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Premier League Forgotten Managers: Paul Ince

This week we delve into the career of another Premier League forgotten manager, Paul Ince, who seemingly made a huge jump into Premier League management. A terrific player on the pitch and a popular pundit, his managerial career certainly didn’t hit the heights of his playing days.

Paul Ince is remembered best for his playing days, bossing the midfield in a tenacious manner for clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan. Ince forayed into the tricky minefield that is football management following his retirement, and his time managing a Premier League side was less than successful….

Pre-Premiership Managerial Career

Paul Ince was born in Ilford, South London and spent a great deal of his early career playing in the First Division as it was known then, before the inception of the Premiers League. He took his first steps into football with his boyhood club, West Ham United, before signing for Manchester United in 1989. The move was shrouded in controversy, as Ince had been pictured in a Manchester United kit before the deal had officially gone through.

The East-ender had a successful time at Old Trafford, winning 10 titles including two Premier League trophies, two FA cups and the Football League Cup. However, the feisty midfielder endured a fractured relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, which culminated in a feud after the legendary manager branded Ince a ‘big-time Charlie’. The midfielder swiftly departed the Red Devils after 281 appearances, settling in Milan and signing for Internazionale. The ‘Guv’nor’ spent two seasons in Italy, before returning to his homeland for personal reasons.

Ince returned to England in 1997, signing for Liverpool, fierce rivals of his former club Manchester United. The midfielder developed a knack for finding the net during his two-season spell at Anfield scoring 17 times in 81 appearances. Following his time at Liverpool, Ince signed for Middlesbrough, before playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Swindon, and Macclesfield Town.

Ince entered the world of management with Macclesfield, becoming the Silkmen’s player-manager in 2006. Ince pulled off a great escape with Macclesfield, saving them from relegation. He then moved to the controversial MK Dons, enjoying a successful period which resulted in him being linked with a number of jobs at clubs in higher divisions.

Time in the Premier League as a Manager

Paul Ince was appointed manager of Blackburn Rovers in 2008 but lasted a paltry 177 days. During his 6-month spell In charge, Ince managed just to win just 6 times, ensuring he did not go down as being one of the great Premier League managers. However, on his appointment to the role at Rovers he did become the first ever black manager to manage a Premier League side.

Life After the Prem

Ince dabbled in a few more managerial roles following his Blackburn dismissal. This included a return to MK Dons but he was unable to replicate the win rate he enjoyed before his move to the Premier League. Ince then found himself in Nottingham for a year at Notts County, before being appointed manager of Blackpool in the Championship in 2013. Under Ince’s reign Blackpool made their best ever start to a league campaign, but the form deteriorated and Ince was allegedly sacked via text message by the controversial Karl Oyston.

Having not managed since his time with the Seasiders, Ince has turned his hand to punditry, regularly appearing on Premier League football shows. His son; Tom who he managed at Notts County and Blackpool, eventually followed in his fathers’ footsteps and became a Premier League player, turning out for Crystal Palace, Hull and Huddersfield in the top flight. The winger is now plying his trade in the Championship with Stoke City.

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