HollowayIan Holloway is one of life’s natural eccentrics. But like many apparently off-the-wall types there’s clearly a higher intelligence beneath the fruity facade.

Bringing Blackpool, favourites for relegation to League One last August, up to the Premier League is as impressive as any managerial achievement this season – Ancelotti, Redknapp, and Hodgson included.

Asked after they reached the Championship Play-off Final whether the Bristolian was brilliant or a screwball, Johnny Giles said succinctly: “He comes across as a headbanger but a lot of great managers have been headbangers.” (Even the Special One, whom Holloway admires because “I believe he understands people”, could come into the Clough category. Mourinho might be a whore for the limelight but he’s up there now with the best coaches of all-time.)

Back in the top flight for the first time since 1971, Blackpool – a motley crew of bargain basement buys and loan signings – are seen as certainties to go straight back down. The €90m which promotion will be worth to them in immediate terms and potential ‘parachute payments’ to soften the landing if they do make the drop will – together with the boon big-time football will give to local business – transform the south coast community, not just the club, whose 12,500-capacity ground is set for an urgent expansion.

See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.