Ian Holloway concedes he didn't evolve quick enough to keep Blackpool in the Premier League

Ian Holloway concedes he didn’t evolve quick enough to stave off Blackpool’s relegation from the Premier League in 2011.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 1:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 1:08 pm

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The Seasiders spent just one season in the top flight following their historic promotion via the Championship play-offs.

Blackpool were written off in some quarters before a ball was even kicked, which Holloway used as fuel to motivate his players.

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“I didn’t feel that was fair. So I used that with the players, saying: ‘this is what they think of us,” Holloway said in an interview with Planet Football.

“I’ll never forget, they had the Blackpool Tower and the managers’ faces clinging to it. Well, I wasn’t even on the Tower. They had me on a parachute off the tower. It gave me a raving hump to be honest.”

The Seasiders earned plenty of plaudits during the 2010/11 season for their brave, attacking style, which saw them rout Wigan Athletic 4-0 on the opening day.

Holloway’s men would also complete a memorable double over Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool and beat Tottenham Hotspur at Bloomfield Road.

Ian Holloway's Blackpool side were relegated on the final day at Old Trafford

Ultimately, it didn’t prove to be enough as a final-day defeat to champions Manchester United at Old Trafford condemned them to relegation.

“We spent 12 months actually working on what I felt was right and why,” Holloway said.

“It was more about after losing the ball, what we wanted to do, to try and win it back quickly.

“We did have a possession-based game and really it’s not ideal to go up into the Premier League because they’re all better than you. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea – they take some stopping, getting anywhere near them.

“We didn’t know anything else. I couldn’t go away from what got us some success and I think that was the key, the supporters joined in and thought: ‘look at these lot having to go’.

“What else could you do? You couldn’t suddenly go parking the bus. It wouldn’t have suited my players and it wouldn’t have been anything to do with what I was trying to make them believe.

“One of the managers did ask me: ‘what are you going to do when you can’t dominate possession?’ That was Arsene Wenger. I said: ‘well, probably lose.’ But in my career I had to learn.

“Crystal Palace didn’t really want to have the ball, they wanted to counter-attack, so the next time I saw that manager, I actually told him what I would do, which was: ‘study your passing patterns, block you off, win it back and counter-attack.’ And he went: ‘oh, well done.’

“As a manager, as a coach, you have to evolve. Unfortunately for Blackpool, I didn’t evolve quick enough to stay up.”

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