On the face of it, Ian Holloway’s return to QPR is a surprise. But less so when you look at the club’s recent managerial history, which is as chequered as it comes.
Most English football fans probably remember that the popular 53-year-old had a previous spell in charge at Loftus Road a decade or so ago, as well as playing for them in the first half of the 1990s.
Hands up, though, if you knew that Holloway was actually the Hoops’ longest-serving manager, with a tenure just a few weeks short of five years, since Alec Stock way back in the 1960s?
Since ‘Ollie’ left in February 2006, an astonishing total of 22 managerial changes have been made at QPR. Some of those appointments were only temporary, lasting a matter of weeks or even days on a caretaker basis, others such as those of Neil Warnock and Harry Redknapp proving more successful, at least on a short-term basis.
But unlike plenty of those who have followed him in the west London hotseat, Holloway did not leave the club first time around as a result of his own failings.
He was ultimately suspended, and then sacked, due to constantly being linked with the Leicester City job, which he was not given after his departure but did get 21 months later. After leaving QPR and being replaced by Gary Waddock, the club tumbled from a mid-table position in the Championship to finish that 2005-06 season one place above the relegation zone.
Therefore, it’s understandable that QPR should go back to what they know, to something that has worked before, with Holloway having led the club to promotion from what is now League One in 2003-04.
Since then, the Bristolian has taken both Blackpool and Crystal Palace into the Premier League via the play-offs, although he was relegated with the Lancashire club after one season and sacked by the Eagles only two months into their first campaign back in the top flight.
Holloway must, therefore, come into that bracket of managers who are specialists in the Championship but find life much tougher at Premier League level, the likes of Warnock, Steve Bruce and Mick McCarthy being of similar ilk.
A Championship expert is what they need right now though, being only 17th in the table and staring at a season of mid-table obscurity unless their fortunes can be quickly transformed.
Turning the clock back is, of course, a gamble. Just because Holloway succeeded in his previous stint does not guarantee he will do so again more than 10 years on, with football evolving more quickly now than it ever has and Managermoves.co.uk are reporting that Holloway is one of their picks to become the victim of another sacking come the end of the season.
And, it must be said, he failed to deliver in his last job at Millwall following a promising start, with his latest employment being as a television pundit and interviewer working on the English Football League.
These days, however, due to the turnover in the industry, it is hard to find a manager who does not have a failure on his CV.
QPR has been a club where some of them have fallen short of expectations – and so you cannot blame their owners for giving a second chance to someone who has previously brought good times to Loftus Road.