Playing the race card with managers

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton
(Pictured: Ossie Ardilles manager of Tottenham Hotspurs in the mid-1990s)

The most successful English (British) managers are few. However, by applying their trade to the best of their knowledge have made them to become the most excellent managers. For example, the past gave us Brian Clough, Sir Alf Ramsey, Sir Bobby Robson and Ian Paisely and of course Sir Alex Ferguson (Scottish/British). On the other hand it is no surprise to read that the all-time top most successful twenty managers who represented the premier league are all foreign nationals. Foreign coaches may be commonplace today, but once upon a time they were a novelty on these shores.

The Rooney Rule helps to address the lack of representation of BAME managers in English football – but we have to first face society’s inherent racism. The debate in favour of the FA ruling says that the manager’s position is a “leadership role as much as a technical one, and positions have been given on the strength of personality, character and likeability.”

The Rooney Rule, which requires at least one BAME candidate to be interviewed for every coaching role, is being implemented by the FA but not yet by the Premier League, and only on a voluntary basis by the EFL. There will be those from the institution who will lament the fact that many are introducing race into an issue where race is not an issue, and who will also ignore the data in favour of their own intuition, which tells them that everything is fine and these people are just making trouble. Cynics will tell themselves and also believe that they are the real victims; and the BAME community are the real persecutors. Mostly non-BAMEs will despise organisations like the official Kick It Out movement and the arguments they present. Once again many will decry the BAME’s for playing the race card. However the Independent newspaper has been quoted with the statement “you don’t need to play the race card if you’re already winning the game”. Perhaps being ignorant is one of true facts behind this major issue?

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