LONDON (AP) — At times it feels like Ian Holloway is fighting a one-man war for sanity in football.
In a sport where principles are sometimes abandoned quicker than clubs change shirts, one of the Premier League's newest, returning managers is resolute in sticking to his values.
"I have got (principles) and I will always have them," the Crystal Palace manager says. "Everyone's got principles — but in principle they want money."
The quick wit and jocular tone can be deceptive.
After two years away from the Premier League, the former Blackpool manager is back in the big time with south London club Palace.
"There are a few more noughts on the end of the deals," the 50-year-old Holloway responds in a flash in his distinctive southwest England accent.
Don't be fooled by the flippant replies.
Holloway is passionate about the image of the game.
What irritates him so much is not necessarily the bumper pay packets that land in players' pockets, but how the cash changes them as people and just how pampered they are.
Quite simply, players today just don't realize how good they've got it.
Remind them. Send players down to the lower reaches of the non-league as a wake-up call.
"When they go out and come back in they appreciate it more," Holloway said. "So maybe some of these overpaid starlets we've got flying about the place should be released and see how they like it."
Holloway is more grounded than most, something no doubt rooted in overcoming the challenges of raising four children, three of whom were born deaf. He coped and along the way also learned sign language.
It puts the football challenges into perspective.
Away from his home life he is immersed in a game that has never been awash with so much money.
The latest global television deals are generating 5.5 billion pounds ($8.6 billion) for the league over three years.
Even if Palace, Holloway's south London team, returns instantly to the second tier by finishing bottom they will receive at least 60 million pounds ($93 million) at the end of the season.
"Everyone is desperate to get to the money in the Premier League," Holloway said. "They think it's a free meal ticket but it isn't."
Not when newly promoted teams like Palace have to try to compete against — not only the behemoths at Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea — but even more modest, though established, sides.
"We're sharks in the water," Holloway conceded. "But there are others who are bigger than us ... they're just bigger sharks than us."
The Premier League thrives as the people filling the stadiums often struggle to meet the cost of attending games.
"Countries are going bust for god's sake, but football's thriving," Holloway says. "I'm glad it is because it's a wonderful game."