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22.02.2007 Football News

IS FOOTBALL EXCLUDING BLACK BOSSES?

By mygfb-Simon Austin
IS FOOTBALL EXCLUDING BLACK BOSSES?

Garth Crooks says English football should be "ashamed of itself" because of the lack of black coaches and managers in the game.A BBC Sport investigation has revealed that less than 1% of senior coaching staff at Premiership and Football League clubs are black.

"It's shocking that Paul Ince and Keith Curle are the only black managers in the league," BBC reporter Crooks said.

"We can't afford to exclude a whole section of society from coaching."

Crooks, who won two FA Cups and the Uefa Cup with Spurs, is now a football adviser to the Commission for Racial Equality.

He says he had considered a career in management when he finished playing, but a lack of opportunities led to him pursuing a career in the media instead.

"I made the decision a long time ago that I would be better off making a career in broadcasting rather than management," Crooks said.

"I don't see why I should suffer the humiliation of not even getting a reply (to an application)."

Former England striker Les Ferdinand says lack of opportunity is still stopping black players going into coaching.

Although more than 20% of players at the 92 league clubs are black, only two managers - Macclesfield's Ince and Torquay's Curle - are.

"Doing your badges can take five years. Players don't want to give up that amount of time when there's no prospect at the end," Ferdinand told BBC Sport.

"The opportunities are not quite there for black managers at the moment."

Ferdinand, who scored five goals in 17 appearances for England, is currently taking his Uefa B coaching licence and the certificate in applied management at Warwick University.

You don't tend to see black players on the courses," Ferdinand, 40, said.

"Most black players I've spoken to say the reason they don't go into coaching is the lack of opportunity.

"There seems to be the same thinking about black coaches as there was about black players in the 1970s.

"It used to be the case that a manager would look at a black player and think 'he's quick, we'll play him up front or on the wing'. They wouldn't give him a role in the middle.

"I think black coaches are being stereotyped in the same way at the moment. You see black people behind the scenes at football clubs, but not at the helm."

Ferdinand, who worked as a coach at Watford last season, says the circumstances of Roy Keane and Paul Ince illustrate the different ways in which black and white managers are treated.

Both players were combative midfielders who captained their countries and starred for Manchester United during their illustrious careers.

Yet Keane was handed his first managerial opportunity at Championship side Sunderland, while Ince was passed over for the Wolves job before taking the helm at Macclesfield, who were bottom of League Two at the time.

"Roy got a job at Sunderland straight away, and good luck to him," Ferdinand said.

"Paul Ince had a similar status as Roy as a player, yet he gets a job at Macclesfield."

Yet Ferdinand, who scored 382 league goals during his career, says he is determined to pursue a career in management and perhaps become a role model for prospective black coaches.

"I'm doing the badges and getting the qualifications - I want to be prepared," he said.

"I don't want a job because it's the politically correct thing to do. I want it because I'm the best person available."

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