Liberal-minded journalists have been puffing out their chests this week at the thought of a black manager in charge of a Premiership club. The real story in the appointment of Paul Ince was that a guy from the lower leagues had success and was rightfully promoted. This was no irrational grasp for the nearest England legend (for further reading see Bryan Robson’s track record at Middlesbrough, Bradford City, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United).
And so, after reaching the biggest stage of them all, the Premiership (though stadium:mk actually has a larger proposed capacity than Ewood Park), Ince is thinking of how he can possibly improve on the sterling work of his predecessor, Mark Hughes. Replace your most consistent performer of the last eight years, that’s how!
Paul Ince wants Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini as his first signing as Blackburn boss.
He hopes to take the 34-year-old Blues reserve and give him a new lease of life at Ewood park after four years of playing understudy to Petr Cech.
Ince is also keen to put pressure on veteran American Brad Friedel, 38, as he gets to work in his new role as a Premier League boss. [The Sun]
Admittedly, Friedel is in the twilight of his career, so the succession planning has to start sometime. At 34, Cudicini is no spring chicken, but in goalkeeping terms he has years ahead of him. At Euro 2008 you saw some of the top nation’s number one shirts occupied by van der Sar (37), Jens Lehman (38), Gregory Coupet (35) and Gianluigi Buffon (30).
Cudicini is a player whose unquestionable professionalism must make Premiership managers want to tear their hair out. For four years, one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership has been perfectly happy as understudy to the best goalkeeper in the Premiership, Petr Cech. To prise him away from Stamford Bridge would be a real coup for Ince and would surely persuade the likes of David Bentley and Roque Santa Cruz that the club are going in the right direction.
Are Blackburn fans excited at the prospect of such a talented goalkeeper arriving at Ewood Park, or are you wondering what is wrong with the one you have? Is there a risk in signing a player whose has made just under two hundred appearance in a sixteen-year career?