Now his nephew is making his own early, impressive forays in the Albion first team and the pair speak regularly about their south coast connection.
Rohan told seagulls.co.uk, “As my uncle and also an ex-professional footballer, we speak all the time. Obviously I’m aware of his Brighton career and when I told him I was signing for the club last year, he was really happy for me.
“He told me it was a good club and a good area to live in and that’s certainly been true. I know his nickname was ‘The Ninja’ – thanks to that headband he used to wear – and that he was a favourite of the fans here.
“Hopefully I can go on and have a successful career like he did with the club – that is my target. He’s an accountant these days, doing really well for himself, and he should be coming to watch me soon I hope.”
Ince has also endeared himself to the Albion faithful, with a number of imperious performances this season. It’s been a remarkable rise for the 21-year-old, who was playing under-21 football for the club last season, following his release from Chelsea.
He was recently rewarded with a new long-term contract but admits there is still much more to come from him. “This is my first season with the first-team squad so I know this is only the start really. I’ve obviously been pleased with the progress I’ve made and I’ve enjoyed playing in the Championship, but I don’t take anything for granted.
“I know I’ve got a lot to learn still but I couldn’t be at a better place to develop my career. There are a number of experienced players who all help me, in training and games, and of course Oscar Garcia and the coaching staff are also giving me plenty of help and advice.
“They’ve given me my chance this season and I just want to repay them by putting in good performances.”
Discover much more from Rohan on Seagulls Player.