Ian Holloway's QPR unveiling: The best bits from his Loftus Road press conference
PUBLISHED: 00:10 17 November 2016 | UPDATED: 00:10 17 November 2016
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Ian Holloway and Marc Bircham were unveiled to the press at Loftus Road on Wednesday. Below are the best bits from the duo’s press conference in W12.
Why did you go back?
IH: People told me that when I went back to Bristol Rovers. How can I not come back to this place. I told my boss at Sky if QPR came in he’d be in trouble. I believed they’d come in for me. It’s a no brainer.
The QPR love story
IH: I was 29 years old. My manager left - I thought he was brilliant and he taught me things. He went up the road to QPR. He asked if I wanted to come so I came here when I was 29 years old. I ended up making my dream happen. When I walked in the door and what the dressing room was like. I was a lower league player and I had a huge part in making us as successful as we were by being honest and hard working. I was a down to earth player. I managed to play 150 times. I think I rubbed off on people and it was the best days of my footballing life. Coming back here as a manager. We were the first big club to have administration thrown at it. That’s a story in itself that I wasn’t told. The main reason is I did it once with people who cared and I want to do that again. We’ve had a spell where the owners were trying to buy success and people don’t care. Hopefully, this fella next to me (Bircham) helped make everybody care and when you’re doing something you care about it shows. I managed to take them up on half the budget (5.6m to 2.8) and that’s a fact. It’s something I would have dreamed of and I can’t wait to get going. I’ve had two days but it feels like two months. Bringing Marc back from where he’s been is a fantastic fillip for me, Les. He’s been coaching them for years. There’s no perfect job but I feel I’m already running.
IH: Without a shadow of a doubt. He was going to do that but I wouldn’t let him. He made me do it. All their dreams and hopes were crushed on that day. I said I believe you’re good enough to get other jobs. The QPR dream they had died that day. I believe it’s so perfect for me to come back. The day I was waiting to sign - the U23s were 2-0 down. I kept half an eye and then we get one back, equalise and win 3-2. The look I got in their eyes, particularly the one who scored two - that’s what I’m missing. If you can rub off on them a bit - that’s what I want to do. There are talented people. Those people aren’t always as determined as the one who haven’t got the ability. The money is irrelevent. It’s not about how much you’re earning but how much you care. This club belongs to the people and we understand.
Are the conditions right for you?
IH: I’ve been very vocal since Les (Ferdinand) has been here on what he wants to do. I’m very aware, with Sky what a director’s role is and the producer’s. It can’t be any better than working with someone like Les. He’ll help me immensely and vice versa. What I’m getting into is so professional. It’s ready for me to what I feel with these gentlemen I’ve got. I’ve got different ways of doing things. I try and make them care and take responsibility. It’s the way football is now - it’s different to 10 years ago. That’s the biggest problem football people have is to make these players real people and grounded. That’s what I’m here to do. I care about my players that much. It’s what Les wants. Nobody epitomises what Les was about when I first came here. He had the potential to be a superstar. You need an environment and we created that environment to flourish. He was a centre forward who wasn’t selfish. He’d pass and he was a proper bloke who came from Hayes & Yeading. We want people with experience and the right type of characters. Nothing would make me prouder than putting the club back in the Premier League.
IH: This season I want to give them some TLC and some self belief. To get them into one team is difficult. We’ve got a lot of number 10s. I love the ability and the attitude has been so refreshing. I know the work that has gone on in the past to clear the slate of mistakes we did make. How much do you pay your right back, centre forward etc. We were so reliable on Charlie Austin to score goals. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to get them free and enjoy their football. I want them to be creative. I want to teach them every aspect of football. I want them playing different positions in the academy. I want to develop balanced young men as I’ll play them when they’re good enough. I won’t block them up. I know enough to play different ways; to defend, to attack. I want to get results in this tough competition. Who knows what we can achieve? I think we’ve got goals in the team and we can score goals. I’d like to change our stats at home - 13 against, seven four.
Target to get back in the Premier League?
IH: I know we will do it - it’s just when. It’d be stupid to say when. At the end of the day, I have Premier League methods. I got 39 points with the lowest budget ever. Are there many clubs that far ahead of us. There may be two or three in a better situation. They’re not brilliant. I don’t think they’re infallible. The truth is I know what I want to do but I don’t know how long it’ll take and how lucky we’ll be with injuries, suspensions. That can be crippling if you lose the wrong people at the wrong time. I want to outscore the opposition by one goal in every game. I want to play in a way that is modern and is exciting and exciting as I felt about England’s performance. Suddenly we can close down from the front and look a team and he’s had them for four games. Can someone do a high press, overload an area and go and score. Can they sustain that? Last year, counter attacking worked. We know that can do it as it won’t be sustainable as the less you have the ball the harder it gets. The confidence Spain have and we want to create players like Busquets. I want to get them in good habits and prove I have the people here. When it goes wrong I’ll be there for them.
IH: I have to win games and look like winning games. You have to earn the right and it’s becoming more difficult in this crazy world. I set Arsene Wenger as my target. I realise in the first six, seven, eight games I’ve got to earn it. I want to get to the Premier League and stay there. I feel I’ve got a fantastic opportunity. I feel in the best state of my life. I can’t wait to have a fresh start and a fresh start at an old club.
IH: It’s the first time in my career I’ve been wanted by a top of the league team. We’d finished fifth and lost to Swindon twice that year. To get asked by Sky to go on a contract and be asked about the EFL as it now is. Gary Hughes was an inspiration to me as he’s only 41 and he’s so fresh faced and full of enthusiasm. He’d just lost the Champions League and someone like you will be brilliant. He put me in the back of the OB truck. It’s unbelievable. The line of command was so clear. Everyone had to do one job. It’s been an honour. I did the 10 in 10. 10 games in 10 days and we had to sleep on a bus. Because I was a neutral, the reception I got the feeling Kim and I got from supporters. It’s Christmas as well. It was a wonderful spirit and that’ll stay with me for a long time. It’s been sensational. This year, Gary asked what do you feel. I said I’m fed up with waiting. I said any chance we could do a Championship quick hit - over in half an hour and he put me on that show. With that genre you can do anything you want. I could see the pressure we were creating and I could tell by managers faces they weren’t winning. I can’t help being back here. I’m busy and I have to be in someone’s life. I still miss the crowd this year by being in the studio. Even if I got stick it didn’t matter. That’s why I’m so fresh.
MB: Not really. I always thought I’d be back here. When Ollie wanted me back it was a no brainer. I felt I hadn’t been away. It was the same thing. When QPR is in your blood, it’s in your blood. Once it’s in your heart, it’s in your heart. I know the squad and watched it out in America. It’s an Ian Holloway type squad. We’re in transition. The first time he brought me he it was similar. The club needs a spark. Les has assembled a good squad and it needs a tweak. He’s done it at Blackpool. It’ll give the place a buzz. You can speak to the fans. We want a team that reflects the fans. We want to play with pride and passion and we can start that on Saturday.
Is it what the club needs?
MB: We’ve been in a place that isn’t QPR with big contracts and chasing the Premier League dream. We’re a working mans club. You shouldn’t earn millions at QPR. We’ve all got the club’s best interests at heart. It’s exciting times for me and the club.
MB: This is the only job I’d have come back for. Knowing what the club needs it points to Ian. If he’s got the squad and players he’ll get them playing for him. You’d want to die for him on the pitch.
IH: I didn’t see the Brentford game. It’s like a wonderful review of your life. Every time I walk in here I have some wonderful memories such as when we lost 4-0 to Cardiff. It was the last home game of the season and she threw me her season ticket (pause for laughs). I had some marvellous times and it was real. I like to take responsibility. I could never get that feeling in that last job. No matter when we stayed up winning eight out of 10 games. Millwall never got me and I understand that. Hopefully they’ll get Neil as he’s one of them. I think that’s just football. I want to tell the truth to our supporters. That’s what happened at Blackpool. (Holloway sings this is the best trip I’ve ever been on). We did have to deal with losing. The two best interviews I’ve seen was Rafa after the first two games. He was calm. What I have I got? I’ve got the passion but I’m calm. I’ve not got to do that much apart from think, get my points over. Then I can look at the overall picture. I’ve got every single club in the bag that I’ll ever need here when I had a putter and a seven iron at other clubs.
Experience to use from America
MH: Definitely I can use that. I coached Canadian youth teams. In America, we have more live games than over here. As a coach, it helps going abroad.
IH: He turned down another job - Donald Trump’s advisor.
Is there a message you want to give to the QPR fans?
IH: Thanks really. Thanks for how you supported me before. Thanks for helping me with Birch. Thanks for caring about this football club. If it’s down to what a club means to you as to who should be manager, you’ve appointed the right bloke. You can’t do anything on your own. Where I am in my life, I can’t wait to help other people get better. That’s what life’s about. It’s not where we get a player from, it’s where we can take him to. The enthusiasm of Tony and Lee Hoos is a wonderful man but Les epitomises this club for me. He began to shine and he ended up playing for England and scoring for Newcastle in front of their fans. He wants to protect this place. I’m tingling with the sense of wellbeing we’ve got about this football club. What more can I say to QPR fans apart from Peterborough away - we lost 4-1 and their fans sang you’re not famous anymore. That was my darkest day. I had a cab driver go mad at me so I brought him in. He picked the team I just picked after realising players were injured and suspended. You can’t always win. Are they ahead of us - that’s never bothered me in a race.