MARTIN SAMUEL: If football’s willing to listen, the push for BAME coaches can be


Real change does not happen with T-shirts or slogans. Real change is one great idea and people brave enough to implement it.

Over to you, at the Premier League. Over to you, at the Football League. Over to you, UEFA and FIFA.

The Premier League players now pressing for a BAME coach to be installed at every major club in this country should not be distracted because the season is restarting. The club owners, the shareholders as they are known, should not sit tight in the belief this will go away. It is an idea whose time has come. It is what must happen if football is to emerge from this moment altered.

Premier League players are pushing for a BAME coach to be installed at every major club - Chris Powell (pictured) works with Gareth Southgate and England

Premier League players are pushing for a BAME coach to be installed at every major club – Chris Powell (pictured) works with Gareth Southgate and England 

It is not the Rooney Rule. It is much, much better than the Rooney Rule. It is the Rooney Rule with knobs on.

Dan Rooney, owner of the NFL franchise Pittsburgh Steelers, envisaged a time when every black coach had the opportunity to get a job. He drove through legislation stating a BAME candidate had to be interviewed for every major coach or executive opportunity at each franchise. And that was a start; but it didn’t go far enough.

What the Premier League players are proposing is that a BAME coach is appointed to the staff of every club. Now that changes the game. That makes the difference.

This candidate doesn’t have to be the manager. But he is there. Visibly there. Present, involved, employed. He doesn’t have the chance of a job, he has a job. He doesn’t get a foot in the door at interview, he’s through the door and on the payroll. With 32 black coaches currently holding Pro Licenses that puts almost two thirds in employment immediately. And then, they have the chance to shine; the chance to be a candidate for the main job if the vacancy occurs; the chance to be employed elsewhere, with experience.

It is no coincidence, surely, that two BAME managers appointed this campaign - Sol Campbell at Southend (pictured) and Dino Maamria at Oldham - began season in employment elsewhere

It is no coincidence, surely, that two BAME managers appointed this campaign – Sol Campbell at Southend (pictured) and Dino Maamria at Oldham – began season in employment elsewhere

It is no coincidence, surely, that the only two BAME managers appointed this campaign – Sol Campbell at Southend and Dino Maamria at Oldham – began the season in employment elsewhere.

Experience counts in coaching. Due to absence of opportunity, experience is what BAME coaches tend to lack. The problem with the Rooney Rule is that it becomes a box-ticking exercise. A candidate can be ostensibly considered, a protocol observed, the chairman’s first choice gets the job as he was always going to, and business continues as usual.

This is different. This is change. There is a job created, a position to be filled. And if the manager is part of the consultation process, why wouldn’t he buy into the idea?

The Football Association have implemented this at international level and it led to Chris Powell working with Gareth Southgate and England. Why wouldn’t Southgate welcome his input? Why would any sensible manager put up…



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