Things aren’t going according to plan for Paul at the moment. (©PAphotos)
by Paula Finn
, read by 124 people.
Everyone takes some time to settle into a new job; from just the simple change of making a different journey to work, all the way through to the complexities of adjusting to a new workload and adapting to the personalities of new colleagues.
For some it takes a few months to become familiar with a new environment, while others seem to make the transition seamlessly.
However, I think the entire process is a lot more difficult if you are coming into a new job in a position of authority, as a ‘boss’. You not only have to adapt, but, by definition of your job title, you have to impose yourself and your ideas on other people, some of whom may not be very receptive to this, at least initially, and may be scared of change.
You may also find that the performance levels of your staff take a dip, as they come to terms with implementing your new processes.
This seems to be the position in which Paul Ince currently finds himself. In the few short weeks since he and his assistant Alex Rae took over at Notts County, the pair have been drilling the Magpies’ players in their own brand of tactics on the training ground, trying to sharpen up at both ends of the pitch, improve set pieces and to help their charges adapt to a certain style of play.
One facet of this is to play with his defence higher up the pitch, in order to give the opposition less space to play in. This is a strategy that will take time for the players involved to put into effective practice, and until they can do this, they run the risk of leaving themselves exposed, particularly if they lack pace.
It certainly does not seem to be working as yet, as Notts have now lost the opening three league games of his reign, and find themselves firmly in the relegation zone in desperate need of a few consecutive clean sheets to boost both player confidence and points total.
Hopefully, new signing Sam Sodje will add pace at the back when he is fully fit, and Ince may look to bring in some new players to maximise the chances of his system working properly.
He has certainly hinted as much, saying: “The way I want us to play is not the way we are playing at the moment, but we do lack a bit of quality.” He added: "We are talking about building a team and it doesn't happen after four or five weeks. The only time you build a team is when you get eight or nine players out and eight or nine of your own players in, then you can be judged. Until then you can't be judged."
Regardless of that pronouncement from Ince, the Notts fans are already drawing their own conclusions. Most acknowledge that Ince was a controversial choice, and realise that he was bound to want his own team and a change in tactics, but beyond this opinion is divided.
Some accept that it will take time for the players to become accustomed to Ince’s methods and for things to ‘gel’. They believe that the new manager is trying to bring in quality players to improve on last season’s squad, as some of Craig Short’s acquisitions have fallen short of the standard required in League One, and insist that any new manager would find it difficult in such circumstances.
However, other County supporters think that last season’s championship winning players were more than capable of holding their own at their new, elevated level, and that Ince does not need to build a team. One fan very eloquently summed up his or her own thoughts on Ince’s attempted rebuilding of the current squad thus: “You don't knock the house down and build a new one to fix a creaking floorboard.”
After Craig Short’s shock dismissal, I’m sure that most Notts supporters are at least willing to give Ince a chance to put his stamp on the side, at least for now. However, if the Magpies are still struggling as 2011 rolls in, then questions will certainly be asked of the manager’s ability to ensure League One safety for his team this season. That’s how it is in football. Fortunately for the rest of us, we are given more than a few months to come to grips with a new job.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.