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John Barnes: Black managers struggle to find new jobs



John Barnes last managerial job was at Tranmere Rovers in 2009.

Former England and Liverpool winger John Barnes says black managers struggle to find a new job after being sacked by a club.

The 51-year-old, who has managed Celtic and the Jamaica national team, has not had a coaching job since being fired by Tranmere in October 2009. “A white manager loses his job and gets another job, he loses his job, he gets another job,” Barnes said. “Very few black managers can lose their job and get another job.” Barnes told ITV documentary John Barnes: Sports Life Stories: “What I can judge it from is by looking at society.

How many black people are there in the higher echelons of any industry? We can talk about journalism, we can talk about politics. So why should football be any different?” There are currently six managers from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds employed by English football’s 92 league clubs: Chris Ramsey (QPR), Chris Powell (Huddersfield), Chris Hughton (Brighton), Fabio Liverani (Leyton Orient), Keith Curle (Carlisle) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Burton).

In March last year, former Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich boss, Hughton, was the only black manager in England’s top five divisions. The Football League, under the guidance of chairman Greg Clarke, is conducting a review into how it can increase the numbers of BME coaches and managers among its member clubs. Clarke has been criticised by the Professional Footballers’ Association for his failure to keep a promise to hold a vote at the Football League’s 2013 annual general meeting on a proposal to conduct a trial of a version of the NFL’s Rooney Rule.

Last September, PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, voiced his belief that football has a “hidden resistance” preventing black managers getting jobs. The Football Association has also set itself a new target to boost diversity within all levels of the game, while the Premier League recently said it wanted to see “more and better” coaches, “who can progress to the highest levels of the game on merit and regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or background.”

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