Why I don’t Fully Support The Rooney Rule


Let me start by stating I am not totally against ‘the Rooney rule‘ where black or ethnic minority coaches should be given a chance to interview for the coach/managers position at every football club that has a vacancy.

But I do have a few misgivings.

I’m not a huge fan of positive discrimination. Where does it end? Should women not get the same opportunities? Also look at the top jobs in England, hardly any have British managers. In the Premier League we have eight foreign bosses out of twenty clubs. In last seasons top four, only one club had a British manager. In the Championship the trend of hiring from abroad has grown too, with seven current managers coming from outside the UK. Four others have been sacked since the start of the season. So should we advocate having a rule where we protect the British managers too?

That could mean that owners have a long-list of candidates instead of a shortlist!

People like to bring up the fact that there were only five black managers in English football at the start of the 2013/14 season and that none of them remained come the end of that campaign. It’s true and its unfortunate to say the least. But in this age of panic and sack the manager, people fail to look at the managers in question and their records.

Chris Hughton, is a talented coach that I like, failed to get Norwich City playing at their best. They had a miserable end to the season and he was sacked in April. In his last six games in charge, the club lost four of them and the fans were calling for him to be sacked.

Paul Ince was sacked at Blackpool after almost a year in charge. He won only twelve out of his forty-two games at the helm. He had disciplinary issues that resulted in a five match stadium ban and the fans were dead against him by the end. Ince is a funny one, he has had various opportunities as a manager with a mixed bag of results. I admire the fact he started at the bottom as a coach but he seems to have found his level in the lower leagues.

Chris Powell, yet another good manager who had done a fantastic job at Charlton during his stint there. Yet in his final season Charlton were bottom of the Championship when he departed and had only won six out of their thirty league fixtures. Powell is now back in the game and doing well with Huddersfield Town in the Championship.

Chris Kiwomya was in charge of Notts County for eight months after being promoted within the club. His attacking, attractive style wasn’t good enough to keep County off bottom spot and he left after only two wins in opening thirteen fixtures of 2013/14 season.

Edgar Davids is a Dutch international legend who surprisingly took over at Barnet in October of 2012. He couldn’t keep them from being relegated out of the football league and he left the club in January 2014 struggling to adapt to life in the Conference.

Those records would have seen most managers getting their marching orders, no matter their skin colour. We’ve been in a ‘dump the manager’ era long enough to see that. As far as I can see that culture doesn’t discriminate. It’s a culture that should change, I’d love to see managers get more time at clubs but in this money orientated era it’s not going to happen.

As far as I’m concerned the right person should get the job no matter what. Does that always happen in football? No but it doesn’t always happen in life either.

People want more transparency when it comes to the managers jobs in football, but do we ‘Joe Public’ get that in everyday life? Nope. I went for an ideal job and met all the criteria, yet for some reason didn’t get an interview. That’s life. Why do we fixate on the high profile?

If we are going to look at changing the criteria for becoming a manager then we should do it in a manner that is equal to all. For example, no one should get a managers job without all the relevant badges. They should work as a coach or assistant for two years. A detailed criteria would then show everyone a transparent way to get to the top.

The days of fast tracking former pros like Gareth Southgate, Alan Shearer and the likes should be gone. People should be getting their badges started during their playing careers and help coaching the reserves if they want jobs straight after playing.

FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb has called for English teams to adopt the ‘Rooney Rule’. I have a few issues to pick up on with Mr Webb. He talks about the discussion being ‘hidden’, I don’t see that. It is a topic that comes up time and again, and so it should. Just because I don’t agree totally with the ‘Rooney Rule’ doesn’t mean I don’t believe we shouldn’t have the debate. Just going on the number of column inches Mr Webb received is enough proof that we take interest in the topic. I also don’t like the fact he brought Eddie Newton into it. Newton has a job at Chelsea and if he isn’t getting offered job interviews after handing in his CV then he and only he should come out and tell his story. Plus maybe Jeffery Webb could come out publicly and challenge Sepp Blatter and demand that corruption findings be published for all to see. FIFA is the biggest hiders in our game, as far as I can see.

Plus why did he not include all of Europe’s league, why just England? That’s bizarre. Maybe it’s because we’ve been discussing the matter.

Now one of my big problems with the ‘Rooney Rule’ is that it’s aimed at helping the already privileged. Former players who have made bundles of cash and now want to be managers. Don’t get me, wrong these people shouldn’t be discriminated against if they are suited to those roles.

But surely as a society we should be actively trying to help everyone as much as possible.

For example, we don’t hear about there being not enough black referees or club doctors. We don’t see enough from the FA’s encouraging more British Asians to take up the sport and try and become pros. Why can’t we have more tickets for kids that have lost loved ones, who are ill or who are almost destitute?

My main point is this.

By all means go for your ‘Rooney Rule’ but there is much more to discrimination than just skin colour and top, high profile jobs. Why do we never start at the bottom and work our way up and help as many people as possible regardless of their ethnicity, gender or class status?

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