KARL Oyston insists his relationship with Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has never been stronger – but ahead of their meeting this week, the chairman admitted that if a “bigger” club came in he would have no hesitation in allowing the manager to go.
“I think he deserves that from me after what he’s done,” Oyston said.
But he reiterated that he wants Holloway to remain in charge for many years and will discuss a wage rise during their talks.
And Oyston insists there is no problem between them, despite Holloway stating in his latest Sunday Mirror column: “A manager wants to know that everyone at the club is shooting for the stars rather than being happy to tread water.”
Oyston responded: “I’m not going to let anyone pretend there is an issue between us because there isn’t.
“Our relationship is as strong as it has ever been. We both totally understand one another and all it comes down to after that is fairness.
“I have been in Monaco over the weekend but I spoke to Ian, who is in Italy, on the phone and we had a good chat. He knows I want him to be the manager over the longer term and to keep building on what we’ve got now because the improvement and the growth has been massive.
“For us to view ourselves and be viewed by our competitors as a strong Championship club and a realistic contender aiming for the play-offs and promotion, how far have we come since Ian joined the club? It is nearly unbelievable.”
That’s why a pay rise for the manager will be discussed this week and Oyston added: “I think it is highly important that the manager is happy, that he feels he has a fair deal that reflects what he has achieved for this football club and what we hope he will continue to achieve for this club.
“We’ve got to treat Ian fairly, and reflect his value, importance and contribution to the football club. Ian is a very fair-minded man and he needs us to be fair with him.
“That is why if some bigger club wants to take Ian, then I think I’d be the first one to load him in a car and give him a lift.
“I’ve told him that. I think he has deserved that and I’d be amazed if other clubs don’t look at him.”
“That’s not me being defeatist or giving in, and it wouldn’t mean there is any breakdown in our relationship. Our relationship is very objective and reality-based.
“I am just saying we appreciate and respect what he has done with us, and if he were to get snapped up, he would go with everybody’s blessing, absolutely.
“But let’s all keep our fingers crossed that all the other chairmen in the country don’t want Ian as their manager. I couldn’t for the life of me see why they wouldn’t, but let’s just hope they don’t.”
Oyston spelled out the strong position Pool are now in under Holloway.
“We are in such good shape ahead of next season. We have no-one out of contract this summer who we don’t want to be, and no-one is going to leave who we don’t want to. That hasn’t happened since I’ve been in charge.
“The only player we have asked where he sees his future lying is Roman Bednar, and he only came in on a short-term deal in the second half of the season. As for the core squad, we have them all. There are 19 first-team squad members tied to us and we have seven more youngsters signed up.
“We’ve never had it so good, and it is our stated objective to take on another five or six players to fill the areas in the squad that need to be filled.
“There is a lot of budget freed up by outgoing players, enabling us to sign people who will affect the squad, so I don’t think anyone should be in any doubts about our intentions, and I am excited about talking more with Ian this week.”