EXCLUSIVE: Lack of black managers shames English football says Sol Campbell
Published 21:00 15/09/11 By Mike McGrath
Sol Campbell believes one day we will look back at this era and think: What on earth was going on with our black managers?
Campbell hopes that, by then, he will be in charge of a club himself, fulfilling an ambition to stay in the game beyond his playing days.
But the former England defender knows the work that has to be done before “institutionalised” attitudes change and more non-white prospects are given the chance to shine.
It starts with opportunities for jobs at the top level, then, gradually, it becomes normal.
For Campbell, it is like his former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger - the manager he wants to emulate - paving the way for other foreign coaches in the Premier League.
“After you start, all of a sudden it becomes the norm,” he said. “Then you look back and think 'What were we doing 10 years ago? What was going on?’
“It’s like the smoking ban. Not so long ago, you could smoke on an aeroplane. Now you wouldn’t dream of it. You say, ‘What were we thinking?’
“With Arsene, how many foreign managers are there in the Premier League now? It’s the norm now.”
Campbell, who was at the House of Commons this week for the 15th anniversary of the Show Racism The Red Card campaign, is passionate about the subject.
It could affect him soon, as he wants to take his UEFA coaching badges when he eventually hangs up his boots.
He still feels he has a few years left as a player and, having left Newcastle after a spell there last season, will be looking for a new club when he recovers from a foot injury.
After retiring, Campbell will consider management but has fears over the landscape for black bosses.
“A lot of successful black footballers have been put off. Why are the opportunities not there?” he said.
“What is the difference between a successful black player and a successful white player? To me, there is no difference apart from perceptions.
“If you look at the careers, there should be half non-white players (managing) in the league. It’s embarrassing. It really is.”
Campbell describes football as “institutionalised“ in attitudes towards black managers.
Nobody is spared when Campbell vents his frustration at the situation - he feels owners and officials need to change.
The FA take pride in having Noel Blake and Hope Powell in senior coaching positions with the England Under-19s and England's women - but Campbell wants to see a Paul Ince in the backroom staff of the senior England team.
“Why aren’t the FA putting things like that forward?” he said. “Why are some of these guys not in and around the England team?”
Campbell reckons Ince being out of work proves something like the Rooney Rule, championed by the Mirror's Open Goal campaign, needs to come in quickly.
He added: “Why the hell is Paul not in work? What? Have you looked at his career? It’s scary.
“If he had the same career in Spain or Italy, he’d be a manager now. Come on, it’s pathetic.”
And if Campbell never gets his chance as manager?
“It would be a sour thing for England,” he said.