Sport: Where are all the Black Football Managers?

John Barnes
Sport: Where are all the Black Football Managers?
The lack of black football managers is an important aspect of racism often overlooked in the beautiful game, argues Michael Osiyale.

It’s no secret that football has a racism problem. Led in recent weeks, thanks in part to the efforts of Man City and England starlet Raheem Sterling, and a number of unsavoury incidents from fans across Europe, racism from fans in the terraces has come under increasing scrutiny and interrogation and rightly so.  
And while racism amongst football fans is without doubt a serious issue which requires addressing, one aspects of the beautiful game and its intersection with race that rarely receives as much scrutiny is the lack of black managers in football.  

There are currently two both (both mixed-race) managers in the premiership - Chris Hughton of Brighton and Nuno Espirito at Wolves. The situation is even more dire when one takes a snapshot of the entire football league, where across 92 clubs, the number of black managers, at best, rises to four. This miserly number can by no means be a coincidence.  

Black players have made huge strides since the trailblazing days of Viv Anderson and Cyrille Regis, with black players now making up around a third of players in the top domestic leagues, but despite this football boardrooms at every level of the game seem to reluctant to give opportunities to black managers. The situation is compounded by the precariously insecure nature of employment, with two black coaches, Chris Powell and Darren Moore, sacked by Southend and West  Brown respectively, showcasing that clubs are perhaps excessively trigger happy when it comes to handing what few black managers there are their P45s when results on the pitch dip slightly. 

Whatever the reasons, it is a dire situation that needs addressing. This is perhaps most acutely reflected in recent comments made by Tottenham and England player Danny Rose, who recently stated he will not bother to take coaching  badges because of a lack of opportunity for black managers, showcasing the genesis of a vicious cycle. Whether a ‘Rooney Rule’ type approach is the answer or more simply a deeper interrogation of biases in football, it is clear that action must be taken.