...Millwall made me feel more wanted than ever
, and had a very special message for Lions fans in his first column since taking charge at The Den:Sunday MirrorNew Millwall manager Ian Holloway has a regular weekly column in the
When you become the manager of a football club, it is easy to make promises – and much harder to make them come true.
That's why, after taking over at Millwall, I can give only one guarantee on what I will bring to the New Den:
To all those supporters who are "Real Wall", I give you my word that I will do everything in my power to build a team you can be proud of.
To fans of all other clubs, I can offer much the same assurance. Because I want Millwall to become a place where opposition teams fear to tread.
I want the 'No one likes us, we don’t care' chant from the terraces to become the mantra of the team I have inherited.
I don't mean that in a nasty or negative way. I want my players to give our supporters something to shout about – and I think that's a task I can deliver on because I have always believed that football fans are people who are easy to please.
Millwall’s supporters give 100 per cent to their club. And I don’t think it’s too much for players to give exactly the same back in return.
Give your all for the shirt and you will be forgiven most things. But shirk your responsibilities and the people who fork out the money that pays our wages have got every right to let you know what they think about it.
I want to give our fans value for money. To do that, the minimum requirement is to put out a team that has pride in the shirt.
Of course, I also want to entertain. My aim as the manager of a football club must always be to win. But I also want to play with a bit of style. I don’t think the two things are mutually exclusive.
This time last week, I felt like a nobody. My professional life had flatlined. When you’re in the game, it takes up every waking moment of your life. If you’re not thinking about the next game, you’re looking back on the last one.
You think about which players are fit, who is suspended, formations, training schedules and a million and one other things.
For the last few weeks, I've had none of those things to obsess about – and I have felt lost.
Now, I'm the manager of Millwall and I can't describe how energised I am.
When I met owner John Berylson and chief executive Andy Ambler, I have never felt more wanted in all my life. I was absolutely desperate for the job.
But, after how it ended for me at Crystal Palace a few months ago, I had to be 100 per cent sure that this was going to be the perfect fit for both parties.
By the time my talks with John and Andy were over, I believed that Millwall FC and Ian Holloway were a match made in heaven.
Some people picked up on the fact that, when I left Selhurst Park, I bore all the scars of a manager who was burnt out.
Let me put that one to bed right now.
I did say, when I left Palace, that I was tired. What I didn’t elaborate on was exactly what I was tired of.
I can assure all Millwall fans that I want to be with your club for the entirety of my
two-and-a-half-year contract – and, hopefully, beyond that. The only way I will leave before then is if I am sacked.
On Friday, I was on the road at 5am, driving to the training ground from my family home in the West Country and I felt like the most privileged man in the world. I want my players to feel exactly the same.
It doesn't matter whether you play in front of 10,000 or 100,000, you have got to be prepared to put everything you have got into the shirt.