So wrong that Powell and Curle stand alone
MORE BLACK BOSSES NEEDED IN FOOTBALL
It should be as straightforward as black and white. But sadly when it comes to ethnic ratios in football management the old cliche doesn’t apply. Keith Curle’s appointment as Carlisle boss on Friday, following that of Chris Powell as manager of Huddersfield Town, stand out because it makes them the only black managers among the professional clubs in this country – an imbalance as stark as it is alarming given the number of black players.
Is football racist? The overwhelming evidence suggests not, a football dressing room arguably one of the best examples of where ethnicity actually works. So what is the answer?
The very first sentence in The League Managers’ Association working paper on the subject says:“The LMA is committed to equal opportunities for football managers.” So how come that only some 5 per cent of managers appointed since 1992-93 have been black, while black players account for 25 per cent of players?
The Professional Footballers’ Association statistics show that 18 per cent of the candidates who attend football coaching courses and other qualifications on the pathway to becoming managers are black.
That, of course, is much closer to the ratio of black to white players and Richard Bevan, the LMA’s chief executive writes in the report: “While considerable progress has been made in eradicating racism from football terraces, there is concern football management may be a new glass ceiling that must be broken through.”
The reality is that as of 2013 there have been only 41 appoint- ments of black managers in all leagues and those involved only 23 managers, as a number had more than one post.
Paul Ince leads the field having had five managerial jobs, Curle and Leroy Rosenior have held four, the late Keith Alexander and Chris Hughton three, Tony Collins, Carlton Palmer, Ruud Gullit and Chris Powell have had two. John Barnes, Terry Connor, Chris Kiwomya and Edgar Davids have all had one.
Other, better known names like Viv Anderson, Chris Kamara, Jean Tigana have also become statistics. The concern is that over 65 per cent of black managers have managed only once and not been given another opportunity.
It is five years since Paul Ince told the Evening Standard “There is hardly any racism in English football now.”
Bold words not shared by a number of black coaches seeking a breakthrough into the English leagues.
Only last weekend, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
told The Independent he would have loved the Leeds United job despite owner Massimo Cellino having sacked 38 managers with an average stay of only seven months. Does that not smack of some exasperation? “I don’t want to be judged by the colour of my skin,” Hasselbaink said. “I want to be judged only my ability to do a good job. It is about being the right man on and off the field and that has nothing to do with anything else
“I am an extremely proud black man but I’m not bitter,” and he adds,“I don’t know how many black coaches have applied for jobs, been interviewed and turned down. Even if it was a problem I wouldn’t make it a problem. I can’t do anything about being black and I don’t want to. It is irrelevant.” However, it is now almost 55 years since Tony Collins became the first black manager at Rochdale in 1960. Over half a century and yet as we speak Powell and Curle stand isolated by their colour. Since we now have so many American owners is it time to look again at the Rooney Rule and insist that every short list for a manager’s job has to include an ethnic candidate?
Dire, perhaps, but if board rooms are not be accused of being racist the balance needs to be addressed.
ROLE MODEL: Chris Powell during his time at Charlton