Skip to main content Skip to site footer
League Two

Ian Holloway: A manager for the fans

In an exclusive interview, Ian Holloway tells us how he hopes to make Grimsby great again

10 September 2020

A former manager with one of football's most infectious personalities on the television screen. Ian Hollway appeared to be enjoying life as one of EFL on Quest's pundits.

But after holding talks at a fish and chip restaurant in Cleethorpes last Christmas, the former Blackpool and QPR boss chose to hang his microphone up once more to put on the training gear and return to management for Grimsby Town. 
"I feel like a kid in a sweet shop," was one of his first quotes when taking over. But not any manager, even one as experienced as the Bristolian, could have predicted what was to happen next.
After taking over a club in 21st place, retaining their EFL status was a realistic ambition. But a strong start to life under 'Ollie' saw the Mariners dreaming of a Sky Bet League Two Play-Off position, before the season was curtailed.
Now, after not playing since March, Grimsby are days away from getting under way in the league again. Despite supporters not being allowed in to stadiums, Holloway's goal for his players remains the same - do it for them. 
"I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the fans," he said.
"I did my research beforehand and they are incredible people. Even in the situation we’ve found ourselves in they’ve raised £120,000 for the club.
"They’ve been phenomenal and I’m very proud to be the manager of their football club. 
"It’s of paramount importance to me to try and make this place better for them. My players will play with the pride that they (the fans) would if they were to wear the shirt."
That pride in wearing the shirt was epitomised in midweek, by a teenager playing football for his local team after school. 
This was no ordinary story, though. This was 15-year-old Louis Boyd making his debut for the Grimsby Town first team - a debut to remember. 


Just eight minutes after Holloway brought him on as a substitute in their EFL Trophy match with Harrogate Town, Boyd coolly went past a player 17 years his senior, before smashing the ball in to the top corner from outside the box. A finish any player would have been proud of. 
Producing talent of that calibre is something Holloway is a big believer in, telling Grimsby Live after the game: “With the academy setup, and with me, no matter how old you are, if you’re good enough and I like the look of you, I might put you in."
Holloway believes that belief it self is the key to being successful this season.
"I think life’s about getting a group together and doing things that they didn’t believe were possible themselves," he explained.
"Messi wasn’t born that good - he practiced. He might’ve had some natural ability, but he worked harder than others.
"Sometimes they (my players) don’t see it and you’ve just got to keep on at them.
"Sometimes it’s the stick - you make them run because if they can’t run they can’t play anyway. And sometimes it’s the carrot. You’ve got to talk to them and put your arm around some of them while you kick the other ones up the backside.
"You need different ingredients in there and that’s what makes the cake taste wonderful. You need a team that can do everything and you need them to bond and believe in that togetherness."
Watch Colin Murray's exclusive interview with Ian Holloway, alongside his former player and now manager of Wycombe Wanderers, Gareth Ainsworth - as part of the EFL Season Launch below:

Advertisement block