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Ian Holloway Should Be Praised, Not Fined By Premier League

QPR FC vs Blackpool FC Championship 08/08/09 Photo Nicky Hayes/Fotosports International Blackpool Manager Ian Holloway appeals for calm.

Will Blackpool, like Wolves before them, be facing the prospect of a fine for fielding a weakened side against Villa last night? Manager ian Holloway made wholesale changes to his side but so what? They played well and narrowly lost.

The fact that the Premier League has given itself the power to make such judgements and fine clubs is 100 percent wrong to the point of insanity.

What right do they have meddling in the team affairs of any side? If a manager wants to make 11 changes from his previous side he should be able to do so without censure. What does some old fart at the Premier League know about Blackpools’ squad players? Sod all that’s what.

Who is to say what ‘weaker’ means anyway? The Blackpool side that played Villa performed very well – better than their ‘full strength’ side has done on some occasions, so how can anyone define it as a weaker side just because it didn’t feature some of their best players?

Great players can play poorly, average players can play out of their skin on any given occasion. Does this influence what the league would define as a weaker or stronger side?

If a club is going to be penalized for fielding players who by some notional ruler are not their best players how on earth can any new player force his way into the side and improve? And does the judgement of who is a full strength team player and who isn’t change with performances? If Blackpool’s team was ‘under strength’ before the game, after a good game and a narrow 3-2 loss, can we say that again today or has that performance increased their Premier League ‘strength’ rating?

Frankly, this is all unsustainable bollocks and is a classic example of Premier League meddling. While Ian Holloway can be a little too self-consciously wacky, his threat to resign if the club is fined is understandable because it undermines a manager’s autonomy. Some anonymous league official should not be sitting in anonymous judgement of his choices as a manager and dishing out fines based on a spurious concept.

There are no clearly defined guidelines for who you can pick and who can’t for a team. So how can a club be fined for fielding an under strength side when no definitive judgement of what under strength means?

Who at the Premier League is sitting there with Blackpool’s team sheet and making assessments of players? We want names.

I doubt that Blackpool will be fined purely because they played well but that shouldn’t deflect from the basic injustice that lurks behind this threat of fielding a weakened side. It is an affront to managers to players and to fans.

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  1. Tom Hingley

    November 12, 2010 at 5:31 am

    I 100% agree that Holloway has done nothing wrong.

    The problem is, the FA have seriously created a rod for their own back. As a Wolves fan, surely I have the right expect Blackpool will be punished for doing EXACTLY the same as Wolves did last season? If Blackpool aren’t punished, surely the FA MUST expunge Wolves’ punishment from the records.

    The FA were idiots in setting a horrible, horrible precedent last season.

    • brn442

      November 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      It’s not the FA, it’s the Premier League..

  2. brn442

    November 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Good for him and he’s right – what’s the point of him being a manager if oustide forces can tell him which players to start. What’s the point of the Premier League limiting squad sizes to 25 players if mangers can only “choose” 13. — smaller club bias rears its ugly head – again.

  3. Brad in SoCal

    November 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Given the scoreline, for the EPL to fine Blackpool would be the height of irresponsibility. They almost pulled a point, after all. Are we going to start fining any team that concedes in the last few minutes? Ridiculous!

  4. eddie torres

    November 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I can’t wait to see how they EA incorporates this into FIFA 12

  5. erichb.

    November 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    The question really is, where does the league draw the line? I would argue that there have been instances when one of the big clubs fielded a team that was “weak” by their standards. For example, take a look at the 11 Sir Alex sent out to face Sunderland on 10/2:

    Edwin van der Sar (G)
    Nemanja Vidic (CD-L)
    Rio Ferdinand (CD-R)
    John O’Shea (LB)
    Rafael (RB)
    Anderson (CM)
    Paul Scholes (LM)
    Darren Fletcher (RM)
    Federico Macheda (F)
    Michael Owen (LF)

    Now it might be a bit of a stretch, but couldn’t the argument be made that since there was no Evra, Giggs, or there top 3 strikers (Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez) in their starting 11 that the side could be deemed weak and therefore punishable by the league?

    It’s a very slippery slope.

  6. Brian

    November 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    In the case of Wolves, McCarthy clearly was throwing the towel in before the match even started.

    Holloway did not and they even almost scraped a point out of it. For the league to involve itself in this is ridiculous.

    • Jay

      November 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      I think the league involving itself is ridiculous no matter what. Face it, if Blackpool had been trounced, they would probably be looking at an idiotic fine from the league.

      I can’t believe the league is able to do that. I couldn’t believe it when they did it to Wolves, and when they invariably do it in the future, I still won’t agree with it.

      Where do you draw the line? Do you start fining teams for not spending enough money in the transfer market to bring in top level talent?

      • Sir Guy

        November 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        “Do you start fining teams for not spending enough money in the transfer market to bring in top level talent?”

        There’s another seat on the Tribunal. 😉

  7. Sir Guy

    November 11, 2010 at 11:16 am

    The idea is insane and, as you say, unsustainable. Where do you stop? Can’t you just hear some office dip-wad saying, “Did you see that substitution? He threw the match. Must be fined.”

    Bureaucracy knows no bounds.

    • canyid

      November 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Spurs bought Gallas? They’re trying to ruin the club! Fined!

      • Sir Guy

        November 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm

        lol…..I nominate canyid>/b> for a seat on the Tribunal! 😀

        • Sir Guy

          November 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm

          duh. Nice editing, Guy. 🙁

  8. jose

    November 11, 2010 at 8:19 am

    the best post game manager interviews, well at least he used to.

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