and Taylor-Fletcher spoke to The Gazette after a signing session at JD Sports in Blackpool.

Fans queued for more than an hour at the Houndshill shopping centre to meet the pair. That in itself is a sign of how far the club has come and Southern says fans have to remember how difficult the Championship is.

“This league is an absolute rat-race,” the midfielder added. “There are games left, right and centre and there are a lot of big clubs in it.

“There is a lot of expectancy now at Blackpool and I think it can be a tad unfair.

“We have lost some good players. The manager is trying to put his stamp on a new group and it takes time for things to gel.

“Our home record before Saturday was great. We had only lost one of the first six and one of those we won 5-0.

“Sometimes I’m not sure what the fans expect. Do they expect us to turn up every week and destroy teams? Well, I’m afraid if that is what they are expecting, it isn’t going to happen.

“You have to work at things at this level. Sometimes it’s a battle, sometimes it’s not pretty, and if you come out with the three points, that is great.

“I think you can be over-analytical. I don’t think there is too much wrong. People need to realise where we’ve come from and what we’ve achieved.”