He’s gone then. A bit like when you play an unofficial game of “chicken” with the bin men when you overfill the non-recycling bin and leave a separate bag by it to see if they break their own code and take it. You’re watching through the window to see if they will budge, they are eyeing up the bag, you are pensive, they pick it up and chuck it in the lorry! You’ve won!
Now, replace all those bin references with Paul Ince, Dai Yongge, the club etc. Ince rolled the dice too many times with his petulance, arrogance and appalling leadership skills and now he’s paid the price. He’s been sacked. Not left, not resigned, no “mutual consent” crap. He’s. Been. Sacked.
As the losses piled up the excuses ran dry; so too did his supporters. On Easter Monday when asked, incredibly fairly, about his future, he had the absolute audacity to shrug it off, laugh and criticise the question. And this is where mild dislike turns into full-on rage.
Any manager who goes on the kind of run he’s just had would have no qualms about being sacked, probably even welcome it to be honest. But this guy was there, pitchside at Deepdale, chucking the players under any moving vehicle he could find, saying how questions were unfair, criticising youth players and yet again, not taking any form of responsibility for his own behaviour or decision-making. The most hideous form of leadership going.
For me, he’ll go down as the worst manager we’ve ever had. Sure, he’s been at the helm at a very turbulent time, but his behaviour has left the fans in disbelief. We know it’s been bad, we know we haven’t got anywhere near the perfect team, but what we didn’t need was someone popping up every five minutes saying “it’s bad isn’t it, terrible actually”. We needed some leadership, we needed someone to show they cared, we needed someone to battle on and it give it their best. We got none of that from him.
So Paul Ince, my parting message to you, which is full of emotion (something you said you didn’t have yesterday, even though frustration is an emotional response to stress…) is this:
You have made supporting this club much worse than it needed to be the last few months. Your continued need to put yourself above others, criticise our players, lie to us and mock our club has resulted in you losing your job. I hope you learn from this, but I doubt you will. You’ve got your money, you’ve “done” what you think you needed to do and you’ve left us almost rock bottom.
To the club, I still think you’ve acted too late, but at least you’ve done something.
We’ve got five games left to stay in this league. I’m right behind you. Come on Reading!