I'm not blaming them. It is their recruitment on loan and even worse permanently.
We ended up changing the way we play which had a long term negative effect.
The problem was and MM admitted it himself they found it difficult to get cover for Martin as most strikers knew they would be just that...cover.
Now that is forgivable as a loan but they needed to solve that in the summer of 2015 having had more notice and the evidence that Best was awful and Bent didn't link play.
Where would we have finished if we'd bought in some backup which was similar in style to the players we lost?
There's little difference betwen 8th and 12th, you've still missed out on the playoffs - there's more harm in changing your approach for short term gain. If we'd have said farwell to both Ince & Bent after the loans we'd have been better off in the long run.
Signing them permanently was a mistake.
When we did sell Ince the same sort of thing was said "..but where would we be without his goals?", the next season Vydra hit 21 in the league! Whenever Brentford lose one of their 10, 15, 20 goal a season forwards do they ask the same question?
...and then you tell me how they're in any way relevant to Derby County in 2020 under Philip Cocu?
If you don't make yourself Tom Ince FC then you'll get very little out of him, as pretty much every other club aside from us and Blackpool has found out. It's been proven time, and time, and time again but people don't take any notice of that because "...look how many goals he scored here!"
Yeah, great, good for him! I'm glad that all the time we spent prioritising the career of Tom Ince and getting his stats boosted so he could make yet another failed Premier League move was worth the effort. He's clearly thriving now and showing us all what a great player he really is. Surely? He's "Too good for The Championship" after all?
Don't make me laugh. He's an average Championship second striker (for that's where his skill really lies, not on the wing) who needs everything built around him to perform, but unlike Chrs Martin getting the best out of him doesn't result in you getting the best out of others too.
Look how many goals Jordan Rhodes scores (well, used to score), was anyone a better team for his inclusion? Nope, regardless of whatever numbers he got from an individual perspective. I know Wassall managed to get a tune out of Ince without sacrificing the rest of the squad's performances as a result, but that was a minor miracle, and it hasn't been achieved by any other manager before or since.
If you want a team as good as the 2013/14 & first half of 2014/15 Derby County the you use a player like Ince sparingly, someone to supplement the rest of the squad, to mainly use as an impact sub when the main approach of passing the opposition to death with your team play isn't working. It's how we used Bamford and its how we used Ibe, both to great effect.
Switch that around so you build the team's play around the player who "provides something different" and slowly slowly it'll start to go wrong. It happened here and I'd hate for it to happen aagain
We're building something good here, the LAST player we need to sign is Tom Bloody Ince, and his statistics over 3 seasons ago mean diddly squat.
As @sage once said "Ince, Ince will tear us apart again"