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.