Date:Thursday August 21 2008
The weekend`s victory away at Everton marked what could be a defining moment in the early Blackburn Rovers career of Paul Ince.
Ever since the self-titled Guv`nor - who has now distanced himself from that moniker - took the fast track from League Two to the Premiership via a very brief introduction to League One, he has been quietly going about his business. Well this would have been the case but for the malcontent masquerading as speculation and conjecture, conjured by some quarters of the English press.
Ince would appear to have been the victim of a hate campaign designed to smear his introduction to top-flight management. Baptism of fire is a term that has been banded around copious previews, reviews and descriptions of Ince`s early days in charge of Rovers.
Whilst the majority of the English press don this apt phrase, it is the same people who have created the furore and spurious image of life at Ewood under Ince that lends itself to this popular idiom.
Without hunting down and outing all the sources of these claims of players wanting out, not liking Ince`s approach and creating splinter factions we will never know the absolute truth but I pose the question: who has actually spoken of their discontent of life at Ewood?
I`m yet to hear it. David Bentley always spoke of bettering himself as a player and good look to him whereas Brad Friedel spoke about having an offer he couldn`t refuse. Nothing there of a star player speaking out against Ince.
Further to this Stephen Warnock, who is angling for a move to Newcastle according to some quarters of the press, spoke of his happiness at Rovers only a month ago. Then there is Roque Santa Cruz who is going to approach Rovers to ask for a transfer. Has this happened? No.
The display on Saturday served to give two-fingers to some sections of the press who could be accused of having an agenda that wouldn`t be out of place in football 30 years ago or in Spain.
Why there has been such ill-feeling generated from loose stories and unnamed sources pose some awkward questions that rear the ugly head of a term that has been attached to Ince`s appointment since day one.
Considering how little activity there has been at Ewood - two departures and just three first team acquisitions, two of which are youngsters - the amount of controversy and column inches afforded to Rovers has been surprising.
Ince has even been giving messrs Ronaldo, Adebayor and Barry a run for their money in the press stakes even though his forays into the transfer market have been few and far between.
His appointment was never going to saunter under the radar but this sort of doom-mongering hasn`t greeted a top-flight manager for years.
The jury is still out for Ince as a manager but that is what he should be measured on and he has been vociferous in requesting this from people. People have been meddling in affairs at Ewood this summer, which has seen complete lies published (note the Stephen Warnock transfer request reports) and could have severely harmed preparations for the smallest town club in the Premiership.
Still Saturday spoke volumes of these inaccurate reports as togetherness was on show from the whole team.
I wait with bated breath for the next few games but hopefully the win at Everton and more importantly the team unity on show will help give Ince some respite and quell the malcontent emanating from some sections of the press.
Date:Thursday August 21 2008
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