IAN Holloway rounded off a difficult week by calling on everyone – from players to fans – to concentrate on the football and nothing else.
With local bragging rights at stake in a tasty Lancashire derby at Burnley tomorrow, Holloway understandably wants to focus on the game.
But after a week when chairman Karl Oyston felt the need to speak out in praise of the manager and to criticise any unhappy fans, it was no surprise what the talking point was at Holloway’s weekly press conference.
The Seasiders boss claimed he hadn’t seen Oyston’s comments and seemed a bit bemused by all the fuss.
“I don’t know why the chairman did that interview. I don’t feel he needs to help me. It is nice he did, but we lost at home and unfortunately when that happens, people will be unhappy,” said the boss.
“Whatever treatment I get, I believe I should be cut a tiny bit of slack because of where we were the year before I came with a very similar team. I’ve lost my best three players since and that is huge.
“Yes, we got promoted and that got us a load of money. But if our fans think all the money should be spent on players and wages right now, I don’t think that makes sense.
“The more people have a go at Karl, the more stubborn he gets. So that’s why I’ve said (to supporters) over the last couple of weeks, ‘Please try not to have a go’. He’s hard enough to deal with sometimes. Money doesn’t guarantee you anything. It is stability and running the place correctly (that matter), and I don’t want us to change.”
Holloway spoke at length about the need to stay unified and get back to the type of mindset which marked his first two years in the job.
“Our fans are absolutely different class. They were the reason I came here in the first place,” he added.
“I was happy to try to get some famous days back for this wonderful club, and that’s what I am still trying to do.
“I can take all sorts of criticism. But when I pick a team or make substitutions, I don’t think that should be judged until the match has finished, and that is what is annoying me. Every manager feels the same. I’m sure Mick McCarthy does at the moment.
“We should be judged at the end of the season, not now. We are only 13 games in and surely everyone should be concentrating on Burnley, not anything else. I’ve had a good chat with a few of my boys, who’ve been here with me a long time – like Keith Southern, Ian Evatt and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.