Player profile

Paul Ince

Birthdate: 21 October 1967
Birthplace: Ilford, England
Other clubs: West Ham United (1981-89), Manchester United (1989-95), Inter Milan (1995-97), Middlesbrough (1999-2002), Wolverhampton Wanderers (2002-06), Swindon Town (2006), Macclesfield Town (2007)
Bought from: Inter Milan
Signed for LFC: £4.2m, 10.07.1997
International debut: 09.09.1992 vs. Spain
International caps: 53/2 (12/0 at LFC) - 20.06.2000
Liverpool debut: 09.08.1997
Last appearance: 16.05.1999
Debut goal: 13.08.1997
Last goal: 16.05.1999
Contract expiry: 30.07.1999
Win ratio: 43.21% W: 35 D: 22 L: 24
Games/goals ratio: 4.76
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 27 / 3
LFC league games/goals: 65 / 14
Total LFC games/goals: 81 / 17

Player profile

Ince played his first game for West Ham in his late-teens and after 93 appearances and 12 goals for the Hammers from 1986-1989, he thought it was time to move when the club was relegated in the 1988/89 season. His pace, stamina, tackling (once claiming: "I love tackling, it's better than sex!") and good passing ability was admired by many teams. His £1 million move to Manchester United infuriated West Ham fans as Ince had been photographed in a United kit before the transfer was complete. He explained what had happened to Four Four Two magazine: "I spoke to Alex Ferguson and the deal was close to being done," Ince said. "I then went on holiday, and my agent at the time, Ambrose Mendy, said it wasn't worth me coming back to do a picture in a United shirt when the deal was completed, so I should do one before I left, and it would be released when the deal was announced. Lawrence Luster of the Daily Star took the picture and put in the library. Soon after, their sister paper, the Daily Express, were looking for a picture of me playing for West Ham, and found the one of me in the United shirt in the pile. They published it and all hell broke loose. I came back from holiday to discover West Ham fans were going mad."

After trophy-laden years at Old Trafford where Ince won the Premier League and FA Cup twice he was transferred to Inter Milan in 1995 in a £7 million move. He made quite a name for himself with his tenacious displays in his two years in Italy where he also scored on a more regular basis than ever in England. Manchester United had first option on him if he ever decided to come back to England. When Ince wanted to go back home in 1997 as he wanted his two sons to be raised in England Alex Ferguson waived his rights to sign the self-called "Guv'nor" and Roy Evans was one happy chappy when he secured his services for Liverpool. His new captain was finally in place ready to take over the reigns from the fading John Barnes in the 1997/98 season. It surprised many to see an ex-United player join Liverpool and Ince admitted it was unusual. "It will be strange walking on to the pitch as a Liverpool player," Ince said. "Normally, when I walk out at Anfield, I get slaughtered." Only Steve McManaman and Michael Owen made more appearances than Ince's 40 in his debut season. Ince was heavily involved again in the 1998/99 season but Roy Evans' once-promising team failed to deliver. Ince's two years at Anfield can probably be considered as neither success nor failure. He had the experience and determination to do well but that was not enough to see his new employers win any silverware. Undoubtedly Ince's sweetest moment in a Liverpool shirt was when he equalised to make it 2-2 in the eighty-ninth minute at Anfield after the Reds had been 2-0 down against Manchester United. Stung by their refusal to re-sign him when he returned from Italy and also hearing the abuse directed at him by United's supporters all throughout the match Ince certainly enjoyed denying United the win and potentially damaging their championship hopes.

Ince's relationship with new manager Gerard Houllier turned sour and he left for Middlesbrough in 1999. He let Phil Thompson and Houllier know in no uncertain terms what he thought of the pair in an interview with the Sunday People following his move. ''I want Houllier to get the sack and take Thompson down with him. If they think people are no longer any use to them they treat those people like dirt," fumed Ince. ''It's disgraceful the way Houllier has treated me and other players at the club. He comes from France and I can't even believe he's managed a team before because he certainly doesn't seem to know how to. It's okay coming out with all this technical stuff about the game but when it comes to managing players off the field as people he certainly doesn't seem to know how to.'' Ince admitted he wanted to cause Houllier physical harm when he announced to him that he wanted him out of the club. ''I thought to myself 'I can't believe I'm hearing this'. And I said to him: 'You've had months to tell me but you decided you were going to do it just before pre-season. I can't believe this - it's total c**p!' I just wanted to punch Houllier in the face. If I was younger I would have. He would have deserved it.'' Steve McMahon jumped to the defence of Houllier and Thompson after Paul Ince's outspoken attack: "Ince should keep his mouth shut and get on with his new job of playing for Boro. Criticising Gerard Houllier was a bad thing for him to go and do. Someone of his experience should know better. It is players like Ince who have got Liverpool into trouble in the first place. Gerard has had a hard job to do at Anfield taking over a poor team and trying to rebuild it. He was right to get rid of Ince and get in Dietmar Hamann."

Ince was captain of Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough for three years in the Premier League and also featured one season with Wolves in the top-flight after promotion in his debut season at Molineux. Ince finished his playing career at Swindon Town, where he was player-coach, and Macclesfield Town, the latter also being the club that gave him his first step on the managerial ladder. In June 2007 Paul Ince was appointed manager of the rapidly-improving Milton Keynes Dons and under his leadership the Dons won the League Two championship as well as the Football League trophy at Wembley. On 22 June 2008 Ince's dream of managing in the Premiership came true at Blackburn Rovers. It was possibly the right club but at the wrong time. He lasted less than six months before being dismissed a few days before Christmas following a truly appalling run of bad results. Ultimately, it wasn't 'another club' that came looking for Ince; it was 'the same club', Milton Keynes Dons, in the summer of 2009. Their manager Roberto di Matteo had been lured away by West Bromwich Albion. Chairman Peter Winkelman's desire that Paul Ince should "build on the momentum he helped create" was very admirable even though it was only a few months after Ince had shown himself incapable of successfully managing a club in a division that was two rungs higher than League One's MK Dons. Although Ince had agreed a two-year deal on his return he left at the end of the first year because of budget cutbacks. On 28 October 2010 Ince returned to football management by signing a three-year deal with League One club Notts County. After five successive League defeats, Ince was sacked in April 2011.

After nearly two years out of active involvement in the game, Paul Ince was appointed to succeed Ian Holloway as manager of Blackpool on 18 February 2013. Fourteen Championship matches remained at the time of his appointment, of which his team won four, drew seven and lost three. Blackpool finished in fifteenth place, a few points above the three relegation places but also well behind the four play-off places.

ince was sacked as Blackpool manager on 21 January 2014 with the Lancashire club lying in 14th place in The Championship, having won only eight of its twenty-six matches in the 2013/14 season. 

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals65367081
1997-1998 31144040
1998-1999 34223041

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
5Tottenham
4Wimbledon
4Sheffield Wednesday
4Manchester United
4Leeds United
4Southampton
4Coventry City
4Newcastle United
4Chelsea
4Blackburn Rovers
4Middlesbrough
4Everton
4Leicester City
3Arsenal
3Aston Villa
3West Ham United
2Nottingham Forest
2Derby
2Bolton Wanderers
2Valencia
2Strasbourg
2Celtic
1Crystal Palace
1Barnsley
1Port Vale
1Grimsby Town
1Kosice
1Fulham
1Charlton Athletic
Total Started/substitutions
81 Started
1 On the bench
Substitute
5 Substituted
TotalCompetition
65Premier League
7UEFA Cup
6League Cup
3FA Cup

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals14111017
1997-1998 800008
1998-1999 611109

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalStarted/substitutions
17Started
0Substitute
TotalCompetition
14Premier League
1UEFA Cup
1FA Cup
1League Cup
TotalGoal minute period
11-15 minutes
316-30 minutes
231-45 minutes
346-60 minutes
461-75 minutes
476-90 minutes
091-120
TotalOpen play/Penalty
17Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
No records to display.

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
109.08.1997WimbledonSelhurst ParkLeague
5020.10.1998ValenciaAnfieldEurope

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
18513.08.1997Leicester CityAnfieldLeague

Related Articles

Ferguson: my regrets over Ince feud

By Andy Hunter at the Guardian on 4 October 2008.More

Ince's dream move

An article from World Soccernet on 23.07.1999.More

Ince leaves Inter for Liverpool

From Reuters on 18th of July 1999.More

Ince swoops to halt United charge

Match report from The Telegraph on Liverpool on 05.05.1999. More

Press Association match report

Match report from Press Association on Liverpool - Blackburn on 29.11.1998. More

Press Association match report

Match report from Press Association on Valencia - Liverpool on 03.11.1998. More

Ince has ferocious swipe at Kop two

Paul Ince is less than complimentary on Liverpool's management duo. From Sunday People on 1st of August 1999.More

Press Association match report

Press Association match report on West Ham United - Liverpool on 27.09.1992.More

Press Association report

Match report from Press Association on Wimbledon - Liverpool on 09.09.1997.More

Related Quotes

"I want Houllier to get the sack and take Thompson down with him. It's disgraceful the way Houllier has treated me and other players at the club. He comes from France and I can't even believe he's managed a team before because he certainly doesn't seem to know how to. It's okay coming out with all this technical stuff about the game but when it comes to managing players off the field as people he certainly doesn't seem to know how to."

Ince in 1999

"I thought to myself 'I can't believe I'm hearing this'. And I said to him: 'You've had months to tell me but you decided you were going to do it just before pre-season. I can't believe this - it's total crap! I just wanted to punch Houllier in the face. If I was younger I would have. He would have deserved it."

Ince wasn't happy when Houllier told him to leave Liverpool

"I love tackling, it's better than sex!"

Paul Ince

"Ince should keep his mouth shut and get on with his new job of playing for Boro. Criticising Gerard Houllier was a bad thing for him to go and do. Someone of his experience should know better. It is players like Ince who have got Liverpool into trouble in the first place. Gerard has had a hard job to do at Anfield taking over a poor team and trying to rebuild it. He was right to get rid of Ince and get in Dietmar Hamann."

Steve McMahon jumped to the defence of Houllier and Phil Thompson after Paul Ince's outspoken attack

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
1997-1998 17 Midfielder
1998-1999 17 Midfielder
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

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