Steve Holland, Another off the production line?
I'm slightly late to the party but I always planned to add an article regarding last week's news that Steve Holland had been promoted to 'assistant first team coach' at Chelsea.
It got me thinking though that perhaps here begins an extension of the famous Crewe Alex production line that the national media continually harp on about in any article to do with the Alex. Is Steve Holland about to be added to the list of Crewe Alex products alongside David Platt, Danny Murphy, Neil Lennon?
Taking a step back, it's easy for some fans to immediately scoff at anything to do with Holland. He was no roaring success as manager, performances were abject and his signings, of which he spent nearly seven figures on, were abysmal. That shouldn't define his status at the Alex.
For 15 years prior to taking on the managerial role he was an essential cog in all things Crewe Alexandra. He joined as a coach in his early 20's and helped build the academy that Dario takes pretty much all the credit for. Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson, Dean Ashton, Rob Hulse, Nicky Maynard and David Vaughan would have all been coached by Holland at times during their time in the academy, one or two of them have even stated what a positive effect Holland had on their game.
Why he could never transfer those skills into management is another five articles in itself, there are opinions galore, but as sad as it is for us, it could prove to be only a very minor blip in Holland's career. His stay at Stoke following his 'release' from Gresty Road was short and he soon found his way to Chelsea. Now established in the coaching staff at one of the biggest clubs in the world, Holland even returned the reserve league title last season.
I have to say I'm pleased for him. I've never held a grudge for his 18 months as manager, there was never any doubting his enthusiasm or the hard work he put in to try and make it happen. Unfortunately it just appeared to be wrong time, wrong place for both Holland and the club. In hindsight it was never meant to be.
The rush job that saw Holland take the job was never helpful and purely seemed to happen when it looked as if Holland was set to leave for a role at Tottenham. In many ways it mirrors the many players the academy have produced. We saw glimpses of potential from Holland, he was clearly destined for good things, but there was far too much inexperience.
At 41 he is still relatively young in the coaching world but with 20 years experience already, who knows how far he can really go. He'll have improved as a coach over the last three years, learning from the best in the world on the biggest stage, and he'll undoubtedly have another shot at management. For us though, Holland's is just another career to track with great interest, one we can smugly claim to have 'made'. And good luck to him.