It makes me WInce

Fan phone-ins are proving damaging

Last updated: 14th December 2008  

It makes me WInce

Holt: clubs are twitchy

We waited for an awful long time to get a British-born black manager, a mixed-race manager, into the Premier League and there is almost an undue haste with which he is being driven out.

Oliver Holt
Quotes of the week

Under-pressure Blackburn boss Paul Ince is being pushed out of his job by "colour-driven" criticism, Oliver Holt told the Sunday Supplement.

The former Manchester United and England midfielder has only days left at Rovers according to some reports after a disappointing run of results.

Speaking at a press conference earlier this week Ince claimed "people are out to get us" and Holt, chief sports writer of the Daily Mirror, agrees.

"I do think it is absurd that a new manager like Paul Ince who has a very promising record, albeit with Macclesfield and Milton Keynes Dons, did what we all want people to do and started at the bottom and was a tremendous success," said Holt.

"It's absurd that he is supposed to be 48 hours from the sack. I understand why clubs are so twitchy - you only have to look at Charlton Athletic, who were a very well-run club for a long period of time but are now bottom of the Championship. The fall can be very quick.

"I do think some of the criticism of Ince, and I'm not talking about journalists here, is colour-driven. I think we waited for an awful long time to get a British-born black manager, a mixed-race manager, into the Premier League and there is almost an undue haste with which he is being driven out.

"I am talking about callers to phone-ins and message boards and I think that some of that is underlining this discussion about Ince. For instance, Roy Keane was not under the pressure that Paul Ince is under."

Racism

Matt Dickinson, of the Times, added: "It would be daft to think that there aren't still pockets of racism in the game but equally I thought that when Ince was appointed I thought there were a lot of good vibes.

"That actually obscured the fact that it is absurd that clubs are appointing 38-year-old managers with minimal experience. Ince had never managed above League Two. How does that equip you necessarily to take on a very difficult job at Blackburn?

"Gareth Southgate is having to learn on the job at Middlesbrough. Luckily for him he's got a patient chairman in Steve Gibson. We are the only country that appoints 38, 39, 40-year-olds into the Premier League.

"The trouble is that Paul Ince will get sacked and because he will have failure stamped on his CV in big red writing, particularly with a high-profile failure, he'll probably disappear out of the game. The whole system is wrong."

In contrast, Holt backed Ince to prove he can cut it at the top level in the future.

"We bemoan the absence of good English managers for the England job but we are about to drum Paul Ince out of the game and set his career back a couple of years until he rebuilds it, which I have no doubt he will, by the way," he said.

"I still think he showed enough in what he did at those League Two clubs to show that he has got what it takes. We are not giving these people a chance."

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