Palace enter new era as Holloway prepares to take charge

First published in Crystal Palace FC This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Ian Holloway has been confirmed as the new Crystal Palace manager and is expected to be unveiled this afternoon to the Selhurst Park faithful.

After a day of negotiation with Blackpool, the popular Holloway's move was signed, sealed and delivered on Saturday morning.

The former Blackpool man will take over the hot seat after this weekend’s Championship clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Holloway, who was the number one choice of Steve Coppell while assisting the Palace board in its hunt for a new manager, is understood to have been given a four and a half-year deal.

Palace moved for the popular Bristol-born Holloway on Thursday night. The two clubs spent much of Friday working out a compensation package thought to be around £400,000, before confirming the news to expectant Palace fans.

Holloway has been on a rolling contract at Blackpool and chairman Karl Oyston has always let it be known that such is the pair’s close relationship, he would not stand in the way should Holloway ever decide to leave.

Holloway began his managerial career in 1996 as player manager of Bristol Rovers, guiding them to the play-offs, before moving to QPR in 2001, where he experienced relegation and promotion.

After five years at Loftus Road, Holloway’s continuing links with the vacant job at Leicester led the QPR board to suspend him.

The Leicester job went to Rob Kelly, but by June 2006 Holloway had left to join Plymouth Argyle with the promise of taking them into the Premier League.

It was a promise he could not keep although he did offer to buy a drink for all the fans who made the 800-mile round trip to Sunderland to watch a 3-2 defeat.

Holloway resigned from Plymouth in acrimonious circumstances in 2007 to move to Leicester City – however, after winning just nine of 32 games, Leicester were relegated from the Championship in 2008.

One year later, Holloway returned as manager of Blackpool and what would become his most successful time in any hot seat.

At the end of his first season in charge, Holloway had guided Blackpool to the promised land of the Premier League via the play offs, describing the achievement as “The best moment in my life, aside from seeing my children being born.”

Blackpool were relegated at the end of the first season in the Premier League, and although they reached the Championship play-offs again last season, they were beaten in the final by West Ham.

Curtis Fleming, Fleming injured club captain Paddy McCarthy and development coach Jamie Fullarton will take the side for the Blackburn clash.

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