Holloway leaves as Crystal Palace manager
Ian Holloway stepped down as manager of Crystal Palace on Wednesday, saying he was “worn out” and wasn’t the right man to try to keep the struggling London club in the Premier League.
One of English football’s most charismatic coaches, Holloway guided Palace back into the top flight in May after an eight-year absence but the team has lost seven of its eight matches this season and lies second from bottom.
“This man has done the honorable thing, maybe, and fallen on his sword,” Palace co-chairman Steve Parish said at a news conference in central London, where Holloway’s departure was confirmed.
Holloway felt he had lost the trust of the players who earned the team promotion by making 16 signings over the summer in a bid to strengthen the squad.
“I didn’t value enough the spirit of the group that helped us get to the Premier League,” said Holloway, in his usual honest manner. “I’ve lost the spirit of that group. I owe it to the lads to admit that.”
Holloway, the second Premier League manager to lose his job this season after Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland, added that he “changed too much too quickly.”
The 50-year-old Holloway, famed for his outspokenness and witty one-liners, held talks with Parish for an hour after a 4-1 home loss to Fulham on Monday. He is reported in the British media to have offered his resignation in that meeting.
“I think we both realized we need someone with more experience at this level,” said Parish, who was keen to point out that he hadn’t fallen out with Holloway.
“I was more than happy to get relegated and come back up with Ian. The word ‘sacked’ has never been mentioned among the directors. Ian’s been very noble and he’s come forward and said, ‘I can’t do it.’”
Holloway failed to keep Blackpool in the Premier League in his only other season as manager at this level, in the 2010-11 campaign, leading to accusations that he didn’t have the credentials to succeed in England’s top division.
“This club needs an impetus of energy,” Holloway said. “But I just feel tired, to be honest. I’m worn out.”
Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock and Roberto Di Matteo have already been linked with the vacancy at Palace, which hosts league leader Arsenal in its next match.
“You’d love to have someone in place next week,” Parish said, “but I haven’t got a list. I wanted Ian to wake up and say, ‘Sorry about the blip,’ and stay.”