Ince has Blackpool back on track

Blackpool FanZoner Adam Ogden hails the job Paul Ince has done in his short time in charge and is feeling positive about the future.

Last Updated: 10/05/13 at 15:45 Post Comment

Paul Ince: Has steadied the ship at Blackpool

Paul Ince: Has steadied the ship at Blackpool

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Thank goodness that's over.

It seemed to last a lifetime but 46 games and three managers later, our season is thankfully at an end.

I seem to be mentioning it a lot in my blogs this year, but it still is amazing to think how rosy everything was back in September as Ian Holloway's Tangerine Army were coasting at the top of the league.

To say we then hit a bump in the road would be an understatement. It was more like Ben Nevis.

First off, Ian 'messiah' Holloway swanned away to Crystal Palace for a fresh start before his replacement Michael Appleton wasted no time in jumping ship too, leaving after just eight weeks to a lucrative yet doomed cash cow...I mean job, at Blackburn.

It left our club, fans and players, in the words of our dear chairman (more about him later), "rudderless".

In the meantime, the club had plummeted down the league. They were still in with a chance of leaving the Championship, albeit the wrong way.

The quest for a third manager in just over as many months was futile, and eventually we arrived at what seemingly was our ninth choice manager, and star player's dad, in Paul Ince.

For me, Ince Snr was a bit of a last resort. After being turned down by a couple of other options, the need to add stability to the club meant that someone had to be installed quickly without any more humps in the road.

Ince was not only cheap and out of demand, but having watched Tom for the last 18 months, already knew what he was letting himself in for.

But, from an underwhelming start, I have to admit he's done well. I said in my last blog that his first job would be staying clear of relegation, and he's got a big juicy tick on his CV there.

Within days of joining the club, the defence was finally tightening (barring a one-off thumping at Brighton) and we eked out the wins, draws and clean sheets needed to see us settle comfortably into mid-table, one game ahead of schedule.

It's in May that many football writers will give players and clubs an academic grading based on their performance. While it would be cruel to rate the manager after so few games, I think it's completely fair to say that, this season, Blackpool FC have well and truly failed.

With a squad full of Premier League potential, and a league as inconsistent as Wayne Rooney's loyalty, we'd only have had to play at 70% this season to make the play-offs. Look at teams like Leicester and Holloway's Palace - despite a terrible end to season and points dropped galore, they still managed to make it into the top six.

Given the potential, finishing 15th in the league is a poor achievement. Couple that with the managerial turbulence and a pig sty of a pitch, fans were on the brink of voting with their feet. Many, myself included, were contemplating not renewing their season tickets.

And then, in one of the best moves of the year, Karl Oyston came out and slashed the prices by almost half.

It really was a good job that the prices were halved, otherwise the only thing at 50% would have been the attendances. Moreover, it showed a much appreciated stroke of common sense from the chairman and supporters association, especially when many were wavering over shelling out £400 for another year like the previous.

Finally, it has meant that despite all the recent turmoil, Pool head into the summer break with a bit of positivity.

The next job for Ince to do during the off-season is to trim down the mammoth sized squad that Ollie left him with. By August last year we were already up to signing our f40th squad member, as well as many more youngsters who would never reach the first (or even development) teams.

Holloway was to stable first teams what Nigel Farage is to eating a escargot with paella and a bottle of Kronenbourg. Thankfully, Ince has a much better idea of his best players and how a consistent team is more productive, meaning that he is already well on with reducing the number of players on our books.

His next job is to keep hold of our out of contract star players. While some, namely Alex Baptiste, are expected to leave, keeping hold of players like Ludo Sylvestre and Kirk Broadfoot will leave us in good stead to start again with another promotion charge in August.

As for our prized possession, questions are bound to be asked about Tom Ince's future. He was three times our best player in the season gone, earned us just under a third of the points we won and, quite rightly, cleaned up at the end of season awards.

If anybody is able to keep him playing in Tangerine next year, then it should be his dad. If Paul can beat off the admirers and get him to stay at Bloomfield Road for next season, and sign a new contract ahead of it running out next year, then he will already be off to a flyer.

Onwards and upwards.

Up the Pool.

Follow Adam on Twitter at @acogden - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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