Matt Holland

Matthew Rhys Holland (born 11 April 1974) is a former professional footballer, who played as a central midfielder.

Matt Holland
Holland playing for Charlton Athletic in 2008
Personal information
Full name Matthew Rhys Holland[1]
Date of birth (1974-04-11) 11 April 1974 (age 47)[1]
Place of birth Bury, England
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
0000–1992 West Ham United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1995 West Ham United 0 (0)
1992–1993Farnborough Town (loan) 21 (0)
1994-1995AFC Bournemouth (loan) 16 (1)
1995–1997 AFC Bournemouth 88 (17)
1997–2003 Ipswich Town 259 (38)
2003–2009 Charlton Athletic 191 (13)
Total 575 (69)
National team
1999 Republic of Ireland B 1 (0)
1999–2005 Republic of Ireland 49 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Holland began his career at West Ham United, having previously been with Arsenal's academy. During his time at West Ham spent time out on loan at Farnborough Town and AFC Bournemouth, going on to join the later permanently in 1995. After making over one hundred appearances for Bournemouth and captaining the club, Holland signed for Ipswich Town in 1997. He spent six years at Ipswich, making over three hundred appearances and captaining the club to promotion to the Premier League through the First Division play-offs in 2000. In 2003, Holland signed for Charlton Athletic. He spent six years at Charlton, captaining the club and making over two hundred appearances. He retired from playing in 2009.

Having won one cap for the Republic of Ireland B team in 1999, he made his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland in October 1999. He represented the Republic of Ireland from 1999 to 2005 at international level, earning 49 caps and scoring 5 goals. He was included in their squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Since ending his football career he has worked in the media, including with the BBC, Setanta Sports, Talksport, BT Sport and RTÉ.

Club career

Early career

Initially rejected by Arsenal for being 'too small' Holland went to West Ham United where he moved up the ranks of the academy but did not play for the first team. He joined Football Conference side Farnborough Town during the 1992–93 season and made twenty-one appearances.[2]


In order to gain first team football, Holland joined South Coast side Bournemouth in January 1995. He won the club's Player of the Year award for the 1995–96 season.[3] He played a total of 104 games, scoring 18 goals whilst at Dean Court, and also became captain.

Ipswich Town

In the summer of 1997, Holland joined Ipswich Town for a fee of £800,000. He made his debut for Ipswich on the opening day of the 1997–98 season, starting in a 0–0 draw with Queens Park Rangers. He scored his first goal for the club on 20 September 1997, netting in a 2–3 loss to Stoke City. Holland became an integral part of the side during his first season at Portman Road, starting every league and cup game as Ipswich finished 5th in the First Division, qualifying for the First Division play-offs as a result. Ipswich lost out 0–2 on aggregate over two legs to Charlton Athletic in the play-offs semi-finals. In total Holland made 59 appearances in all competitions during his first season at the club, scoring 12 goals, including a brace in a 0–3 away win over Torquay United in a League Cup second round tie.[4] He won the club's Player of the Year award for the 1997–98 season.[5]

He again became Ipswich's club captain during his second season at the club, and continued to feature as a key part of the team. He scored his first goal of the season on 11 August in a 1–1 draw with Exeter City in a League Cup match. He once again featured in every game of season as Ipswich finished 3rd in the league and qualified for the play-offs for a third successive season. Ipswich were knocked out of the play-offs by Bolton Wanderers over two legs, losing the first leg 0–1, Holland scored a brace in the second leg in a 4–3 victory, one of which being the winning goal, leveling the tie at 4–4 with Ipswich losing out on away goals.[6]

Ipswich continued to challenge for promotion during the 1999–2000 season. Holland kept up his impressive record of playing every game over the course of the season. He scored 10 goals in the league as Ipswich once again finished 3rd in the First Division, narrowly missing out on an automatic promotion place on the final day of the season. This meant Ipswich had qualified for the play-offs for the fourth season in a row. Holland started both legs of the semi-finals. The first leg of the semi-finals saw Ipswich come from 0–2 down to draw 2–2 away at Bolton, with Marcus Stewart scoring a brace. Ipswich won the second leg 5–3 at Portman Road, in a match that also saw two Bolton Wanderers players red carded, with goals from Jamie Clapham, Martijn Reuser and a Jim Magilton Hat-trick. Ipswich progressed to the play-offs final following a 7–5 aggregate win over Bolton Wanderers. Holland started in and captained Ipswich in the final on 29 May 2000 against Barnsley at Wembley Stadium. Ipswich again came from behind to eventually win the final 4–2, following goals from Tony Mowbray, Richard Naylor, Marcus Stewart and Martijn Reuser, winning promotion to the Premier League following a 5-year absence from the top flight.[7]

The following season, Holland captained the club to a 5th-placed finish in the 2000–01 Premier League season, Ipswich's highest Premier League finish. He scored his first Premier League goal on 11 November in a 2–0 home win over Charlton Athletic at Portman Road. He also scored in League Cup wins over Millwall and Manchester City as Ipswich reached the semi-finals of the 2000–01 League Cup, losing 4–2 on aggregate to Birmingham City over two legs having won the first leg 1–0. Holland again started every league game that season, making 47 appearances in all competitions and scoring 5 goals.[8] As a result of finishing 5th in the Premier League, Ipswich qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time since the 1982–83 season.

Holland scored his first goal of the 2001–02 season on 28 October in a 2–3 loss to his former club West Ham United. He played every match in the Premier League and UEFA Cup that season, however Ipswich suffered relegation from the Premier League after finishing 18th in the 2001–02 season. In total Holland made 46 appearances during the season, scoring 3 goals, including the winning goal in a 2–1 away win over Everton on 2 February.[9]

Though Ipswich were relegated Holland stayed with the club during the 2002–03 season after he turned down a £4 million move to Aston Villa.[10] He continued to play regularly, scoring his first goals of the season on 18 August, netting a brace in a 6–1 win over Leicester City at Portman Road. On 15 March he scored the winning goal in a 1–0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. He made 54 appearances over the course of the season, scoring 7 goals as Ipswich finished 7th in the league.[11] Holland won Ipswich's Player of the Year award for the second time in the 2002–03 season.[12] His spell at Ipswich is remembered for the consistency he showed, after playing 223 consecutive games and only missing one league match (due to international duty) in the six years he was at Portman Road.

Charlton Athletic

After Ipswich failed to win promotion in 2003, Holland moved back to the Premier League by joining Charlton Athletic on a four-year contract for an initial £750,000 fee,[13] which later rose to £900,000. Again with this move he assumed the captain's armband and was ever-present in his first season for the club. He made his debut for Charlton against Manchester City on 17 August 2003. He scored his first goals for the club on 3 November 2003 when he netted a brace in a 2–1 win over Birmingham City. He played in every league game during his first season at Charlton, scoring 6 goals. In his first season at the club, Holland captained Charlton to 7th in the league, their highest ever Premier League finish.[14]

Holland continued to be a key part of the Charlton side during the 2004–05 season. He scored the winning goal in 0–1 away win over West Bromwich Albion on 11 December, a month later he again scored the winner in a 0–1 away win over Everton. He scored 3 goals in 36 appearances as Charlton finished 11th in the Premier League.[15]

He remained as a regular in the Charlton first-team during the following season, helping the club to another mid-table season in the top-flight in the 2005–06 season, although Charlton did suffer relegation from the Premier League the following season. Holland remained with the club following relegation, becoming one of the longest-serving Charlton players. He claimed more than half the entire vote for the 2007–08 Fans' Player of the Year award.[16] He continued to play regularly during the 2008–09 season, making 38 appearances across all competitions.[17] His final match came in a 2–2 draw with Cardiff City on 21 April 2009,[18] and the club released him after relegation to League One at the end of the season.

In July 2009, Holland trained with Colchester United following his release from Charlton in order to keep himself fit.[19]

International career

Although born in England, Holland qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland through his grandmother who hailed from County Monaghan.[20] He made his international debut on 9 October 1999 in an away Euro 2000 qualifier against Macedonia, playing the last five minutes as a substitute for Mark Kennedy.[21] He made his club manager at the time, George Burley, aware of his interest and Burley spoke to the national manager Mick McCarthy.[22] Holland's first goal for the national team came on his fifth cap, the equaliser in a 1–1 draw with Portugal on 7 October 2000 in qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[23] Holland captained the side in three internationals, the first on his 28th cap, a 2–0 friendly defeat to Scotland.[24]

He went with the Republic of Ireland to the 2002 World Cup scoring the equaliser against Cameroon in their opening game. He swapped shirts with Dietmar Hamann after the Germany game.[25] Ireland were eliminated from this tournament in a Second Round penalty shoot-out against Spain, with Holland among those who missed. Following Ireland's failure to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, he announced his retirement from international football on 5 February 2006 having made 49 appearances and scoring five goals. Manager Steve Staunton had attempted to persuade Holland to continue.[26]

Media career

He was one of several players and managers (including Danny Mills and Paul Jewell) who acted as summarisers for BBC Radio Five Live during the 2006 World Cup. Holland has also appeared on the BBC television program A Question of Sport and the radio quiz Fighting Talk. Holland as a freelance pundit has appeared on nearly every media outlet covering football in the UK. He has been a pundit on ESPN & Sky Sports, appeared on BBC results service Final Score on the odd Saturday afternoon and appeared on ITV commentating on the UEFA Cup. He is also a presenter for the Eastern England edition of the BBC regional football show Late Kick Off.[27]

He has also appeared on many radio shows, he usually appears on talkSPORT on kick off usually on Friday nights and also appearing on Matchday Live on Saturday afternoons whenever he is not on Final Score. Holland has also appeared frequently on Absolute Radio and BBC Radio 5 Live as a co-commentator as well as Final Score, Premier Soccer Saturday or talkSPORT. In addition Holland previously appeared as an analyst for Setanta Sports' live matches.

He also co-commentates on BT Sport on the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.[28]

Holland began work with RTÉ when he commentated alongside George Hamilton during the Rep. of Ireland and Brazil friendly. He then appeared as a member of the panel on RTÉ's Premier Soccer Saturday for a number of weeks. He commentated the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[29][30]

Holland lives in Essex.[citation needed]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
West Ham United 1992–93 First Division 00000000
1993–94 Premier League 00000000
1994–95 Premier League 00000000
Total 0000000000
Farnborough Town (loan) 1992–93[2] Football Conference 21000210
AFC Bournemouth (loan) 1994–95 Second Division 161000000161
AFC Bournemouth 1995–96 Second Division 431020403[lower-alpha 1]05210
1996–97[31] Second Division 457102000487
Total 1041830603011618
Ipswich Town 1997–98[4] First Division 461040722[lower-alpha 2]05912
1998–99[6] First Division 46520422[lower-alpha 2]2549
1999–00[32] First Division 461010403[lower-alpha 2]05410
2000–01[8] Premier League 3832072475
2001–02[9] Premier League 38310106[lower-alpha 3]0463
2002–03[11] First Division 45720106[lower-alpha 3]0547
Total 2593812024619231446
Charlton Athletic 2003–04[33] Premier League 3861020416
2004–05[34] Premier League 3233010363
2005–06[35] Premier League 2315120302
2006–07[36] Premier League 3311020361
2007–08[37] Championship 3112010341
2008–09[38] Championship 3413010381
Total 19113151900021514
Career total 5756930139622266678
  1. Appearances in Football League Trophy
  2. Appearances in First Division play-offs
  3. Appearances in UEFA Cup


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National teamYearAppsGoals
Republic of Ireland 199910

International goals

Republic of Ireland score listed first, score column indicates score after each Holland goal.
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
17 October 2000Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal6 Portugal1–11–12002 FIFA World Cup qualification
228 March 2001Mini Estadi, Barcelona, Spain8 Andorra3–03–02002 FIFA World Cup qualification
36 June 2001A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia11 Estonia2–02–02002 FIFA World Cup qualification
41 June 2002Niigata Stadium, Niigata, Japan20 Cameroon1–11–12002 FIFA World Cup
527 May 2004Lansdowne Road, Dublin, Republic of Ireland40 Romania1–01–0Friendly


Ipswich Town


See also


  1. Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
  2. Harman, John (2005). Alliance to Conference. Tony Williams Publications. ISBN 978-1-869833-52-7.
  3. "No Regrets for Holland". Professional Footballers' Association. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  4. "Games played by Matt Holland in 1997/1998". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  5. "Matt Holland career statistics". Soccerbase. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
  6. "Games played by Matt Holland in 1998/1999". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  7. "'In terms of what was achieved, it's a year that I certainly wouldn't want to change'". The 42. 30 April 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  8. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2000/2001". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  9. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2001/2002". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  10. "Round-up: Holland rejects Villa to remain happy at home".
  11. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2002/2003". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  12. "Matt Supporters' Winner". TWTD. 24 April 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  13. "Charlton sign Holland". The Daily Telegraph. London. 16 June 2003.
  14. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2003/2004". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  15. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2004/2005". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  16. Charlton Athletic Playing Squad – Matt Holland[permanent dead link]
  17. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  18. Matthew Holland Bio, Stats, News – Football / Soccer – - ESPN FC
  19. "Colchester rule out Holland move". 30 July 2009. Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  20. Premiership life a beach for Holland – Telegraph
  21. Macedonia and Rep. of Ireland national football teams played to a 1:1 draw, 9 October 1999 –
  22. "'In terms of what was achieved, it's a year that I certainly wouldn't want to change': The events of 2000 kickstarted Matt Holland's career as a Premier League and international footballer". 30 April 2020.
  23. Portugal and Rep. of Ireland national football teams played to a 1:1 draw, 7 October 2000 –
  24. Matt Holland – national football team player –
  25. "Dietmar Hamann still has a soft spot for his 2002 Ireland jersey". 25 July 2014.
  26. "Holland ends international career". BBC News. 5 February 2006.
  27. "Matt Holland presents BBC One's Late Kick Off". BBC Suffolk. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  28. "BT Sport's World Cup watch". Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  29. Black, Fergus (2 June 2010). "RTÉ hopes Ossie and squad will spur fans to back home team". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  30. O'Malley, Carl (2 June 2010). "RTÉ roll out big guns for their 56 live games". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  31. "Games played by Matt Holland in 1996/1997". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  32. "Games played by Matt Holland in 1999/2000". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  33. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2003/2004". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  34. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2004/2005". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  35. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2005/2006". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  36. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2006/2007". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  37. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  38. "Games played by Matt Holland in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  39. "Ipswich triumph at last". BBC News. 29 May 2000. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  40. "Meet the Charlton Athletic man voted fans' favourite Player of the Year in past 25 years". Kent Live. 12 December 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  41. Pearce, Steve (30 March 2014). "Hall of Fame 2014". Ipswich Town F.C. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.