Friday 24 November 2017

Holloway to 'crack whip' as heart cut out of Tangerines


Mark Fleming

Ian Holloway had one of those days yesterday when nothing goes as planned.

The Blackpool manager began his trip to Fulham waiting around for the unveiling of a bizarre statue of Michael Jackson, but decided he couldn't hang about any longer and had marched off by the time Mohamed Al Fayed whipped the cover off his personal tribute to the King of Pop.

Holloway then had to watch as a resurgent Bobby Zamora scored twice in his first league start since breaking his leg in September to leave the Tangerines facing a desperate fight to avoid relegation in the final seven games of the season.

Worst of all, for Holloway, was the sight of his team losing heart for the first time this season.

"Their body language was horrible," the Blackpool manager said. "I have not seen that this season. We've got to get out of that. I shall be cracking the whip when I get home. They have got to realise how well they have done and keep their energy levels up."

Blackpool's form could hardly be worse going into the defining moment of the season. They have one win from their last 11 games, and although they competed for long spells against Fulham, they defended poorly for all three goals, and posed little attacking threat.

The match was played against the strangest of backgrounds. Two hours before kick-off, Al Fayed appeared to unveil his statue to Jackson, and danced and mimed to Jacko songs as the tacky likeness was revealed.

It stands 7'6'' tall, is believed to have cost £100,000, stands on top of a granite plinth containing musical engravings, and stares out over the chilly waters of the Thames.

Situated in a part of the ground open just on match days, the only creatures likely to pay homage to the pop legend will be pigeons and seagulls. Thankfully, the match did not disappoint after such a lively and surreal prelude.

Blackpool's desire to keep playing football ensured an open, entertaining spectacle, but the return to fitness and form of Zamora made the difference. He scored twice inside five first-half minutes and Dickson Etuhu got on the scoresheet after the break. (© Irish Independent Service)

Irish Independent

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