Burnley have reportedly joined Blackburn and Crystal Palace in a three-way tug-of-war for Blackpool boss Ian Holloway, writes Kevin Robinson.
It is believed that Holloway met representatives from Burnley this week amidst growing frustration with life at Bloomfield Road.
Our own sources today added weight to claims by Chris Boden of the Burnley Express that there has been contact between the two parties.
“I understand the club have pursued the possibility of landing the former QPR and Leicester boss,” Bodes reports in the Express.
Any meeting is said to have been ‘brief and informal’ but adds substance to growing suggestions that ‘Ollie’ is the latest man to register on the Clarets board’s radar.
According to the Mirror, for whom Holloway is a columnist, a clause in his contract frees him to join any Championship clubs for £500k – and this, along with boardroom frustrations, has alerted a trio of teams to his potential availability as Burnley join Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace in the race.
Holloway has repeatedly refused to rule out reports he is ready to jump ship and vocally critisised his employers on a number of occasions of late, even saying of his chairman Karl Oyston: “He is the most stubborn person I’ve ever met.”
He said in his press conference yesterday: “I will talk to my chairman until I die about the job that I’m doing here. That’s what I will do. The rest of it is absolute nonsense. Those players in there know how well they’ve played. All the other ones I’ve had have made me at a different level, now. I’m proud of that. That’s all I came here for.
“Life’s about timing, life’s about choices. I haven’t got any other choice than working here. I’m so proud of that. It has been hard and it always will be hard with Karl Oyston because he’s fantastic at what he does. He’s so stubborn sometimes and I’ve never complained about that and whatever happens between me and him, I never will.
“I’m absolutely stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment. I can’t win whatever I say. I’m just getting on with my job. That’s all you can do.”
Such comments have offered great encouragement to clubs seeking a new manager, but will also raise alarm bells in his own boardroom.
One of his primary concerns is said to be lack of financial support required to secure his top transfer targets – and this whole saga could well be a ploy to lure extra funds from his chairman.
We’ve already had the wool pulled over our eyes recently when Paul Lambert used the vacancy at Turf Moor following Brian Laws’ departure to get himself a better deal and budget at Norwich.
“My chairman hasn’t called me,” Holloway told press yesterday. “Until he calls me, there’s nothing I can say.”
Before bringing his team to Turf Moor last Saturday he told the BBC he was ‘very proud’ to be Blackpool boss, in quotes with at least a passing resemblance to that Eddie Howe statement on the initial Bournemouth link.
“I’m very proud to be the Blackpool manager and what I think about other football clubs is nobody else’s business.”
“If someone did ring for me, my chairman would answer the call, he would tell me about it and we would discuss it. Last year, that actually happened. He told me of somebody’s interest, I thought about it and I told him that I was more than happy to stay here.
“Will I be the Blackpool manager for the rest of my life? No, I can’t see that happening.”