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EXCLUSIVE: Edwards & Knox on Ince, West Ham & THAT Man Utd shirt snap

Former Manchester United assistant Archie Knox has lifted the lid on the Paul Ince newspaper fiasco.

The former England international was famously pictured wearing a Manchester United while he was still under contract at West Ham United. The picture appeared in the Daily Express and made Hammers fans furious, to the point that some still boo his son Tom, who plays for Huddersfield Town.

Ince recounted his side of the story to FourFourTwo: "I spoke to Alex Ferguson and the deal was close to being done. I then went on holiday, and my agent at the time, Ambrose Mendy, said it wasn't worth me coming back to do a picture in a United shirt when the deal was completed, so I should do one before I left, and it would be released when the deal was announced.

"Lawrence Luster of the Daily Star took the picture and put in the library. Soon after, their sister paper, the Daily Express, were looking for a picture of me playing for West Ham, and found the one of me in the United shirt in the pile.

"They published it and all hell broke loose. "I came back from holiday to discover West Ham fans were going mad. It wasn't really my fault. I was only a kid, I did what my agent told me to do, then took all the crap for it."

Knox was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at the time, and he has spoken fondly about the relationship he developed with Ince in their two years together at the club. However, the Scotsman remembers the drama unfolding differently.

"I can remember the photograph," Knox told Tribal Football. "Whether he was on holiday and maybe somebody said 'look we hear you're going to Man United' and then they've taking one of these photographs and it appears in the national newspapers."

Asked if he was surprised when he saw the photo, Knox said: "Oh God yes. Because you never know what's going to happen. It was quite open at that time that we were interested in taking Ince to Manchester United and he obviously heard of this as well, and this was maybe his or his agents way of promoting the thing."

When asked if he knew that Ince was signing for the club, Knox replied: "No definitely not.

Martin Edwards, who was chairman of United at the time, admits the whole episode infuriated the Hammers support.

He also told Tribal Football:"There's no doubt Paul wanted to join United.

"He was very keen and that was one way that he thought would help him get there a bit quicker, but it certainly upset the West Ham supporters and he made it very unpopular going to West Ham. From his point, it probably wasn't the best thing to do on reflection but I can understand why he did it."

Knox added: "He [Ince] was a confident lad, although it took him a while to settle down coming in and playing alongside the likes of Bryan Robson, Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran and Remy Moses, that type of player, it took him time to settle in the team."

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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