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Page last updated at 07:56 GMT, Friday, 28 March 2008

Ince keen to act as black pioneer

By Russell Barder

Paul Ince
Ince has enjoyed a great start to his managerial career

Johnstone's Paint Trophy final
Sunday, 30 March
Kick-off: 1315 GMT
Coverage on BBC Three Counties, BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Radio 5 Live

Paul Ince is hoping he can inspire a new generation of black football managers in England.

Just two of the 92 English League clubs have black managers; Ince's MK Dons and Keith Alexander at Macclesfield.

But Ince wants to encourage current players like Andy Cole, Sol Campbell and Ledley King to become managers.

"Why not try your hand at management? It can be done and if I can be the yardstick then I've done something good," Ince told BBC Sport.

"I hope I can do something to say to people like Cole, Campbell and King that once they've finished playing football, why go out of it?"

Unlike many of his playing contemporaries, the former West Ham, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Liverpool midfielder started his managerial career at the bottom of the Football League ladder.

A lot of fantastic black footballers that have been in the game have all of a sudden disappeared and gone out of it

Paul Ince

While former Man Utd colleague Roy Keane took the reigns at Sunderland and ex-England team-mate Gareth Southgate started at Middlesbrough, Ince cut his teeth at lowly Macclesfield.

Now in charge of League Two high-flyers MK Dons and with a Wembley final to look forward to, the former England international is at a loss to explain why there are not more black coaches.

"A lot of fantastic black footballers that have been in the game have all of a sudden disappeared and gone out of it," he told BBC Sport ahead of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final on Sunday.

"Maybe they feel they're not really cut out to be a manager, I don't know.

"Years and years ago when I first started playing football at West Ham there weren't many black people playing.

"Then there was one or two who started doing well and all of a sudden there was lots of black people playing football.


"That's great, but I just feel with management somebody has got to do something to show other people that you can manage."

MK Dons have so far managed to fend off reported interest from a host of Premier League and Championship clubs as Ince's stock as a manager has risen.

He guided Macclesfield to safety when they were seven points adrift at the foot of League Two last season and has taken the Dons to top of League Two and the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy against Grimsby after taking over from Martin Allen in the summer.

Ince's assistant Ray Mathias believes Ince's experience of starting from the bottom will serve him well in the future.

"Bill Shankly started at Hartlepool and Brian Clough started lower down as well. You've got to start somewhere," said the former Wigan and Tranmere manager.

"He's played with the best players throughout his career and when he was at Macclesfield he experienced the other part of the game and I'm sure he's learned massively from that.

"The gaffer's a quick learner and he'll be a good boss.

Paul Ince
Ince spent two seasons with Inter Milan after signing in 1995

"Up until now everything has gone quite nicely and I'm just looking forward for him having that experience of taking a team into Wembley in front of a huge crowd."

Ince scoffs at the suggestion he has had it easy given the resources reportedly available to him after the Dons moved into a purpose built 22,000 capacity stadium at the start of the season.

"I'm really looking forward to it, but more so for the city and for the chairman (Pete Winkleman), for all the hard work he has put into the club," he said.

"I know we've got bigger fish to fry and our main priority is getting into the next league, but this is a nice bonus for the players.

"I think that what annoys me more than anything is that people come to this stadium and think he's got all this money to spend.

"I've only spent 100,000 this year. People think 'if Incey's got all the money and all these finances it's no wonder they are where they are'.

If Inter Milan come knocking next year then what am I going to say?

Paul Ince

"But I deserve this chance. Me and Ray worked our socks off at Macclesfield.

"We've worked hard to get here and we'll work a lot harder to get this club to where we want it to be."

As for the future, Ince is honest about his ambitions.

"The chairman is passionate, he wants to take this club as far he can - whether that's the Championship or the Premier League, we don't know.

"All I know is that if we achieve what we can this year then there's no reason why I would want to leave Milton Keynes.

"But at the end of the day if Inter Milan come knocking next year then what am I going to say? It's not hard to work that one out! But I'm looking at the future at Milton Keynes."

see also
Grimsby v MK Dons
28 Mar 08 |  Football
Buckley savours Wembley hat-trick
27 Mar 08 |  Grimsby Town
The footballing Black List
24 Mar 08 |  Football
Boss Alexander glad to be back
05 Mar 08 |  Macclesfield Town
We deserve Wembley trip - Mathias
26 Feb 08 |  Milton Keynes
MK Dons 0-1 Swansea (agg 1-1)
25 Feb 08 |  Football
Swansea 0-1 MK Dons
19 Feb 08 |  Football
Football 'excluding' black bosses
22 Feb 07 |  Football
Focus: Football's black mark
22 Feb 07 |  Football
Anderson calls for more black coaches
16 Jun 03 |  World Football

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