Blog originally published on August 8...
My old mate Paul Ince has already been on the receiving end of some stick, even before his first season in charge at Blackburn has started. Apparently he's too egotistical and his training methods are out-dated for the Premier League.
Before leaving for Spurs, David Bentley reportedly walked out on one of Paul's training sessions because he was ordered to do 20 press-ups for crossing his arms.
I don't agree with Bentley's reaction, but Paul's been out of the Premier League for a long time and perhaps he has to realise that the top flight has changed a little since he was last there. Players have to be treated differently now - it's all about man management these days.
Top flight footballers are an altogether different breed now and they are certainly not as mentally strong as they used to be.
Like it or not, there is definitely a sentiment that elite players should not be treated in such a way and with players increasingly calling the shots in the modern game, more often than not a softly-softly approach has to be adopted when dealing with them.
Paul has clearly implemented his traditional methods to good effect in the lower leagues - first with Macclesfield and then with MK Dons - but having now reached the top flight, he cannot expect those same methods to continue working with established Premier League players.
Paul has to be careful, not least because he is so stubborn and single-minded. That was what made him such an unbelievable player, but as a manager he may have to adapt.
But such is his nature, he'll only change when he's good and ready - and not before.
I only hope he does not go the way of other managers who employed their rugged approach to management to great success in the lower divisions, only to find it tough when dealing with international players and bigger egos in the leagues above.
The name of Martin Allen springs to mind - he did extremely well at Barnet, Brentford and MK Dons but spectacularly failed to make the grade in the Championship with Leicester.
Paul has to make sure he talks to people and listen to their ideas - he cannot afford to be blinkered in his approach. As some stage, he may have to eat a slice of humble pie and admit his methods are not entirely appropriate for the Premier League.
But Paul is a big man, so I expect him to do just that.
Managers rarely get more than one crack of the whip in the top flight and Paul will have to put himself in a position where he can get the best out of his players if he is to succeed at Ewood Park.
If not, it could well turn out to be a brief return to the top flight for him.