The time has come for Ian Holloway to finally say goodbye to those at Queens Park Rangers, as the manager decided to part ways with the club on Thursday after 18-months in charge in his second stint as manager at QPR.
Earlier in the week, chairman Tony Fernandes had said that he and the board of directors will ‘analyse’ Holloway’s performance as manager, and discuss whether or not he is the right man to lead them into next season:
The manager has had his highs and has had his lows… We’ll have to analyse and say at end of the season: ‘Are we happy? Is he happy with us as shareholders? Is he happy with the squad?’ And then you make your decisions from there.
Fernandes’ announcement was slightly surprising. I’ve long thought that Holloway is not the right man for the job, don’t get me wrong, but in fairness the man has done a pretty good job given the circumstances.
He took over the club at a crucial time having just come down from the Premier League, and then sinking down the Championship table under Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink, and was given very little resources to work with.
Ian Holloway has overseen 80 games since replacing Hasslebaink back in November 2016, winning just 26 and losing exactly half. As bad as this may sound though, Holloway boasts a 32% win ratio in his second stint, the best of any manager since Harry Redknapp, a cohort that includes Chris Ramsey (28%) and Hasslebaink (28%).
The friendly faces of Ramsey and Hasslebaink are but a faded memory in the minds of QPR fans and whilst Holloway has one of own, and a sense of humour to match it, I can’t help but feel he has massively underachieved compared to his predecessors.
‘Ollie’ may have the record to prove otherwise, but he’s had the best QPR team at his disposal since relegation from the Premier League back in 2015.
The likes of Alex Smithies, Massimo Luongo, Luke Freeman and Matt Smith have all flourished under Holloway which should be accredited to the man, but his overall management and tactical ability has fallen way behind the modern game.
It took him all this time to realise that Luongo was in fact, a goal scoring midfielder. The Aussie who had featured in front of the back four the best part of the season was dealt a more attacking role in the second half of the season, finishing as the clubs third highest scorer this season.
Matt Smith finished as the top scorer for this season, with an impressive 11 goals and nine assists this season making him one of the most creative centre forwards in the league. But his presence in the first team has been patchy this season.
Conor Washington has had his fair share of game time this season, a striker who since his arrival has scored just 13 goals in 88 appearances for the club – a signing which for me resembles the lack of direction at the club, an epitome if you like.
So could there be a new horizon dawning upon Loftus Road? The answer is probably not.
Amongst all the off-pitch frustrations – the likelihood of our best players leaving, the continuing court case to approve the new Warren Farm training ground and the lack of expenditure on the first team – there appears to be yet another brick of misery landing atop of Loftus Road.
The bookies have made former England manager Steve McClaren as the favourite to take over at Queens Park Rangers. McClaren has previously worked at the club as an assistant to Redknapp in the summer of 2013, before leaving to take the Derby County job for the first of two times.
Steve is a nice bloke, he’s had a good career and is a very experinced manager particularly for this level, but would that appointment not be just as uninspiring as the Holloway one?
We could’ve had Neil Warnock but instead we chose JFH, and we could’ve had Gary Rowett but we chose Holloway, and now when there’s no managers out there we decide to sack him?
Most baffling though is that I read Adam Borsyiuk on WestLondonSport.com in saying that the club has had a ‘solid season’. Be this sarcasm or genuine belief, I don’t know – but it’s safe to say that this is indeed another ‘epitome’ of the modern QPR fan.
The chairman, manager and a good wedge of fans seem to be content with what is going on at the club but I for one will not stand for mid-bottom finishes, empty stands and broken promises of training grounds and stadiums.
Fernandes’ said himself this week that the club in undergoing a ‘transition’ phase but it has been for a few seasons now – are we destined to become one of those clubs like Ipswich or Birmingham who loiter around the leagues bottom half for years and years to come, or will we actually transition?
The current market for good, young managers is sparse and for lack of a better solution, I believe we should’ve kept Holloway, who I suspect was shown the door by Tony Fernandes.
Any appointment will be a sideways step for the club, unless they pull a rabbit out the hat with say, Marco Silva? But that won’t happen, and it is sure to be another season of ‘transition’.