Exec Departure Lounge – Tom Ince
It’s all kicking off in Departures today. Earlier we had this skinny French African guy who has been in passport control for two weeks (we found him by the side of the road a while back but, being honest, we banged him up and forgot he was there) finally bundled onto a plane back to France.
Today there’s all manner of argy bargy at the entrance to the Will Hughes Exec Departure Lounge area. Security have been scuffling with an individual known as “The Guvnor” demanding access for his client. Management can’t be arsed with his moaning anymore so, resplendent in his full box fresh salmon Nike jogging suit, we’ve allowed entry to master Thomas Ince.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t know if I say that Tom has always been a player that has divided opinion at Derby. If you look at his statistics (roughly 52 goals/assists in 97 + 12 sub appearances according to http://www.whoscored.com), which by any standard are off the charts, that seems a crazy thing to say. However, there is no question that many Rams fans never really liked him (plenty sit near us in the East Stand) and were never slow to jump on him when the chips were down.
Despite being a clearly sensational player at championship level, Tom will always carry the burden of his Dad (the now popular terrace ditty explains the situation here best). In addition, he has an unfortunate habit of showing demonstrable frustration when things don’t go his way which, in turn, is often interpreted as him being mardy and spoilt – probably the two traits fans hate most in any player. Particularly when your Dad has already created a massive stigma around you in the first place.
With all this in mind, it’s to his massive credit that he leaves DCFC with pretty much all Derby fans, if even begrudgingly, having to concede what a top player he was. A significant increase in defensive work-rate and a cracking goal against Forest didn’t hurt in this regard, but it’s still bizarre that it’s even a conversation when you consider his clear contribution in a very turbulent period for Derby.
Ince is the sort of footballer whose valuation will go up and down like a yo yo based on form, so after all the talk around Hugheseys fee, we should say that Derby have sold at exactly the right point here and it’s good to see us getting top dollar for our top players. Certainly, back in September under Pearson, Derby would have done very well to get anywhere near the £4.75m we paid Hull.
Personally, I wish him all the best. Whilst I can see why some of his on-field tantrums would be taken the wrong way, my view is this is a very talented player with a massive determination to get to the top of his profession (witness his waiver of £1m bonus to get his move through) which occasionally boiled over (not surprising when you consider some of the numptys he’s had to play with). Tom always spoke well, showed respect for our club, scored some sensational goals and was a player I was always happy to pay to watch.
Park your emotions and take it from me, we will miss him a lot more than Hughesey.
Good Luck Superstar – Hope you smash it!