Football

'The Presumption Was Black Players Were Good But Not Managerial Material'

'The Presumption Was Black Players Were Good But Not Managerial Material'

Chris Hughton says that for too long, a perception has existed that black players do not convert to being good managers.

The former Ireland international has been one of the few black managers in English football over recent years. He has taken charge of Newcastle, Birmingham, Norwich and Brighton.

"It's something we've been pushing for and arguing about for so long now," the 61-year-old told The Beautiful Game podcast.

"I go back a long way. The presumption, the stigma, was that black players were good but they weren't managerial or captain material. It's very much how they saw black players. That existed for some time. We lost during that period some wonderful potential managers and coaches that didn't see a pathway through to management and chose to go in a different direction.

"Perceptions have to change. Probably over the years, the perceptions haven't changed enough. You, as much as possible, have to try and change those perceptions; whether that's through what they see or whether that's through what we're seeing at the moment: A demand, a pressurising of what the actual stats are.

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"What we have experienced over the years is racism in football. If our stakeholders believe that and understand that, then what has to happen is that they have to redress the balance. There has to be a real enthusiasm for that.

"It's always going to be about applying pressure. Organisations, as we go into the future will be under more pressure and more scrutiny to make sure that the upper levels of those organisations are a true reflection of the workforce.

"What we're seeing at the moment, there is a wonderful reaction from people in powerful positions. What has to change is that talking on what we would like and that enthusiasm [results] in making things change. I can't see that happening overnight. There will be a reaction. I see enough people incensed, enough graphs, stats of under-representation that it will and should affect those that make decisions.

"I've seen that with what the FA has done with BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) coaches being associated with each of the individual national teams. That is a plus. I would think the FA at this moment are seeing how they can improve things even more.

"There are so many good young BAME coaches and managers now in the system at academy level. Certainly, that's one area we have seen an improvement. It's about that step-up from that level to the visible levels which are senior football and first team management."

Hughton has been out of work since the end of last season when he was sacked by Brighton. He has had offers, the "large majority" of them being from Championship sides.

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"That's something I'm pleased with," he said regarding the number of offers he's had.

"I'm in a position where I've got to feel it's right for me. Some of those opportunities were quite early, having left Brighton. My appetite for the game, it's as strong now as it was the day I left Brighton."

Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

See Also: We Need To Discuss John Mitchel's Racism And His Connection With GAA

PJ Browne
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