Holloway holds dear special Owls memory

Ian Holloway: His QPR side clinched promotion to the Championship with a Hillsborough win in 2004
Ian Holloway: His QPR side clinched promotion to the Championship with a Hillsborough win in 2004
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for Ian Holloway, the return to Hillsborough on Thursday night in the first round of the Carling Cup will have a special memory - his first promotion as a manager.

The Blackpool boss was in charge at Queens Park Rangers when they travelled to take on Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the season in May 2004.

Rangers knew that a win would be enough to take them up from League Two into the Championship and Holloway’s players duly obliged, winning 3-1.

In the process, they pipped Danny Wilson’s Bristol City who were the other team vying for the second automatic place behind champions Plymouth - who had been managed by Paul Sturrock until 12 games from the end whereupon he left for Southampton.

The eventual outcome for current Blades boss Wilson was his departure from Bristol City after they lost to Brighton in the Play-off Final.

Holloway had managed at Bristol Rovers before QPR.

He is now adjusting to life back in The Championship with Blackpool after the season in the Premier League which he has described as the best of his managerial career, saying he loved every minute of it.

They were everyone’s favourite “other team” as their cavalier style won a stack of admirers but not enough points in the second half of the season when they won just twice and were relegated.

This led to the departure of three of their star players, Charlie Adam, David Vaughan and DJ Campbell and led to Holloway describing the past few months as “difficult to put into words how awful those months have been.”

However, he admits his spirits have been lifted by the Seasiders getting their Championship camapgin off to a winning start, 1-0 at Hull City on Friday with a goal from one-time Huddersfield Town man Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Amongst his signings is Barry Ferguson who was in the Birmingham City side which beat Arsenal in last season’s final, the Scot playing over an hour with a broken rib. Also on board is veteran striker Kevin Phillips.