KARL Oyston has criticised the “Big Brother style” of the Premier League and implored it to offer “clearer guidance” about its rules, as football’s big-hitters rallied in support of Ian Holloway.
The Seasiders boss is to offer to quit, staying true to his word after promising to go if he was fined for making 10 changes in a league game at Aston Villa.
But despite the short-term headlines that will cause, Pool fans need not fret too much – Oyston will reject the manager’s resignation and all will go on as before.
The only thing on the club’s mind at this moment is ensuring they have some success in the transfer market before Tuesday’s deadline, trying to hang on to skipper Charlie Adam – and then they will decide whether to appeal the Premier League’s fine.
“We will wait until the dust settles from the transfer window and then we’ll go away and look at this, out of the pressure cooker that is alive at the moment, and we will decide what the best thing to do is,” said Oyston.
“If we have got prospects of success in appealing then we will appeal. We all feel quite bothered by the feeling of injustice of this decision so it will be natural to think we will appeal, but we will make that decision further down the line.”
Oyston strongly believes the Premier League’s fine is harsh to say the least and feels they need to look at their rulebook.
“The game was quite early in the season so nothing was depending on it. It wasn’t like the last two or three games where it could affect the division in any clear and immediate way, like has happened maybe once or twice in the past,” said the chairman.
“We narrowly lost and it wasn’t as if we fielded a weakened side.
“We fielded a side from our 25-man squad that the Premier League has insisted the clubs have this time. There has been a rule change and you now have to name your 25. Well, surely you should be free to be able to play those 25 as and when your manager chooses?
“Now if the Premier League are saying the players we have named in our 25 aren’t good enough they should tell us up front, not after the event.
“I think there has got to be clearer guidance from the Premier League in regards to this sort of thing because it is an arduous division that certainly has mental and physical demands on the players, and managers have to have the freedom to manage and pick the teams they choose.
“I am amazed that there is this level of Big Brother style intervention.
“Other clubs have made wholesale changes this season and I believe managers should be free to do that.”
It isn’t just Oyston who thinks that - the Premier League’s big-name managers have come out in support of Holloway.
“You are allowed to have 25 players,” said Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who is expected to make a significant number of changes to his Manchester United starting line-up for the Reds FA Cup tie at Southampton today.
“They ask you to name them. They don’t ask you to name your 11 and 14 substitutes. The rules are there.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger added: “His (Holloway’s) team was not weak because they nearly got a good result at Aston Villa. They lost in the last minute.
“I can understand why he rotated the team, because he had games (that were close together), so I have sympathy.”
Like Ferguson, Wenger believes the 25-man squad system should mean a manager can select whatever side he likes.
“It is a rule which may be looked at, especially if you limit the squad,” the Arsenal boss said.
“If you have an unlimited squad the rule is very good.
“If you have a limited squad like it is now when you can only have 25 players, I feel this rule should go.
“Every club now has 25 top-level players who can cope with the Premier League.”
Even Gerard Houllier, the Aston Villa boss Holloway has had a very public spat with over an offer for Charlie Adam, spoke up in defence of the Seasiders boss. “I hope his chairman (Karl Oyston) will hold him back,” said Houllier.
“Despite what happened between us, he is a good manager, he has done a good job.
“He can behave stupidly and still be a good manager. I think he has done a fantastic job and I like the way his team play.”
Pool have 14 days to decide whether or not to appeal against the Premier League’s fine.