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Incey Whingey

Robbo Robson | 12:42 UK time, Monday, 8 December 2008

A lot of attention was focused on Paul Ince at Ewood Park on Saturday.

Incey reminds me of that bloke who'll tell you he's not paranoid 'cos people really are all out to get him. There's a press vendetta apparently against hard-tackling no-nonsense Man U bigmouths who no-one really liked. Get over yourself, Incey.

My mate Tony Thompson, a smarter man than me, says the reason Keane left was that he found himself stuck in a book by a bloke called Kafka. He woke up one morning and discovered he had been transformed into a shy retiring little creature. Quinny didn't want him to scuttle off; the fans didn't want him to go home and lay into his mutts either. Keane walked. He possibly even flounced.

Given that the Black Cats' next three games are against West Brom, Hull and Blackburn, you can see just how thoughtful Roy's been, can't you?

Ince is clearly about as stable as a drunk unicyclist right now. No-one wants him to fail any more than they want Sparky Hughes to nosedive at Eastlands or Steve Bruce to fall flat on his face at Wigan (although for Brucey that could only improve his looks).
Paul Ince
Ince's team did OK on Saturday and the fans were great for him. The only thing that's ever needled me about Ince was this nickname 'The Guvnor' which is fair enough if you're in some poxy lightweight public schoolboy-directed East End gangster flick, but if you're just a hard-working midfield player with a bit of drive it seems to me to be overstating it a tad.

Ince doesn't need to be paranoid though (even if it was a bit cruel of me to send him that ceramic boot in a sack with a little note attached saying 'Needs to be fired as soon as possible'. And I could've avoided addressing it to the Manager Formerly Known As Ince).

He's right - there's been injuries, he's had very little time, it's a steep learning curve and he took over from a bloke who had over-achieved with the players at his disposal. Southgate was in a similar position last season with the Boro and the club stuck with him. Were it not for a fluky deflection and a non-existent penalty kick we'd be....all right we'd only be ninth but that's good for us, OK?

If Blackburn stick with Ince I'm sure they'll get out of the mire. As long as Ince doesn't really start to give any credit to his bunker mentality-fuelled make-believe. It'll be Christmas shortly and I understand that Santa Cruz is coming to town, so they'll survive all right.

And of course it was always going to be hard against the leaders. Or was it? Is it me or are Liverpool the least convincing Premier league leaders of the last 17 years? I just cannot see them winning it. They've not trounced anyone, or played anyone off the park. They wouldn't scare Barnsley this year any more than they did last year.

Their bench is hardly strong either - in fact I'd go so far as to say that as benches go we're looking at a flat-pack jobbie with a few screws missing. The England draft-dodger Carragher is the main reason for their success. Plus the surprisingly good form of Dirk Kuyt (Dutch for journeyman) and Xabi Alonso (who was on his way all over the summer). But Man U will win the whole caboodle again.

The main problem for the big four seems to be winning their home games this season. Sunderland almost survived the siege at Old Trafford and Liverpool and Chelsea have proved rather too easy to resist by teams with far less wit and cash. And Arsenal are about as predictable as a Ronnie O'Sullivan interview. (Apparently Rocket Ronnie has told Gaby Logan that this left hand is like his mistress and his right hand is like his wife...the mind boggles.

But maybe Incey Whingey's worries are less about him and more about the times we're living in. There aren't any dead certs for the drop propping up the table right now. Three bad results and you're deep in the doo-doo.

You look at the table from Pompey downwards and any one of them managers could be giving the Friday press conferences with a wild look in their eye and a load of unjustifiable cack coming from their gobs.

When you support a team like the Boro you start every season identifying them teams that could be underneath you and frankly Bolton, Fulham, Hull, Stoke and Wigan are bloody well letting us down right now. Especially Bolton. How the hell Megson has revived Allardyce's alehouse spirit I'll never know. Soon they'll be having a reality TV show at the Reebok called 'I'm A Creative Midfielder - Get Me Out Of Here!'

Hull City continue to defy the odds, despite Geovanni showing the heading ability of a cross-eyed llama, with fluky own goals and non-existent penalties helping the cause no bleeding end.

Stoke get back from two down at St.James's with a cracking display second half. Thank God me North-East cousins are so concerned for Boro's welfare that they keep cocking up 'n' all.

One thing's for sure - it's already shaping up to be the best Premier League season we've had. More exciting indeed than being Ronnie O'Sullivan's left hand.


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