A Message to the Blackburn Board: Six Months Later, What's Changed?

Alex StampCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2008

As I write, Sky Sports News is constantly flashing up with speculation about Paul Ince's future as manager, the speculation and mystery surrounding a board meeting is building up into a media frenzy which will peak once Ince's sacking by the Blackburn board is announced...how sad.

Let us ignore for the fact that Ince is one of the finest young British managers currently in the league system.

That upon being appointed he was being hailed as a pioneer, the first British-born Black manager in the Premiership.

The fact that he was being asked to take over at a club who had grossly over-achieved under their previous manager.

The fact that Ince is still by and large managing a team built by someone else, and finally that the board themselves at Blackburn were taking a risk themselves by appointing someone with no experience of managing at the highest level.

The brutal truth is that Ince has been charge of Blackburn for less than 6 months, under half a year, and has only been in charge of Blackburn for 17 top flight matches, and yet now his job is seemingly hanging by a thread.

If this course of action was being speculated at a purely business level by the Blackburn board six months ago, then do you think they would they have proceeded with the appointment? Appointing someone but then only giving him six months to prove himself? No.

It seems almost ludicrous that they would sack a manager after such a short space of time, and at times like these you do have to ask what has changed in six months? What has changed so drastically in the manager that has made him the wrong appointment six months later?

Has anything changed that has made Ince a bad manager in the eyes of the board? And specifically, what about him has changed in six months that it is now being said that he could be replaced by managerial luminaries like Sam Allardyce and Graeme Souness, while six months ago he was chosen above all other candidates?

Ince, undoubtedly is suffering for results, six defeats on the bounce is bad for any manager, but a look at the fixtures coming up shows that they have matches against Stoke and Sunderland coming up-winnable matches against teams in the bottom half of the table.

And if this season’s Premiership has shown anything, it is what a couple of good results can do, look at Bolton, relegation candidates earlier this season, a few wins on the trot and they are suddenly looking like one of the more upwardly mobile teams in the lower reaches of the league.

But whether Ince is given time is another question. With the January transfer window looming, the board are in a stick or twist situation, stick with the man they appointed six months ago and back him in the transfer window, or twist in the hope of improving results - a new manager who may or may not succeed in achieving better results than Ince. 

At a time like this, any manager needs backing, history tells us that if managers are given time then results can improve-it is simply a matter of patience.

But for board members looking nervously at the relegation trapdoor, remembering just why they appointed Ince in the first place will hardly be at the forefront of their minds.

So a message to the Blackburn board: just what has changed in six months? Has Ince really become the wrong man? Or are the pressures of relegation making it harder to remember just what it was that made you appoint him in the first place?