Hughton goes - and then there were none

Chris Hughton's sacking last week means there are no black managers in the top flight

Chris Hughton's sacking last week means there are no black managers in the top flight

First published in Sport

Chris Hughton was sacked as manager of Norwich City on Sunday, and with five games to go it seems a very harsh and strange decision.

Yes, we can talk about the sacking, about the bad timing of it and what a strange decision it seemed.

But for me, his dismissal brought to the surface something more important – the severe shortage of black managers in English football.

While Hughton’s departure had nothing to do with race, it certainly lit up a problem at a managerial level in the English game.

Around 25 per cent of players in the Football League are black, but now there are no black managers, which is a shocking statistic, in my opinion.

You will have to go down as far as the Conference to find former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Phil Babb, old Crazy Gang striker Marcus Gayle and my former Chelsea teammate Frank Sinclair, who are the highest-placed black managers plying their trade.

Again, I am not suggesting people are being fired because of their race, but I certainly think they are not being hired because of it.

Is there any way to prove or disprove that theory? Well, not unless people openly admit it.

But there is a way to give everyone an opportunity to help change things.

The NFL in America have the ‘Rooney Rule’, which has nothing to do with Wayne Rooney, but states that all teams MUST interview qualified non-white candidates for jobs.

This is not yet in place in English football and I don’t understand why. There have been so many campaigns about race and how we want to move the game forward, but something as vital as this is not in use.

Ex-players are trying to do something about the lack of opportunities for black players.

Last week, former West Brom and Derby defender Darren Moore and ex-Wigan and Reading striker Jason Roberts helped to set up a course called ‘On Board’ with the PFA.

The scheme helps black players or those from ethnic minorities to get the necessary qualifications to apply for roles inside the boardroom.

Former players like Eddie Newton, Les Ferdinand, Nathan Blake and Michael Johnson, to name a few, all qualified from this course last week. And I hope all of them make an immediate impact.

In the 70’s, black players like Cyrille Regis, Viv Anderson, Brendan Batson and Laurie Cunningham broke down racial barriers so that black players like myself could play with freedom and equality.

It seems the current crop of black managers in the Conference are having to do the same so that the next generation can come through and compete equally for the same jobs.

On February 4, 2007, the Chicago Bears faced Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Super Bowl 41 in Miami. There was only one guarantee prior to kick-off – that a black coach would lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Head coaches Lovie Smith (Bears) and Tony Dungy (Colts) wrote their name in the history books by becoming the first two black head coaches to reach the Super Bowl.

I wonder if I will ever see two black managers lead out teams in an FA Cup final? It doesn’t seem likely, but right now I would just be happy to see a few more black managers on the touchlines.

Comments (7)

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8:18am Thu 10 Apr 14

Horns24 says...

I have spoken to a few former black managers on this subject such as Luther blissett and i still genuinely don't see it as an issue. Why does it matter what the colour of your skin is? It should simply be the most suitable and qualified person for the job. I struggle to believe that there are many chairman about who won't consider a candidate just because they are black
I have spoken to a few former black managers on this subject such as Luther blissett and i still genuinely don't see it as an issue. Why does it matter what the colour of your skin is? It should simply be the most suitable and qualified person for the job. I struggle to believe that there are many chairman about who won't consider a candidate just because they are black Horns24
  • Score: 11

8:27am Thu 10 Apr 14

jakrpp says...

As a fan whom only has the papers to rely upon to know who's applying for and interested in managers jobs, it's rare that I see any former black player saying he's interested in a job. I've already seen Hoddle and Sherwood throw their hat in the ring for the Spurs role but have heard nothing about Les Ferdinand who by your account has just qualified and as a former Spurs player should surely be considered. So why nothing from Sir Les? Is it a case of there being no black applicants with former black players moving into other avenues? I honestly don't know and would be interested to know your thought.
As a fan whom only has the papers to rely upon to know who's applying for and interested in managers jobs, it's rare that I see any former black player saying he's interested in a job. I've already seen Hoddle and Sherwood throw their hat in the ring for the Spurs role but have heard nothing about Les Ferdinand who by your account has just qualified and as a former Spurs player should surely be considered. So why nothing from Sir Les? Is it a case of there being no black applicants with former black players moving into other avenues? I honestly don't know and would be interested to know your thought. jakrpp
  • Score: 4

8:42am Thu 10 Apr 14

Open your eyes says...

Maybe not front-line managers, but Chris Ramsey at Spurs is conveniently forgotton about by Dubes.

Why hasn't Dubes wanted to be a manager? He should take note of his comments and do something about it.
Maybe not front-line managers, but Chris Ramsey at Spurs is conveniently forgotton about by Dubes. Why hasn't Dubes wanted to be a manager? He should take note of his comments and do something about it. Open your eyes
  • Score: 5

12:28pm Thu 10 Apr 14

monkey_tennis says...

It has nothing to do with skin colour. The black managers that there have been so far are simply not good enough. Therefore if someone isn't good enough for the job you shouldn't simply give it to them to fill a quota or tick a box.

The same argument arises regarding homosexual footballers, with campaigners saying "well if a top class player came out as gay, then it would break down the boundaries and reduce discrimination". Is it not possible that maybe NO top class players are gay, hence why none are coming out?

This box ticking mentality has to stop.
It has nothing to do with skin colour. The black managers that there have been so far are simply not good enough. Therefore if someone isn't good enough for the job you shouldn't simply give it to them to fill a quota or tick a box. The same argument arises regarding homosexual footballers, with campaigners saying "well if a top class player came out as gay, then it would break down the boundaries and reduce discrimination". Is it not possible that maybe NO top class players are gay, hence why none are coming out? This box ticking mentality has to stop. monkey_tennis
  • Score: 5

1:43pm Thu 10 Apr 14

bigchet says...

must agree with monkey tennis ..i believe that club chairmen will appoint the manager that they feel is most likely to take their club forward that they can afford and skin colour is totaly irrelevant. maybe dubes is trying to be a bit contraversial here as was sol campbell when he stated that he would have captained england for ten years if he had been white., even though no one has ever captained england for that that length of time. seems to me to be a case of over inflated ego and would be better spent addressing the real problems in the game ,namely that premier players can earn their inflated wages whilst old established clubs like hereford are fighting for their very survival.
must agree with monkey tennis ..i believe that club chairmen will appoint the manager that they feel is most likely to take their club forward that they can afford and skin colour is totaly irrelevant. maybe dubes is trying to be a bit contraversial here as was sol campbell when he stated that he would have captained england for ten years if he had been white., even though no one has ever captained england for that that length of time. seems to me to be a case of over inflated ego and would be better spent addressing the real problems in the game ,namely that premier players can earn their inflated wages whilst old established clubs like hereford are fighting for their very survival. bigchet
  • Score: 5

8:17pm Thu 10 Apr 14

YellowRose says...

Did Duberry apply for the vacancy at Oxford United? It could have been a start for his managerial career. Maybe too much like hard work!
Did Duberry apply for the vacancy at Oxford United? It could have been a start for his managerial career. Maybe too much like hard work! YellowRose
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Brenda Jackson says...

These sort of statements do nothing to enhance a persons stature, 'Dubes' is clearly trying just a little too hard to be controversial.
And I would be very surprised if he actually believed what he's saying here.

Where do you stop at having 'Quotas' in any situation, and in this instance- you might argue that there's no Chinese, Japanese, no Outer Mongolians, No French Guyana's, Brummies with ginger hair, etc etc etc etc in management!!!
As already suggested, come on Dubes let's see you go into management, or is it easier scribing for a local rag where they let you have a dig at anyone and anything from the comfort of your keyboard. You're better than that, are you not?
These sort of statements do nothing to enhance a persons stature, 'Dubes' is clearly trying just a little too hard to be controversial. And I would be very surprised if he actually believed what he's saying here. Where do you stop at having 'Quotas' in any situation, and in this instance- you might argue that there's no Chinese, Japanese, no Outer Mongolians, No French Guyana's, Brummies with ginger hair, etc etc etc etc in management!!! As already suggested, come on Dubes let's see you go into management, or is it easier scribing for a local rag where they let you have a dig at anyone and anything from the comfort of your keyboard. You're better than that, are you not? Brenda Jackson
  • Score: 0

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