To the PR Week awards last night, to present 31 trophies, the first of which received one of the loudest cheers of the night.
Some of the judges were worried that their peers would not quite understand why football manager Ian Holloway was being so honoured – indeed Mr Holloway himself felt the same – but their concerns were misplaced, even before the video highlights of his best outbursts were shown.
Over dinner the Blackpool manager who brought a breath of fresh air to the Premier League and whose after match interviews became must viewing for football fans and comms students alike, gave me his version of how he developed his own unique brand of interview style.
He credited two life changing events, both of which required him to make huge changes in attitude and lifestyle. The first was his wife’s cancer. The second was the discovery that due to a genetic condition, his three daughters were all born profoundly deaf. The first of these taught him the value of life, the second the importance of clarity in communication. He is a fluent sign linguist.
In any event, he was a worthy and popular winner, as was PR of the year Paddy Harverson who presided over the media management of the Royal wedding.
Holloway’s appeal is that in a world fed up with pre-packaged everything, he says what he thinks, and thereby passes the number one rule of communication -authenticity.
I do hope however that it is the only thing he wins this week, as on Saturday Blackpool are playing at Burnley.