...but Phillips rules out a south London switch
Ollie jolly again as he moves in to rescue Lions
IAN HOLLOWAY has been named Millwall’s new manager – just two and a half months after walking away from Crystal Palace.
Holloway, above, has been charged with leading the Lions away from the Championship relegation zone as the successor to the sacked Steve Lomas.
The ex-Bristol Rovers, QPR, Plymouth, Leicester and Blackpool boss looked a shattered man when quitting Palace after 11 months in charge in October, admitting that he was ‘tired’ after taking them into the top flight and trying to keep them up.
But Holloway, 50, has signed a two-and-a-half year deal at the New Den, and Lions chairman John Berylson said: “The fact that we have been able to attract someone of Ian’s calibre and track record is testament to the fact that he shares our view of the potential we have to progress as a club and move forward.
“We are under no illusions that our first priority under Ian’s leadership is to ensure that we maintain our Championship status.
“He will have the backing of the board to strengthen as he deems necessary.”
Holloway, who won promotion to the top flight with both Blackpool and Palace, will take charge of the side for the first time at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Millwall are just a point above the bottom three and were dumped out of the FA Cup on Sunday by Southend.
Holloway had said last month: “I’m back and ready to go. Football management is a dog-eat-dog profession – and I can assure you my hunger to get back in the game is as keen as ever.
“I have spent the weeks since I left Crystal Palace recharging my batteries and trying to work out why my reign at Selhurst Park came to such an abrupt end.”
Holloway took Palace up via the play-offs but said he had little time to plan properly for new signings.
The boss, who quit on October 23, admitted at the time he felt drained with the struggle to keep the club afloat in the top flight.
Kevin Phillips believes Millwall have made a great appointment in Ian Holloway, but has ruled out joining him at the south London club.
The former Crystal Palace boss was named manager of the struggling Championship side on Monday, penning a two-and-a-half year contract.
Phillips played under the 50-year-old at Blackpool and the Eagles, and he is confident the enigmatic Bristolian will prove a big hit with the Lions’ notorious fanbase.
“I think Ian Holloway represents the characters they get down at Millwall,” said Phillips, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“He has been itching to get back into football and he will see this as a massive challenge.
“His two previous clubs, Blackpool and Palace, he has got promoted. He now takes over a team fourth from bottom and we will certainly have to sort the defence out and go from there.
“I’ve played at the Den when it has been nearly full and it creates a great atmosphere. That is certainly one thing Ian will be trying to do. He will want the supporters to get behind him but you need to get results on the field to do that and he will be aware of that.
“I bet he can’t wait to get onto that training field. He is a football man through and through and just the type of character to take them forward because Millwall are a big club, they have got a great fanbase and if they start moving up the league, who knows how far they can go?”
Having followed Holloway out of the Selhurst Park exit door last week, Phillips is on the lookout for a new club.
But he has ruled out another reunion with his old boss, with the 40-year-old keen to sign for a club close to his family home in the Midlands.
“I’ve spoken to quite a few managers and there has been a lot of response, so I’m trying to sort out what I am going to do over the next week,” he said.
“Now I have left London, I want to stay in the Midlands area and there have been a few clubs on that are within an hour’s drive, which is the maximum I want to be doing.”