Macari Threatened by Ince Agent

A couple of weeks ago I listened to Lou Macari talking about his new autobiography for half an hour on 5 Live. I hadn’t realised he had a son who committed suicide. Anyway, my copy of the book arrived this morning and I have just finished reading the chapters about West Ham. He says resigning his job at Upton Park was the worst decision of his life and now realises he shouldn’t have done it. He praises Julian Dicks to the skies and reveals that Terry Venables tried to sign him for Tottenham. But perhaps the most interesting part is his view of Paul Ince. Here’s how he starts a chapter…

I didn’t know much about Paul Ince before I walked through the doors at Upton Park, but it did not take me long to get acquainted… I was threatened by his agent, Ambrose Mendy. Agents were still in their infancy in the late eighties. I couldn’t remember having dealt with one before. Let’s just say Mendy was a bit of a lad.

“I think it would be in your interests if you did not stand in his way,” he said. “If you do, it could be a problem for you.”

I may have misunderstood the message, but it seemed menacing enough to me. What else could he have meant? … Matters quicly came to a head … Ince was pictured in a newspaper with a Manchester United short on. no one from United had been in touch with me. And I had no intention of speaking to Sir Alex. Now I had a problem. I was determined not to let Ince leave. No matter what Mendy said, I was ready to dig my heels in. Quite apart from anything else, I knew the fans were not going to stand for any of that crap. The West Ham support is firecely loyal. they saw it as a betrayal. I couldn’t disagree with them… But that picture changed everything. United had already been in touch…

Intertesting stuff, eh? Anyway, you can buy the book HERE. It’s well worth a read.

UPDATE: Ince has put his side of the story in the Dailly Mail this morning.

Ince himself has done his best to defuse the situation in recent seasons but, as he is likely to discover tomorrow, he has had only limited success. He was even moved, not long ago, to explain the notorious shirt episode which so upset the Upton Park faithful. ‘I spoke to Alex Ferguson,’ he recalled, ‘and the deal was close to being done. I then went on holiday and my agent said it wasn’t worth me coming back to do a picture in a United shirt when the deal was completed, so I should do one before I left and it would be released when the deal was announced.

‘The photographer took the picture and put it into the newspaper’s library. Soon after, the sister paper were looking for a picture of me and found the one of me in a United shirt in the pile. They published it and all hell let loose. I came back from holiday to discover West Ham fans were going mad. ‘It wasn’t really my fault, I was only a kid. I did what my agent told me and took all the crap for it.’ The photographer in question has since confirmed that Ince was blameless and, unlike a substantial number of West Ham fans, the Blackburn boss is keen to draw a line under the episode.

I suspect that both versions are actually true.


28 Responses to Macari Threatened by Ince Agent

  1. bloody Limey says:

    This will no doubt encourage a suitable welcome for the self proclaimed ‘Guv’nor’ tomorrow?

  2. Adam says:

    Interesting. Well that totally contradicts what Ince has been saying to the Daily Mail today.

  3. Devo's Barnet says:

    Well done Iain for reminding a few worn memories about just how unsavoury that whole Ince business was at the time. All this talk in the press from Harry Redknapp about how we should bury the hatchet is p*ssing me off. I, like many hammers fans, was there at the time and it wasn’t just the shirt wearing incident, he slated West Ham in the Sun newspaper with three days of two page spreads. At the end of the day (and I have met him) he is a flash b*stard. And that’s just his good side……..

  4. Doc H Ball says:

    Even the passage of nearly 20 years has not diminished my loathing for Ince. I went to Stoke away for the 1st game after the story recounted by Macari and he stood in the centre circle for the entire 1st half with the West Ham support baying for his blood. I have never seen anything on a football pitch so unprofessional. Macari to his credit refused to take him off and let him take the stick.

    There was also the question over the fee we were paid by Manure. Mendy had a Harley Street quack access Ince and there were questions over his leg and a possible permenant injury which was used by United to negotiaite a ridiculously low hire purchase fee. Ince, of course, never missed a game as a result of that ‘injury.’

    Mendy went on to serve jail terms including one for dressing up as an Arab and opening false accounts. The whole thing was as bent as a nine bob note.

    So, forgive me tomorrow, but I for one will continue baying for some recognition for the ‘governor’ that he sold out the club that gave him his opportunity in the first place. I will not slate Curbs because he is doing his very best whatever anyone says and compared to Judas, he is a saint.

  5. Goatygav says:

    I remember the day I saw the paper. I’d been on holiday for two weeks and was returning on a cross channel ferry and was gutted to hear Ince was going to Manchester United. Little did I know, at that stage, he was still a hammers player. Strange I remember that. I guess it’s one of those points in history you’ll always remember – like the Berlin Wall falling, man setting foot on the moon, the JFK assassination and Paulo DiCanio sliding the ball past a waving Fabien Bartez.

    As Machiavellian as Mendy was he really shouldn’t be surprise he’s still getting stick. What does he expect. Whether he was duped into it or not it will always bee seen as one of the worst cases of betrayal imaginable.

    At least Upton Park should be united in getting behind the team on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how we play compared to last week at Man City where we were very quiet.

  6. chris says:

    yeah he slated us in the press after!! what’s the excuse for that one then?
    we’ll give him answers startin from tomorrow!

  7. slc says:

    Get over it

  8. Lamb Behrami says:

    Well done Iain! Whip up the hatred before the Blackburn game, that’s very mature of you. There are fans in the stadium that call for Harry to come back to West Ham but when he gives his view on Paul Ince nobody cares to pay attention. There was no betrayal but formalities that had to be complete which because of his holiday had to be done as soon as possible. Unfortunately it came out in the public but if fans were to see everything that went on in every player deal then I don’t think they’d be happy with many players at all. The hatred towards Ince just makes it difficult for him to like us… the fact is that he still does like and respect this club – that’s just shame on the haters.

    You could have chose to write something along the lines of what Harry wrote but you, at your trouble-making best, chose to go the opposite way. Supporting your team is not dependent on hating others. In fact, that time and energy wasted on hating could well be spent supporting your own team.


    “I know a lot of West Ham fans still despise Paul Ince but I have a lot of admiration for him. In an era when players earn £50k a week it is encouraging to see someone prepared to work his way up from the bottom.

    He started at Macclesfield and MK Dons for £50,000 a year before getting a job at Premier League Blackburn.

    Paul will get a rough ride with Rovers at Upton Park tomorrow I’m sure. I hope he doesn’t get slaughtered.

    A bit of jeering and some banter is all part of it and West Ham have some terrific wits on the terraces. But it’s time to move on. Paul left West Ham nearly 20 years ago.

    I spoke to someone close to him a few weeks back and they told me the reason he wanted to leave was because the old manager John Lyall had been sacked.

    Incey grew up without a dad and John was like a father to him. When he got the push Paul couldn’t stay.

    Yes, he made a mistake being pictured in a Manchester United shirt but I reckon a lot of the fans at the game will be too young to remember it anyway.

    Paul Ince is an admirable export from the East End of London. I would say to any current players like Rio Ferdinand, who has expressed an interest in management after playing, that they would do well to follow his example.”

  9. Van Der Elst says:

    Ince’s version is the same as that told to me by Michael Herd, former Sports Editor of the Standard, some years ago.

  10. Mr Biscuits says:

    What kind of a man refuses to take responsibility for his idiocy in posing for a photo like that, and trusting ANY newspaper not to publish it?

    Youngster or not, mis-advised or not, it was still his mistake. Isn’t it about time that Ince grew up and stopped trying to shift the blame away from himself.

    For the record, I couldn’t give two hoots about Paul Ince. I’m not bothered. I just think he makes himself ridiculous with those butter-wouldn’t-melt protestations.

    He and his lot engineered a move and overstepped the mark in lots of ways. It’s undeniable.

    At least the booing won’t be directed at our own team tomorrow.

  11. Plaistow54 says:

    I think Macari was our only ever non english manager. Was a clean, hard working player. From seeing him play, i would say he is telling the truth in his book. Good memories of his career. However…Paul Ince, came to us as a kid. We gave him every opportunity. When the glam team came knocking, he couldn’t wait to get away. Fair enough, but so much so that he put their shirt on while he was still on the payroll, & not only that, had a photograph of the event. He was 21. He said, i trusted people.
    Bwahaha,Bwahahahaha! What did he think was going to happen ? I don’t agree with any sort of abuse but i reckon it will be a nervous trip for him, to say the least. If ever the players wanted to string a good performance together as a side. This is the one to do it.

  12. And let’s not forget how, when Ince first got the treatment at the Upton Park, Alex Ferguson labelled us all racists. As I very politely pointed out to him in a letter I faxed to his personal office the following day: “We at West Ham are not racist, we simply dislike Paul Ince for his disloyalty. There is a massive difference. Just because we don’t like you either doesn’t make us anti-Scottish, by the way. That’s just a gut reaction to your boorishness, your money and your carrying that ridiculous stopwatch on the sideline.” In reply, there came nothing…

  13. Thucydides says:

    Ince hasn’t said anything in the Mail today, it just repeats a quote from him from many years ago which is the truth of the whole situation. Fact is he was a kid, a kid that happened to have the dodgiest agent of those days advising him, an agent that subsequently served numerous prison sentences. A kid that was just as naive and gullible as any other then or now. It wasn’t his fault certain sections at Upton Park decided for their own dubious reasons to start a hate campaign against him, a hate campaign that could put most ancient Sicilian blood feuds to shame in comparison.
    Truth is a large section of the baying mob haven’t got a clue what they are doing it for anyway seeing as they were either not born then, or were too young to remember, also is there no sorrier a sight in football than seeing children being gleefully encouraged by fully grown adults to join in the chanting and hatred.
    As always i will not be partaking in the little hate fest on Saturday. Instead i will welcome the most promising young English manager in the game today back to Upton Park with a warm handshake and tell him John Lyall would have been so proud of him.

  14. Thucydides says:

    Iain your quite the hooligan/hate mob groupie aren’t you underneath that politico exterior.

  15. Iain Dale says:

    What a ridiculous thing to say. I even posted Ince’s defence! And as for Lamb Behrami’s comments, they are beneath contempt. I haven’t whipped up anything. I posted an interesting extract from Macari’s book, which I got this morning. I then posted Ince’s defence of his position, which I said at the end struck me as being completely plausible. Perhaps people should read what I actually write, rather than what they think I wrote.

  16. Thucydides says:

    Inces defence (or as i like to call it the truth) was made years ago the Daily Mail piece only repeated this, well reported at the time, version. Your post was making it seem like Ince had just given the interview thus giving to me the impression that you were attempting to whip up, as if it needed it, some extra spice. If i misread your intentions then i apologise. I guess all the negativity on this site from a minority of fans is taking it’s toll on me.

  17. Martyn says:

    Plenty of good and bad comments made…..but one thing remains true in my eyes……Ince betrayed OUR club….BOOOOOOOOOOO i say


  18. jimwhu says:

    hes scum and he should get loads of stick

  19. E1 says:

    I just hope the team and curbs understand how much winning tomorrow means to the fans, lets hope it gives them an insentive to get out there and give us our pride back.
    If It gets a performance then keep it up I say, down with Judas up the Irons !!!!!

  20. Sam H says:

    well said Iain!

  21. brooking still the best says:

    If booing ince, right or wrong, helps the team win tommorrw, then why not?

  22. darren hutchinson says:

    with all the negativ at up carnt understand wy people boo .

  23. livingintheeighties says:

    It was 19 years ago now. Quite a lot in the world has happened since then.

    Anyway, I remember the final game of the season in 95 when we stopped him and that hideously arrogant ManU side from taking the title – wasn’t that stroke of revenge sweet enough?

  24. colney says:

    so funny,people do take this far 2 serious.

    do we realy care about paul ince? i mean whats more important,winning today,3 points and moving away from the spulies or trapping of at a bloke that left west ham 20 years ago?

    ian,no problems with the post at all but do you think this blogg needs to generate more of a positive feeling towards the club?

  25. Ian the Hammer says:

    I was there.
    Ince is scum.
    Lets never forget, we the fans stay & pay through the nose for the piss poor football, season after season. These over paid & extremely unloyal people in football should never forget this. I include Mr Redknapp in this. Lets never forget, NEVER.

  26. LaurieInSpain says:

    Excellent piece Iain. Mendy was a well known rogue long before this incident. I have no doubt that this was at least one of the reasons Ince signed up to him… as your article says these were the early days of agents and they all needed to be aggressive back then. But Mendy would have been known to Ince as a villain and he made that choice. So he must take responsibility for everything that went after it.
    Our attitude to Ince makes it easy to label WHU fans as vitriolic and spiteful but the fact is no player, until Lumplard, ever managed to reach the heights of treachery that Ince did.
    There is nothing he can do now after all this time to appease us. He is still the conceited arrogant flash plum he always was. We are still the diehard claret and blue soldiers we always were. Not much room for meeting in the middle then.
    Boo him from the moment he appears to the moment he disappears back down the tunnel pointless.

  27. In the 80’s Mendy was running with Frank Warren’s Boxing camp in the East End, I meet him a few times then in shows at Ali Palace and York Hall in Bethnal Green with a young Nigel Benn and with Macari gangster Mndy obviously thought he was an extra in the Long Good Friday too.
    John Lyall being sacked was the reason Ince gave for wanting to go, being an impressionable 21 year old Father-less son I too would have stood by my support for a surrogate Father figure, especially one such as ‘gentleman John who you never heard a bad word about in all his years which is something special in football.

    I think Man Utd’s role in the whole saga is where our contempt should be directed – look at them with Berbatov right now and Tevez before. Somebody should write a book on their transfer dealings unsettling players to get them on the cheap from their clubs. They would have been in Mendy’s ear with the shirt thing too.

    Our ire should be at Ferguson, not Ince who was obviously very confused by th loss of Lyal and further more by the actions of Mendy who was being steered by Ferguson. That is it.

    Don’t be surprised if Ince leaves Upton Pk today with some points as all this does is gel his team to him in support AKA Lampard.

    The worst of it is the press we are getting AGAIN very negative – we are more hated than Millwall by the Media and it will be ANOTHER afternoon of negative energy at Upton Pk today – just what the West Ham players need as they go about their work. We have learnt nothing about the force of collective negative energy. Watch it unfold today in a 1 – 2 loss…………

  28. Tony says:

    The Judas chants and booing were half-hearted yesterday which I was glad about and most people just got behind the team.
    Man U have been tapping up players and getting away with it for years and had a bit of there own medicine from Real Madrid.
    It was a shame Ronaldo didn’t go.
    The difference between Fat Frank and Ince, Fat Frank has slagged not just the club off but the supporters for years.
    His version of events regarding him only leaving West Ham because of Harry and Frank senior getting the sack are laughable.
    It was general knowledge that he was going to leave at the end of that season and was being touted around months before.

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