We have a saying here at Bad Management (that also makes it seems like this column is a multi-person job but I can assure you its just me) ‘Great players do not always make great managers.’ We have other sayings too like ‘Never appoint John Carver’ and ‘Joe Kinnear is a maniac’ but it is the first saying we will be focusing on today. You see a glittering playing career does not always directly translate to a top tier management career, ask Argentinian fans how Diego Maradona was as national team coach. We are focusing on another manager with a great playing career in Paul Ince and his spell at Blackburn Rovers. It was less than successful.
Paul Ince had an exceptional playing career, winning almost every honour out there with Manchester United and being capped over 50 times by England. His career in management started off fairly modestly with his unveiling as MK Dons boss in June 2007 being a major turning point. Ince got the Dons promoted from League Two and won the Football League Trophy as well establishing himself as a hero in Milton Keynes. So did he stay around help the new club work their way through the leagues? No of course he didn’t and was announced as manager of Premier League Blackburn Rovers in June 2008.
Ince would later complain about a lack of money that led to his dismissal at Blackburn Rovers, which is odd because he did spend over £10 million on players, which was a decent chunk back in 2008. Ince was replacing Mark Hughes who had had a decent spell at Rovers, earning three consecutive top half finishes. Ince did have big shoes to fill but started off relatively well winning four, drawing one and losing two of his opening games. A record of 13 points from seven games is certainly nothing to be sniffed at. It is from here that thing start to take a turn for the worse.
Ince would not win another Premier League game after the end of September. From the remaining 11 games Ince was in charge Rovers would pick up a measly three points. The departure of star winger David Bentley had not helped matters but it became pretty evident that Ince just could not make the step up from League Two to the Premier League in such a short space of time and was consistently outclassed.
The crisis reached a tipping point as fans began to chant for Ince to get the sack, and even former manager Graeme Souness’ name was sung in the stands. Ince was relieved of his duties on 16th December. Big Sam was immediately brought in (because of course he was) and secured a 3-0 win in his very first game before helping Blackburn secure safety. Ince was out and it seems as though he blew his Premier League chance.
Ince would get another crack at MK Dons, but it didn’t go well which is rather similar to his later spell at Blackpool. It appears Ince is a manager that can certainly do a job at League Two level but anything above that and it appears he will struggle. But hey, he’s got 50 England caps, he must be a good manager?