Blackburn Rovers Hired Black Paul Ince To Manage Them: Does That Make Them Racist, Oliver Holt?
Oliver Holt looks at Paul Ince, the former West Ham and Manchester United player who became the first English black man to manage a Premier League club when he became boss of Blackburn Rovers:
The lack of black managers in the game is nothing to do with prejudice, they say. It’s because they’d all be as bad as Paul Ince. Ince has heard all the slurs before, of course. He can laugh at them now but there is a tinge of bitterness in the laugh still. The truth, of course, is that the slurs are just another layer of proof that aspiring black managers face barrier after barrier in their fight to make a career in English football. Even if Ince had only turned up a couple of days a week at Blackburn, how would that make him any different from a series of high-profile white managers lauded for their hands-off approach?
But Blackburn only gave him 177 days in the job before they sacked him on December 16, 2008. The club was fourth from bottom.
Who they are Holt does not say. But he might know them. On December 17, 2008, Holt wrote:
I do not believe that Paul Ince was sacked as manager of Blackburn Rovers yesterday because he is of mixed race. He was dismissed because, under his direction, Blackburn have only won three games this season and lie second bottom of the Premier League. He was fired because the Premier League is a panic station manned by more than its fair share of boardroom mediocrities.
But I do believe the odds were stacked against Ince from the start, and that his failure highlights the fact that English football faces serious problems with racial stereotyping, problems which it is not prepared to tackle or even admit to.
So. Is Ince a victim of racism or not, Oliver Holt?