You would have to search for a long, long time to find a football fan who doesn’t have a soft spot for Ian Holloway.
The charismatic manager-turned-pundit has been making supporters chuckle for years with his erratic witticisms and questionable anecdotes.
And since he swapped the dugout for the microphone, Holloway has done a pretty fine job of keeping that popularity intact, which is no mean feat whatsoever.
But, while his latest comments on Steve Bruce won’t be enough to put of any ardent followers of west country banter, they are, unusually for Holloway, some way wide of the mark.
Speaking on talkSPORT on Monday night, as quoted by the Chronicle (11.53), during an interview with the new Newcastle United boss, Holloway said: “Brucey, to be honest with you, you got promotions four times.
“You are record holder from the Championship to the Premier League. You deserve that chance [at Newcastle].
“I cannot believe, saying it on air, and I am going to say it, that you never really got any chance at Manchester United.
“One of the best captains ever, I don’t understand it. Not being funny.”
Not to be dramatic, but that is a stunning claim from Holloway.
People were up in arms when Bruce was given the Newcastle job – could you imagine the uproar if he’d been given the hot seat at Old Trafford?
The ex-defender is a proven Championship manager, and nothing more.
The last time he properly excelled in a job was when he averaged two points per game during his tenure as Crystal Palace manager, back in 2001, and that was only over the course of 15 matches [Transfermarkt].
Four promotions is some achievement granted, but it’s not the same as Premier League management itself, and that is what has Newcastle fans so worried.
As for giving Bruce the United job because he was a good captain the Reds, Holloway should know better than most that that kind of footballing nepotism is no guarantee of success.
The fact of the matter is that Bruce is going to have a battle on his hands at St. James’ Park, let alone a club chasing Champions League football.