BLACKPOOL chairman Karl Oyston has described Ian Holloway as the best manager he has worked with.
Oyston hailed Holloway’s achievement in overcoming the disappointment of relegation and leading the Seasiders into the play-offs as “fantastic”.
Throughout Holloway’s three years at the club, he has won countless admirers for introducing a bold, attacking style of play and taking the club from Championship strugglers to the Premier League.
They came within a point of staying in the top flight last season and have again defied the odds by powering to a top-six finish.
Oyston arrived for Saturday’s 4-0 win over Burnley in a helicopter which landed on the pitch, saying it was the only way he could be sure of getting to the game on time after a dash from Hereford.
And he couldn’t be more satisfied with the job his manager is doing, saying: “Ian has not only the best success rate as a manager in terms of results, but what Ian spends pound for pound and the way he gets the players motivated is superb.
“He has brought into the way we do things at Blackpool and he makes sure he only brings characters here who will thrive under those circumstances. We don’t bring in any passengers or people who come to be in the comfort zone and do nothing but pick their money up.
“That isn’t the culture here and most of that is down to Ian and the way he manages.
“It has been an unbelievable achievement by Ian and the team to make these play-offs again. There was so much despondency in the close-season about going down by such a narrow margin.
“We also lost so many players we didn’t want to lose but Ian has replaced them.
“We now have a squad that is probably better than any in my time in charge at Blackpool.”
“We have played some fantastic football again this season, just like we did in the two years before that, and I sometimes have to rub my eyes because this is absolutely nothing like the Blackpool I took over 13 years ago.”
Oyston praised the supporters for their backing during Saturday’s 4-0 win over local rivals Burnley, which clinched their play-off spot with a game to spare, and explained his unorthodox arrival – in a helicopter which landed on the pitch.
The chairman added: “I thought the support was unbelievable on Saturday. The town well and truly got behind the team and the club, and it was magnificent. It was a big day for us because it was the last home game and there was a massive amount riding on it.
“The problem I had was that I had to be in Hereford earlier that day and there was no way of getting back with any level of reliability to be able to see the game – so that’s why I came by helicopter.
“It wasn’t some stunt, or an attempt to be flash – it was just a guarantee of getting to see the match.
“The guy flying me said it was OK to land on the pitch, and that was fine by me because I’ve always quite fancied doing that.
“It was a bit of a dream fulfilled – and I thought the ground safety staff putting ‘Flight of the Valkyries’ on at full blast as we touched down was a nice touch!”
As for the football, the possibility of a sensational return to the Premier League – not to mention another £40m payday – is now tantalisingly close.
But put that to Oyston and you’ll get short shrift.
“I will not talk about that. I will not tempt fate,” the chairman said.
“Not even under duress or torture will I talk about that because I haven’t the past three times we have been to the play-offs and I am not going to change that now. Am I excited? I don’t get excited. The only emotion I ever do is anger!”