So wrong that Pow­ell and Curle stand alone


The Football League Paper - - STEVE CURRY - Steve Curry GUEST COL­UMN

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.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

ROLE MODEL: Chris Pow­ell dur­ing his time at Charl­ton

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