Following the departure of Ian Holloway to Crystal Palace on Saturday chairman Karl Oyston has spoken the club website to reflect on Ollie's time at the club and give the latest on the search for a new manager.
Obviously Ian has left the club, what will be your abiding memories of his time here?
I think probably the first impression he made when myself and Matt met Ian at the Preston Marriott and we were late and not dressed in a suit and we got told off. We got on like a house on fire and the couple of hours he spent telling us what he was about seemed to fly by. My other abiding memories would obviously be the Play-Off win and then the disappointment of relegation and then the disappointment of the Play-Off final defeat. You just never knew what any day would throw up with Ian around. He could come bouncing into your office one day having an absolute crisis about one of his turkeys being poorly so you never knew what you were going to face on any given day.
Was it a mutual decision in the end or did Ian express his desire to leave?
We've always had a very straight forward relationship unlike a lot of other football relationships. I always told him I would never keep anything from him and when we had an approach from a club in February I told Ian and he considered it and decided it wasn't right for him to go and speak with them. This time was only the second approach we had contrary to popular belief. I rang Ian as soon as I was told and he thought about it for a bit before deciding he wanted to go and talk to Crystal Palace and he went down and obviously got on very well with them. The only thing that disappoints me, and this isn't a swipe at Crystal Palace in any way shape or form, is that Ian has not got what I would consider to be a big job with a Premier League club where he can showcase his talents. But with Palace they are a progressive club and an ambitious club and they have some new owners who are intent on moving the club forward on and off the pitch, so I think it's a good challenge for him.
It's been widely reported family reasons were part of Ian's decision to leave. Did he say that was a reason behind his departure?
I think it was one of the factors. There are several factors in any decision and certainly Ian is a very family orientated man. He always has been and so has Kim (Ian's wife) and with their first grandchild on the way it may have been a sway. But if you were to say 'is that the reason?' then no it's not as it is several reasons and that is just one of them.
The search is now underway. Have you set yourself a time-scale as to when you would like to have a new manager in by?
We don't set time-scales. Myself and Matt would like to get someone in place as quickly as we can and that is our aim. If we meet someone that we like and can agree terms and a way forward for the club then we will offer them the job there and then and it's really just seeing if we can meet the right candidates now and making sure we are pretty decisive and finding someone with the traits we are after.
Is it fair to say that it is now a much more attractive club and job than what it was a few years ago?
Absolutely, the ground bares no resemblance to where we were when Ian took over. The club finances, the support basis and everything in general has just blossomed under Ian, both as a business and a football business so I think whoever comes will have a lot easier task than what Ian had. The player budget is vastly higher, the facilities are vastly better and the culture and support staff is vastly better. Things are different, it's not the same club and it is a very good opportunity for a manager to come in here and prosper from all the hard work by everyone in the past few years.
Steve Thompson is in caretaker charge. Have you had any chance to have a conversation with him?
I spoke to him after the game and we rather morbidly analysed the game and what had gone wrong. Tommo felt the preparation wasn't ideal and it doesn't take a genius to work that out. The players had been off most of the week and then the manager left so it certainly wasn't the best preparation for a game particularly when the manager was the man who recruited the vast majority of players that we have got. They bought into his vision and his way of doing things so uncertainty never breeds confidence and we got that backlash on Saturday and that's one of the reasons why we are keen to make an appointment pretty quickly and arrest those problems. Getting a new manager in place so he can stamp his authority, ideas, discipline and work ethic on things will go some way to doing that.
With Keith Millen leaving as well, is that another position you will be looking to fill?
Yes, in some ways it makes it slightly easier for us as most managers that you talk to want to bring in some sort of support staff. Historically we don't make lots of changes as stability at football clubs is vital in order to bring success. I don't think that you would want a manager to come in and bring in four or five people and dispose of the four or five people that have been a big part of our success, so I won't allow that. But with Keith going with Ian it has given us an opportunity to bring in two rather than one, which probably makes it slightly easier for the new manager as they will have some support.