The press conference was desperately sad; Holloway sat alongside Steve Parish looking broken and world-weary. It was a far cry from the Holloway of old, the man who made a joke of everything, so lively and upbeat.
Yes, he was dignified in his exit, but he was also broken. Tired of the media, tired of the constant criticism, no longer feeling he was worthy to carry on. He had four days off over the summer, was on the phone to Parish at 3am in August, discussing potential transfer targets, and immersing himself so far into Crystal Palace that it was impossible to take time off.
He had passion in buckets, but admitted that he’d lost the dressing room. Too many new faces, and the core of the team had been split up. It was an unprecedented honesty that shocked the national media; there are PR lines regularly churned out by chairmen in these situations: “We’d like to thank [insert name here] for their time and effort, and we’ll be eternally grateful for everything they’ve done at [insert club].” This was more genuine, more sincere. There were no falsities in this room. Steve Parish was genuinely gutted, explaining that he hoped Ian would wake up and realise that he did still have what it takes to carry on, to take Crystal Palace forward. But he didn’t.
It was probably the right move, though. The results haven’t been good, and pressure on Holloway had been increasing week on week. As he said himself, “Seven defeats out of eight is not good enough.” He was lambasted by sections of the Eagles’ support post-Fulham on Monday, and looking back perhaps now is the right time for Holloway to move on.
Palace have 30 games to turn their fortunes around, and the new manager will have sufficient time to put their stamp on SE25. Two months to settle in and decide what needs to happen, before January comes around and changes can be made. The players that can’t hack it will be shipped out, and players that the new manager thinks can, will come in.
Whoever it is, whatever happens, one thing is for sure... the rest of the season will certainly not be boring. The Crystal Palace rollercoaster continues.
Ben Nagle (@bennagle17)