In Defence of Paul Ince

A blog is nothing if not a place to air some controversial opinions, so let me do just that. I think Blackburn have treated Paul Ince appallingly. OK, he’s not exactly my favourite character, and after the way he treated West Ham I suppose I might think he had it coming to him, but read on.

Ince’s career in football management so far has been pretty impressive. OK, Blackburn was his first tilt at a Premiership job, but how he wasn’t exactly given a lot of time to prove himself. Several of his best players were sold in the summer and there is no way he could be expected to build a team challenging for Europe in 17 games. Yes, their position in the Premiership looks fairly parlous, but is that really likely to improve by appointing Allardyce or Souness? Allardyce was not exactly a short term success at Newcastle, was he?

Those people who decided to appoint Paul Ince in the first place should examine their own abilities and judgement. They made the decision to appoint him. They decided he was the man for the job. Yet a mere four months later they reckon they got it wrong. have any of them paid for that apparent lack of judgement with their own jobs?

By this measure, Gianfranco Zola should be given the push too, yet I can’t think there are many at West Ham who would give that matter a second thought. If you appoint a new manager you have to give him time to develop and build their own team. There’s little doubt that Zola will want to shift out many of the current team and bring in his own players. That will take at least eighteen months if not longer to achieve.

Paul Ince should have been given that chance too.

I am now battening down the hatches and donning my tin helmet!


22 Responses to In Defence of Paul Ince

  1. Graybo says:

    Agreed… Iain, it would be interesting to know your views on the media’s role in getting people sacked, not just in sport but in politics as well!!!

    I believe many people are hounded out of office — Curbs included — simply because the media has driven the agenda along too quickly.

    Football managers deserve time. It’s ridiculous to be scared of relegation this early in the season. Long way to go.

  2. Big Casino says:

    I don’t really care about the Paul Ince situation Iain – but I am in agreement with you about Zola.

    Am sick and tired of hearing pundits and ex-Hammers spouting on about Zola not being experienced enough, and results not being good enough, and how he’s not the right man for the job. From Geoff Hurst to John Hartson, they’ve all be saying Zola’s not up for the job.

    Well I personally don’t think the guy has done a bad job at all. The football we played in his first games in charge was champagne, and whilst we haven’t really seen this free flowing football as much in recent weeks, he has shown that he is capable of picking up results in games no one gave us a chance in (Chelsea and Liverpool away), and has ground out results when we really needed them (Sunderland away).

    The Premier is probably the tightest and most competitive it has ever been, and whilst a quick glance at the table doesn’t make great reading, 5th for bottom and only 1 point outside the relegation zone, back to back wins can catapult the club into the top 10.

    We’re still in the midst of a particularly tricky run of games, culminating in Villa this saturday, and whilst I think every player, fan and the manager himself, will have been utterly disappointed and hacked off with the display against Spurs, we’ve acquitted ourselves very well.

    With the pace, skill and width provided by Dyer and Etherington coming back to the side, and the shear class and brilliance of Dean Ashton expected to return in early Jan, Zola will finally have some decent options in the final third of the pitch, and I fully expect to see us become more of an attacking force in the New Year.

    Curbs never got the chance to field his best team, and neither has Zola thus far… the prospect of fielding the attacking trio of Dyer, Bellamy and Ashton in the same team is really exciting… and when you’ve got the likes of Parker, Collison, Behrami and Noble working their socks off in midfield, with a backline that includes an in-from Matthew Upson, a dynamic James Collins, and a somewhat rejuvenated Lucas Neill, not to mention England’s number 1, Rob Green… I’d say the second half of West Ham;s season looks very promising!!!!

    And I back Zola to fire us to a top half finish!

  3. freddyfreddy says:

    ill have to agree iain – butit is paul ince so all things considered it is rather delightful

  4. Graybo says:

    Big Casino… what a great post… really lifts the spirits to hear it. Wish there were more like you around, and I raise a glass of Christmas cheer to you.

  5. DevoDevo says:

    Agree, Iain.

    On another football forum, I and a few others said pre-season that Blackburn would struggle this yesr (I also mentioned Everton, but Moyes does seem to have a knack of getting them picking up points).

    To say Ince is the man for the job and then replace him 4 months later is absolutely ridiculous and smacks of panic. Ironically, Hughes’ tenure at Man City may well be close to an end as well, given that he wasn’t the new owner’s choice.

    Funny old game, innit?

  6. chris says:

    Sorry dont feel anything.

  7. colney says:

    he’s just a fat eddie murphy!

    i dont think anyone deserve sympathy when they show no loyalty in there previous employment.

    anyway,blx to him,lets talk about ashton back in january!!

  8. Hammer Right says:


    Good article.

    Let’s bury the hatchet with Ince.

    He was 20 years old when that infamous picture came out with him in a Manure shirt. He has stated so many times that his agent had told the press not to publish it until the deal was through. The press being the press had to latch onto it and the rest as they say is history.

    I have nothing against him, never have. He was a great player in his time. One of the very few English successes in Italy. Time after time he is quoted as saying West Ham will always be his team no matter what people say. He is from the manor so I will always back our him, even if he supposedly made mistakes.

    As for the so called pundits, the reason why they sit in studios is because they are not man enough to manage. I have met Hurst through work, the man is an imbecile and extremely arrogant. All real fans no what Zola wants to do but the bottom line is we do not have the players to carry it out. But there is no doubt in my mind he will get us going. The only thing I fear come January is the club and that pr4t Duxbury going back on their word which may drive Zola out.

    What Blackburn done was a joke. I hope they go down.


  9. Doc H Ball says:

    Maybe we’ll find out that just before getting the sack he posed in a Sunderland shirt on the advice of his agent?

  10. devo says:

    Ince-Mince,West Ham Top Ten Finish thats more like Christmas Cheer

  11. colin say's says:

    l think Tony Adams should be watching his back,if we play Portsmouth on the 26th like we did Chelsea,l think there’s 3 points in the bag, and he will be the next manager out the door.

  12. Biffo the bear says:

    I agree that Blackburn haven’t given Ince enough time to prove himself but, in order to show that he’s a good manager, which I think he is, they would probably need to get relegated and try and come back up. The club can’t be seen to let that happen. It may well happen anyway but they will appear as if they tried to stop it. Sheffield United have shown that clubs can go down without losing a lot of money (I think their books how they lost a net 6 mill) Blackburn have very low crowd figures and their fans just wouldn’t turn up to watch them play Doncaster etc. so their board can’t afford to give Ince the time he needs. They need to take responsibility for selling their best players and expecting anyone to keep them up. I’m encouraged by the fact that there are other teams (apart from us) who seem to be struggling for results this year. I think this season is so tight at the top and the bottom that it will be one of the best in recent years, right up to the end. COYI

  13. djclipz says:

    this old giving managers time issue! Yes its true 4 months isn’t enough time at all, however you don’t expect to lose that many games in a row as blackburn have done!!! So that is always going to be a huge influence. However for me i feel the real problem was like iain said the ppl tht chose Ince to be answer!!! I’ve never agreed with it, he wasn’t ready and he doesn’t come across to me as the guy to control big players or the rest of the squad for that matter!! Look at santa cruz, he seems to have lost all interest and mccarthy certainly anything like he was to begin with!!

    I suppose you could say the same with Zola, however i feel he has something else about him, something players respect and is more suited to such a role compared to Ince. Also the incoming of clarke im sure has also changed things. Ultimately too, you always hear west ham players talk about the impact of zola and clarke have had on the club and that they are enjoying it. Not once did i hear that with Blackburn!!! and finally our quality of football and confidence has been leaps in front of blackburn so Zola has certainly been doing something right!!!

    apart from all that though i’m just gonna miss the Judas banter always thrown at Ince. :-(!!!

  14. Goatygav says:

    I agree – He shouldn’t have been offered the job. Equally culpable in this, however, is Judas’ agent. It was completely the wrong time and wrong job for him and he should’ve been advised against it. It wasn’t in his best interest to go to Blackburn – especailly following the very talented Mark Hughes.

    I’m sure he’ll pop up again some day – can’t see it ever being on the home bench at Upton Park though!

  15. FrannyZola says:

    Completely agree Iain.

    Given too short a period

    No real transfer window

    Had win-able games coming up

    Why appoint him if you’re not gonna give him a chance

    Someone should be accountable for his appointment and sacking

    Blackburn expecting too much.

    If SaladRice does succeed then he’s not gonna stick around; if he doesnt then he’ll get sacked too. Should have stuck with Ince, he would been there long term.

  16. supernumbersix says:

    Spot on Hammer Right. Spot on. Unlike other ex players I could name, Ince has never bad mouthed the club or the fans, despite the slagging he gets from ‘us’.
    He was young and he was misled. – it wasn’t just the press. his agent wasn’t too clever either. It was how many years ago now?? For chrissakes ‘we’ should get over it. Yes I agree perhaps it was a case of biting off too much this time. A few more seasons in the lower leagues would have been better for him but I’m sure he will make a good manager one day. I’m gonna take off my tin hat as I don’t give a t**s what any one thinks – I would have loved to have seen him back at WHU in a coaching capacity, there I said it. As for Geoff Hurst, my sentiments for him have seriously dimmed, we just don’t need that sort of ‘opinion’ right now.

  17. FrannyZola says:

    Geoff Hurst is senile. He also has his head up his own backside. Seriously….the guy must look in the mirror and say “Ooo, it’s got to be illegal to look that good”

  18. Upton Spark says:

    Supernumbersix; Spot on mate.
    I once received a letter and photo from “Incey” and he was very polite and freindly.
    I think he has been punished enough by the fans. Enough is enough surely.
    As for him losing his job at Blackburn,then I agree with Harry Redknapp tonight who said he wasn’t given enough time.

  19. Scalyback says:

    I’m pleasantly surprised by the number of people willing to bury the hatchet with Ince, and not in his head! Like you, he will never be my favourite player, but it’s about time we forgave (not forget) his sins.

    I hope this happens and this helps to get rid of all the stupid booing that goes on at home these days; we even boo our own players; how stupid is that? The Spuds goalie was booed loudly and played a blinder; that should tell us something!

  20. Graybo says:

    The Spuds goalie was booed loudly and played a blinder; that should tell us something!

    Quite right… I’ve lost count of the number of times Frank Lampard comes back to haunt us with a goal or a blinding performance (not last week, though, thankfully).

    The boos achieve nothing. When will they learn?

  21. Tony says:

    I agree that Ince was given too little time , but panik and worry has set in all over the Prem. Money , lots of Money, is all that counts now. If you dont sucseed then its out my old son. Tough on the like of Ince and many others. Money has`nt done our ammers much good has it??

  22. Graybo says:

    Supernumbersix has a good point. Is he a good coach? He must have so much knowledge to share, it’s just a question of whether he can put it across or not.

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