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John Hollins
Personal information
Full name John William Hollins
Date of birth 16 July 1946 (1946-07-16) (age 63)
Place of birth    Guildford, Surrey, England
Youth career
1961–1963 Chelsea
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Queens Park Rangers
Cobh Ramblers
436 (47)
151 0(6)
127 0(9)
029 0(1)
01 0 (0)   
National team
1967 England 001 0(0)
Teams managed
Queens Park Rangers (caretaker)
Swansea City
Stockport County (caretaker)
Stockport Tiger Star
Crawley Town

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

John William Hollins MBE (born 16 July 1946) is an English former football player and coach. He was initially a midfield player who, later in his career, became an effective central defender.

Hollins' son, Chris Hollins is the main sport presenter on BBC Breakfast.


Playing career

Born in Guildford, Surrey, Hollins was born into a footballing family - his father, grandfather and three brothers were all professional footballers as well. One brother, Dave, played international football for Wales.


He joined Chelsea as a youth player and made his debut for the Blues against Swindon Town in September 1963 aged only 17. A talented and hard-running midfielder, usually wearing the number 4 shirt, he was known for his dedicated attitude to the game and went on to become a regular and eventually club captain. Hollins played 592 games, and scored 69 goals in his first spell at Chelsea, and was part of the successful Chelsea sides of the mid-1960s and early 1970s, at one point making 167 consecutive appearances, a club record.

Hollins played in both legs of the 3-2 aggregate victory over Leicester City in League Cup final in 1965 and the loss to Tottenham in the FA Cup final two years later. In 1970, he played a significant part in Chelsea's hard-fought FA Cup final win over Leeds United, supplying the cross for Ian Hutchinson's late headed equaliser at Wembley. Chelsea eventually won 2-1 in the replay at Old Trafford. They won the Cup Winners' Cup in Athens against Real Madrid a year later, again after a replay, but Hollins missed the second match due to an injury. He was Chelsea's player of the year two years running. While at Chelsea, he also won a solitary England cap, against Spain, on 24 May 1967.

He had his most prolific goalscoring season for Chelsea in the 1971-72 season, finding the net 17 times. Chelsea also reached another League Cup final in 1972, losing to Stoke City, but declined thereafter, though Hollins remained until the side's relegation to the Second Division at the end of the 1974-75 season, when he was sold to nearby QPR.

Queens Park Rangers

In June 1975 he was signed by his former manager Dave Sexton for Queens Park Rangers for £80,000.He stayed at the Hoops for four seasons, playing 183 matches in total and helping them to runners-up spot in the First Division in 1975-76.


In the summer of 1979, the 33-year-old Hollins made a surprising move to Arsenal, initially as a cover player, but he ended up becoming a regular in the Arsenal side, although by now he played more often as a defender than in midfield. He played 172 matches and scored 13 goals, and was part of the Arsenal side that lost the Cup Winners' Cup final in 1980, coming on as a substitute. He did, however, miss out on a place in the squad for the same season's FA Cup final, which Arsenal also lost.

He was awarded the MBE for services to football in 1981, and also made a memorable anti-smoking commercial for television in the same year as part of a Government campaign entitled Look After Yourself.

Back to Chelsea

Hollins returned to Chelsea on a free transfer in 1983, and helped the club gain promotion back to the First Division in 1983-84, playing a further 30 times. He retired at the end of that season, having played 939 first-class matches in total.

Managerial career


Hollins was immediately appointed coach at Chelsea; a year later he became first team-manager following John Neal's retirement. Chelsea built up a strong title challenge in 1985-86 and went top in February, but a late slump in form saw them finish sixth. His side still won the Full Members Cup in the same season, though, hanging on for a 5-4 win over Manchester City at Wembley having almost let slip a 5-1 lead. The following years were less successful, as Hollins and his assistant Ernie Walley fell out with several key players, particularly David Speedie and Nigel Spackman, team morale slumped and the side began to struggle. He was sacked in March 1988 with the club in the midst of a four month run without a league win.

After Chelsea

After leaving Chelsea in February 1989 he came out of retirement to sign for Cobh Ramblers [1] However he only played one league game before returning to England.

He then set up his own sports promotion and agency company, before being tempted back to join the coaching staff of his old club QPR in 1993, and stepped in as caretaker manager between Stewart Houston's dismissal and Ray Harford's appointment during the 1997-98 season. He later had spells as manager of Swansea City, Rochdale and as caretaker-manager of Stockport County. After which he managed Stockport County's Chinese affiliate club Stockport Tiger Star, before becoming a pundit for BBC Radio Five Live. He was most successful in his managerial reign with Swansea City where he quickly established himself as a fan favourite and guided Swansea to the Division Three title in 1999-2000, but was sacked after they failed to sustain themselves back in Division Two. He steered Rochdale into the play-offs in 2001-02 but was notoriously sacked by fax that summer after prevaricating over a new contract[1].

He spent a short time as the assistant manager at Raith Rovers in 2004, under Claude Anelka - the brother of Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka. He resigned following disagreements over tactics with Anelka.

On 21 November 2005, Hollins was announced as manager of Nationwide Conference side Crawley Town after the departure of Francis Vines. He remained with the club during the financial crisis that saw them docked ten points for going into administration, but left the club on 30 October 2006 after Crawley had been beaten by Lewes in the final qualifying round for the FA Cup.

In 2007 when Kenny Jackett left Swansea City, Hollins re-applied to become the manager of Swansea City for the second time. He did not get the job as it went to Spaniard, Roberto Martínez.

In January 2008, Hollins took over as manager of Conference National side Weymouth. He was joined just days later by Alan Lewer who filled the role of Hollins' assistant for the second time as they were together at Crawley Town.

On 13 November 2008 Hollins was suspended from his duties by Weymouth, while The Blue Square Premier launched an investigation into whether there had been a breach of contract[2].

On 3 December 2008 Weymouth announced that Hollins had been sacked[3].


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