I wrote this article on the subject of Black Managers in football about 18 months ago. I was filled with righteous fervor when I wrote it and to a large extent, I still feel the same way.
However, something happened on Tuesday October 18, 2016 that has led to a re – examination of my stance. My patience was sorely tested when Dwight Yorke was interviewed on The Alan Brazil Show on Talksports Radio about comments he made the day before on the issue of Black Managers not getting a chance in football.
As you might have noticed from my old column, I think there is something of a problem with the representation of ethnic minorities in football management but nobody has yet advocated for affirmative action / positive discrimination in the appointment of football managers until Yorke piped up with his comments on radio.
It was a car crash of an interview. If that was his interview for a volunteer role in a football club talk less of a managerial role, he flunked it badly. He couldn’t explain himself, couldn’t justify why he should be starting his managerial career at a top club and claimed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink got lucky in his managerial career.
To top it all off, he only applied for the Aston Villa job via a text message. I wonder if he included an emoji in his application. We can be grateful he is not on Twitter as his application could have been restricted to 140 characters. If you want to listen to the interview, please listen here
I was disgusted while the interview was on in real time and I think Talksports have been kind enough to edit out the unpleasant part of the interview as Dwight came across as someone who had a massive entitlement chip on his shoulder.
Yorke’s claims are as follows:
He has played at the top
He has won trophies
He has played with many great players who go on to get opportunities to manage
He has not been given the same opportunities as some of these players he played with
He has talked with other black players and they feel the same way – many feel they have been discriminated against even for Media punditry roles
He wants to start at the top
He won’t drop to lower divisions to get a job
He thinks the time when managers’ start at lower divisions is gone
He thinks managers only get one opportunity now and might or might not make it if they fail with that one opportunity
He thinks people like him have far more experience and exposure to start at the top
He references Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Gareth Southgate getting opportunities while others of different color don’t get the same opportunity
It is very clear that Dwight Yorke obviously doesn’t appreciate the fact that the skills set he possessed as a player has absolutely no bearing on his ability as a manager. He should realize that even if you have the skills set to be a football manager, your personality and other attributes might make you more suitable for the number 2 role.
He doesn’t understand that just because you have now been presented with paper certificates doesn’t mean you walk into a job. Passing written exams and practical tests in flying colors doesn’t automatically translate into on – the - job competency.
His comments about the time frame of a manager’s career wound me up so much. Here he was on National Live Radio saying that ‘I know my tenure is likely to be short so I will rather start at the top and if I fail miserably, at least I know that I have managed at the top’. If I was a club owner, this is exactly the type of manager I will not be employing. A prospective manager who has come prepared to fail. You can’t make stuff like this up.
If I may offer advice to Dwight. He needs to be aware that the nature of club owners are changing. Club owners like Milan Mandaric are increasingly becoming rare in the world of football. Clubs are moving towards the corporation model and some have very bright people holding the reins. Tony Xia of Aston Villa appears to have a doctorate degree and has attended many top schools in the world.
So Yorkie, if you want someone like him to employ you, make the effort, hire professionals and get them to put together a proper polished pack introducing Dwight Yorke the manager and person to the club and what you are bringing to the proverbial table.
A club proprietor is not your mate and you are not asking to join a kick about at the Hackney Mashes, you are contacting a prospective employer who might likely give you a leg up to the 2nd or 3rd phase of your career.
I hope other ethnic minority managers will learn from Dwight Yorke’s recent misadventure. Build your networks, cultivate football club owners and those within their circle of influence. Let us see how much of a football brain you have either on TV / Radio football shows or football columns online or in newspapers. Do not be afraid to take the plunge at lower league club sides like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Do not be constrained by reduced opportunities in the UK, go and make your luck in Europe and other parts of the world.
And if you ever feel you need to voice your frustration on radio like Dwight did, please don’t come across like a TWAT with a sense of entitlement.