When Eagles Dare documentary reveals how close Ian Holloway came to being named Ipswich Town manager

Ian Holloway came close to getting the Ipswich Town job in 2012.

Ian Holloway came close to getting the Ipswich Town job before Mick McCarthy was appointed in 2012. Photo: Archant - Credit: Photo: Archant

New Crystal Palace docuseries 'When Eagles Dare' has revealed just how close Ian Holloway came to being named Ipswich Town manager in 2012.

The five-part series, which recently launched on Amazon Prime, charts the South London club's resurgence from administration in 2010 to winning the 2013 Championship play-offs.

It includes plenty of Ipswich interest, with Jonny Williams and Damien Delaney interviewed and the likes of George Burley, Alan Lee and Darren Ambrose all mentioned, but the biggest Ipswich insight comes during a section where chairman Steve Parish discusses appointing Holloway midway through the 2012/13 campaign.

He reveals: "We offered him the job, but he then turned us down and took a job at Ipswich. I remember thinking 'it's not over'. I don't know why.


"It was Mick McCarthy or him who were going for the Ipswich job. And then the next thing they announce another manager... Mick McCarthy. 

"I was thinking about other people and then I got a phone call at eight o'clock in the morning. It was Ian on the phone with his broad Bristolian accent. He said: 'Now I don't want you to think that you're the last girl on the dance floor or anything like that. I always wanted to come to you, but he (former Ipswich owner Marcus Evans) was offering me so much money I couldn't turn him down!'"

Parish continues: "It was a fantastic contract they were offering him at Ipswich, you know, much bigger than the one that we offered him.

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"And then Ian made this statement. He said to me: 'I tell you what, I come to you and if you don't work out you can sack me and you don't have to give me any compensation'."

Holloway's first game in charge of Palace was a 5-0 home win against Ipswich. The Eagles went on to finish fifth and beat both Brighton and Watford in the play-offs.

It was Holloway's second promotion to the Premier League as a manager, following his previous success with Blackpool, but his time in charge of the Eagles didn't last long. After just one win in eight at the start of the following season he was sacked.

He went on to manage Millwall (14-15) and QPR (16-18), with his most recent job being a disastrous spell at relegated League Two side Grimsby Town.

McCarthy saved Ipswich from Championship relegation in 2012/13 (Ipswich going on to win their reverse fixture against Palace 3-0 courtesy of a Frank Nouble brace) and subsequently led the Blues to a play-off place of their own in 2015.

It's understood that Harry Redknapp was the other leading contender for the Ipswich job after Paul Jewell had been sacked.

For those interested in potential sliding doors moments, Nigel Pearson was another manager who came close to getting the Blues job when he was interviewed prior to Jim Magilton being appointed in 2006.

More recently, it's understood that the likes of Frank Lampard, Scott Parker, Steve Clarke, Graham Potter and Jack Ross were among those spoken to about the Town job prior to Paul Hurst being appointed in 2018. 

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