Walking on ice

BELATED congratulations to Leicester’s Ian Holloway for being the first manager this season to get a reference to ‘Dancing On Ice’ into a post-match press conference.

Holloway’s press conferences are invariably entertaining, and often veer quite a long way from football. So it was after Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Norwich.

And that was despite a number of pre-match newspaper reports suggesting that Holloway was about to be replaced as Leicester manager by Iain Dowie.

Those reports weren’t entirely plucked out of the air (but at the press conference, Holloway blamed Dowie’s agent for their surfacing). Leicester chairman Milan Mandaric has, after all, already parted company with four managers in 12 months: Rob Kelly, Nigel Worthington, Martin Allen and Gary Megson. Only Megson, who left for Bolton in October, wasn’t fired.

Just four months into the job, Holloway is already Mandaric’s longest-serving Leicester manager. So he must be doing something right.

Indeed, in his programme notes for the Norwich game, Mandaric wrote: “I am optimistic that we now have the right manager in charge in Ian Holloway and his management team.”

Nonetheless, Holloway seemed to be walking on thin ice after three straight defeats. Then came the 4-0 win over Norwich. Then came this.

“I watched Dancing On Ice this morning,” he said. “I never watch those sort of things.

“How hard is that? You’ve got Steve Backley, the javelin thrower. He was rubbish last week. And he had to train all week to perform a harder test with some spins, and the bloke slaughtered him.

“Now I was coming here today, having been slaughtered for the last couple of weeks, but I’m doing my job, which I know like the back of my hand.

“How difficult was it for him to go on that ice?

“So we’re all human beings. We all know these feelings, don’t we? But my lads have got to realise that the most important thing is to put all of that out of their minds and just do their job.”

I think the point he was trying to make is that Steve Backley’s mental strength should be an inspiration to him and his players.

Either that, or Holloway is considering a career as an ice skating coach if Mandaric fires him.


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