League Insider - Paul Ince
Chris Burton looks at Paul Ince's managerial rise and fall following his exit at Notts County.
Last Updated: 11/04/11 11:49am
In the summer of 2008, Paul Ince was touted as the next big thing in English management.
A man who had reached the very top of the game as a player was tipped to tread a similar path as a coach.
In truth, there was little to back up such high praise, with the former Manchester United, Liverpool and England midfielder having only officially hung up his boots 12 months earlier.
His coaching CV consisted of a short-lived spell as a player-coach at Swindon, a one-season stint as player-manager at Macclesfield and 12 months with the MK Dons.
Admittedly during that time he had overseen a successful survival bid by the Silkmen and guided the Dons to the League Two title, but those achievements were secured in the fourth tier.
He was, however, identified by Premier League Blackburn Rovers as the man most suited to filling the void created by Mark Hughes' defection to Manchester City.
Ince made history by becoming the first black British manager in the top flight and was held up as a role model to others, proving that persistence and ability will be rewarded.
Unfortunately, his tenure at Ewood Park lasted just 177 days, during which time he won only three of 17 fixtures.
His reputation took quite a pummelling, with many believing that he had made the jump up into a top job too soon.
Yes, he had cut his teeth in the lower leagues, which is always advisable, but he was still lacking the kind of experience required to mix it with the Sir Alex Fergusons and Arsene Wengers of this world.
Ince probably accepted as much, despite protesting at the time that events outside of his control had led to his demise at Blackburn.
He subsequently, after eight months out of the game, returned to Milton Keynes in July 2009, with the Dons happy to welcome him back for a second spell.
Again, though, Ince was unable to work his magic and he opted to walk away from the club just 12 months into a two-year deal.
Notts County came calling in October 2010, with the ambitious Magpies hoping a big-name in the dugout would help them to fulfil their potential and make a major impact in League One.
Less than six months later County handed Ince his P45, with a five-match losing sequence proving to be the final straw for an impatient Meadow Lane board.
Having left the club on 3rd April 2011, in the space of a little under three years Ince had gone through three clubs and taken a step backwards on each occasion.
His unveiling at Blackburn and the hype which greeted that appointment now seems like a lifetime ago, with the bright lights of the Premier League having faded into a dull glow.
Ince's next move is looking like it could be vital if he is to ever scale such lofty heights again.
There will be no shortage of takers for a man who holds such a considerable standing in the game, and he still boasts the same win-at-all-costs mentality which made him a global superstar during his playing days.
He is, however, finding that the transition from combative midfielder to tactical genius is not as easy as it looks, with his early promise having evaporated around him.
They do say what goes up must come down, and Ince must ensure that his fall from grace does not see him continue to tumble down football's slippery slope.