Former Newcastle Manager Chris Hughton picked up an award at this week’s Black List Awards, in recognition of his management/coaching achievements.
It seems remarkable in this day and age and with the cosmopolitan nature of English football, particularly in terms of Premier League players, that there are only three black first team managers out of all 92 league clubs.
The Black List awards celebrate African and Caribbean achievement in the British game and Chris Hughton was joined at the event by another former Newcastle star man.
Andy Cole was brilliant for Newcastle United after the inspirational signing by Kevin Keegan, helping United to promotion and then firing NUFC to third place in their first Premier League season, he picked up the ‘Graham Alexander Award’ at the event.
“There is no doubt that the balances are not right.
“It is going to be about talking around the table as much as possible, highlighting it as much as possible, looking to see change.
“Where I have seen change is at grassroots level and academy level.
“I think everybody wants to see that at first-team level up through the leagues.
“I do think there is a real enthusiasm to want change.”
In June 2016, the Football League clubs approved proposals to introduce an American style ‘Rooney Rule’ for all academy jobs, in an attempt to increase the number of black and ethnic minority coaches.
What this meant was that clubs must now include at least one suitably qualified BME (black and minority ethnic) candidate on the interview shortlist, if such an application is received.
In addition to that, 10 of the 72 EFL clubs volunteered to run a similar scheme in their first-team recruitment process during this current 2016-17 season.
With both Chris Hughton and Ruud Gullit having managed Newcastle United, I don’t ever remember the colour of their skin even being remarked upon by Newcastle fans.
Only the fact that Gullit was useless and Hughton a class act was important to supporters, which would be the case with whoever eventually followed Rafa Benitez, whatever the colour of their skin.
It does seem bizarre that with so many black players in English football, that there aren’t more who are now in management, maybe it is going to take this generation of players to eventually retire and a proportion want to go into management/coaching, before then we might see any significant change.