In the wake of Sam Allardyce being named Paul Ince’s replacement at Blackburn (3-0 victors over Stoke earlier today), The Guardian’s Russell Brand admits of the latter, “far more likely than the visual articulation of a ridiculous pun, is that Ince’s charisma and impressive career as a player were what got him the job.” Still, that doesn’t stop Brand from proposing an alternative explanation.
Intuitively Allardyce and Blackburn seems like a good match, Blackburn’s current beleaguered position and Allardyce’s well-known adherence to technical discipline and tactical rigidity ought to complement each other well for a relegation dogfight. Intuition is usually reliable, I think, with managerial appointments “ Paul Ince never felt right for Blackburn. I wasn’t especially comfortable with the Premiership’s first British, black manager being made boss of a club with “black” as its first syllable. I worried that it was an influential factor ” “We’re called Blackburn, he is black, let’s just let nature take its course.”
It is remarkable that Ince was signed at Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson, who has remained immovable (as immovable as the premature image of Ince in a red shirt) across the tumbling decades and, even then, was dominating the top flight and manipulating all before him.
His former charges Roy Keane and Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes and Paul Ince, they come and they go, but Ferguson abides. Even today Ferguson is swatting gadfly rumours from Madrid that Cristiano Ronaldo is to join them in the summer ” “I wouldn’t sell them a virus” he spat with his customary acerbic brevity. If Real Madrid were in the business of trying to recruit a virus that would be grim news for European football and the world in general as it could surely only be an indication that RamÃ³n CalderÃ³n had elected to become a cackling super villain whose objectives reach far beyond unsettling young footballers and into the realm of global domination through germ warfare.
Perhaps the reign of Sir Alex will comprise the career of further players, perhaps he will one day pit his wits against Wayne Rooney or Nani; like the perpetual moon he has observed all the scuttling and tomfoolery from above. Unlike the moon he often sticks his oar in and manipulates the situation to his advantage, though the moon does govern all from the tides to the menstrual cycle of every woman who’s ever broken my heart so perhaps the analogy is consistent.