Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, March 14, 2014
Chris Hughton is urging football’s powerbrokers to re-double their efforts to get more black managers into the professional game.
Hughton admitted on Thursday Charlton’s decision to dismiss Chris Powell earlier this week brought into sharp focus the lack of ethnic diversity at the elite level.
The City chief is now the only black manager working in the top four divisions of English football and Hughton knows that is a trend which needs to be addressed.
“To be the only black manager in all the divisions is really disappointing,” he said. “It is something that people within the game, from the clubs to the FA and all the footballing bodies, have to work at.
“There is no doubt there is a massive imbalance compared to the number of players from black and ethnic backgrounds who then go into management and coaching.
“I can only probably tell you what I feel and how I see this situation and it is very, very disappointing. I genuinely believe we have seen great strides in terms of involvement in wider football circles with black and ethnic players who are still part of the game. I see far more on the circuit now than I would have a few years ago. From that side it is encouraging to see, not just coaching at a lower level but in all areas of the media and agency work.
“What is very disappointing is the next step in trying to raise those percentages. We all have a responsibility in the game to work at this and to continue to evaluate why that is the case.”
Hughton has dismissed the notion of positive discrimination when it comes to appointing managers from black and ethnic backgrounds.
“No, I think we always feel it should be through education and courses rather than quotas or some type of legal stipulation,” he said.
“What we have found is there are far more black and ethnic coaches involved at lesser levels, maybe working at the grassroots or as part of academy set-ups.
“Those percentages do not apply to first-team management, so we must continue to strive to find out the reasons why and to make sure we implement the right policies.
“I very much hope it is only a matter of time, and I have seen some very significant work at lower levels. It is good to see that. We now have to take it to the next step and into mainstream management.
“I would like to think in time that work will bear fruit but there is no question it is disappointing at this moment in time.”
Hughton accepted Powell’s dismissal underlined the precarious nature of his profession after guiding the Addicks to promotion from League One last season and also a run to this season’s FA Cup quarter-finals.
“In the modern football world it comes as no real surprise but there certainly seems to be less and less patience,” he said. “I think Chris was a popular figure there, which shouldn’t have a bearing, but if he wasn’t the longest-serving manager in that division then he wasn’t far away. I think they had two takeovers in the last three years, he lost a lot of players as well and then it becomes a difficult job. Taking all that into consideration it is very, very harsh.”