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The Payne Game: Ian Holloway hoping to be The Codfather at Grimsby

Enthusiasm: Holloway

IAN HOLLOWAY has breezed back into football at Grimsby and immediately breathed new life into the Mariners.

The League Two club, who had gone 15 games without victory, have enjoyed two 1-0 wins since the 56-year-old arrived, albeit he was in the stands as Anthony Limbrick managed at home to Salford.

That is as hands-off as he is likely to get and Holloway apologised to Mansfield fans for over-celebrating on their pitch on Saturday after his ten men leapfrogged their fellow strugglers in the table. It is that unbridled enthusiasm which sets him apart. On his return more than 18 months after being harshly sacked by QPR — having steadied the ship at a club that seemed to be on a downward spiral after being forced to slash the wage bill — Holloway said: ‘I feel like a kid in a sweet shop.’

He apparently interviewed Grimsby chairman John Fenty, as opposed to the other way round, over a fish-and-chip dinner on Cleethorpes Pier alongside his wife Kim, before ending his longest exile from the game since his playing career began.

As if to ensure that does not happen again, Holloway has also bought £100,000 of shares in his new club and taken a seat on the board.

‘It is a clear signal of my intent to be with Grimsby long-term. I am not going to agree to sack myself and my intention is to be with the Mariners for a lot longer than the period of my initial two-year contract.’

Grimsby fans may not know what’s hit them, but life by the seaside is never going to be sleepy with Holloway around.